AgentInvesting

An old-school tactic to take your real estate game to the next level

Direct mail is an excellent way to garner interest in the area
  • Direct mail lets people in the neighborhood that you are selling a home and gives them an inside look at its benefits. It puts the idea of buying a home in the mind of local renters who maybe hadn't considered getting a place to call their own.
  • Direct mail is an excellent way to open up dialogue with local buyers in the neighborhood, as well as introduce yourself to people who are only just starting to consider purchasing a home.
  • A lot can be gleaned local prospects by looking into economic stats in your neighborhood. Can the people living nearby afford to buy a home at the market rate, and are there enough target market renters to make your investment worthwhile?

You had everything set up perfectly. Light music played throughout the house and trays of hors d’oeuvres were set strategically next to chilled bottles of white wine to compliment the occasion.

The ad listings you put up online were thoughtful and succinct. But at the end of the day, no one showed up. No leads on the sale, and now you’ve just got a lot of nice cheese in your fridge. You ask yourself: What happened here?

Chances are if you’ve sold homes before, this has happened to you at least once.

Even if the housing market you’re trying to sell in is pretty hot, getting the word out about a property can be tough. Listing websites can get cluttered with dozens of listings in a neighborhood — many of which are paid promotions — and unless your house stands out, it can easily get lost in the fuss.

In other places, the demand for homes will be lower, so fishing for a qualified buyer can require a lot of legwork. In short, a lot of things can happen that will make selling a property locally harder than it should be.

Using a traditional method

One old-school but very effective way to spread the word about a property you’re looking to sell quickly is through direct mail; it’s a tried-and-true way to let potential clients know who you are and what you have to offer.

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You can do it inexpensively, and it does wonders for getting eyeballs on the properties you are looking to move.

Direct mail lets people in the neighborhood know that you are selling a home and gives them an inside look at its benefits. It also puts the idea of buying a home in the mind of local renters who maybe hadn’t considered getting a place to call their own.

It can also help introduce you as a trustworthy agent and show off your personality, which makes your potential buyers feel comfortable with you before they arrive at your open house.

Where do you start?

A lot of your strategy for printing effective direct mail comes down to who you are and what your objectives are. Here are some likely scenarios and tips on how best to field them:

Getting into the investment game or sold by owner

You want to get started investing in real estate and want to get started fast, or you are selling your home but don’t want to lose a percentage of the profit by hiring a real estate agent

In this case, your best bet is to highlight the features of the home first and use the best quality photos to do so. When writing descriptive copy, be clear and concise about what you are offering (and what terms you are firm on).

If you’re open to alternative financing plans, mention this prominently, as it will draw in buyers who might not currently be able to secure a loan. A single-page broadsheet can do wonders in this situation.

Introducing yourself to buyers and sellers in the neighborhood as an agent

Chances are you’ve been working on your digital persona to attract leads, but you’re looking to push it to the next level and find some buyers. You’ve established a persona, and you’re looking to get your name stuck in the minds of buyers as well as potential sellers.

Direct mail is a good way to open up dialogue with local buyers in the neighborhood, as well as introduce yourself to people who are only just starting to consider purchasing a home.

Fliers are also an excellent way to show off your best properties or give a smiling face to the often-frightening real estate biz — one that will hopefully stick with hesitant prospects when they decide the time is right to buy or sell.

Putting this forethought into your design is great, but it does you no good if you are playing Battleship: sending direct mailers all over town in the hopes of landing a single lead.

Pulling it off

The last thing you want is for your print investment to go directly into the recycling bin. Creating an eye-grabbing design is great, but when it doesn’t get someone’s attention, it’s just wasted opportunity (and, more importantly, wasted money).

You’ve chosen the best photos and laid them out in just the right way, but sending them out is a trick in itself.

Be careful to target your market based on research. A lot can be gleaned about the ability and willingness of potential clients to buy a home by looking into local stats in your neighborhood.

Can the people living nearby afford to purchase a home at market rate, and are there enough renters who want to buy now to make your investment worthwhile?

Spending a little time looking at local numbers with a trusty mortgage calculator beside you can give you a good idea of what your best approach is.

The last question, of course, is how to get your mailers made. You can hire a professional printer who will help you lay out your design (and might even assist you in distribution), but this can cost a good chunk of change if you’re only selling a single home.

If you have access to the right tools, you can also make your own flyer — designed on your computer and then professionally printed from home.

Printing from home involves more trips to the post office for sure, but most of the necessary supplies can be delivered straight to your home quickly and easily from Amazon or many online print and ink retailers such as LD Products.

Choosing the right paper is crucial when you are using professional quality photographs as part of your design, and getting an understanding of how to lay out your design can be a make-or-break decision for your success.

Finally, if you’re printing from home, make sure that your ink supply is up to snuff — if not, your flyers will gradually lose color and sharpness, which will take away from their overall effect.

Nicholas Brown is a Los Angeles-based writer for JustRentToOwn.com. You can follow his Twitter at @justrenttoown or check in at his blog.

Email Nicholas Brown.