Category Archives: Evictions

How to Scrub a List of Leads

What is “scrubbing”, other than cleaning tubs and toilets?

When you “scrub” a mailing list, you’re cleaning it up.  You’re getting rid of dead leads that are no longer viable, and updating leads with new information – making sure you have current contact information.

What are you looking for when scrubbing a list?

  • Properties that sold to someone else  – either an investor or a homeowner – should be removed.
  • Properties that don’t match your criteria.  For example, even though I only market to residential single- and multi-family properties, sometimes a condominium or apartment ends up on my list.  If I discover it when I’m scrubbing, I can choose to remove it.
  • Leads who have changed their mailing address.  A real estate investor’s leads move often, and having the correct mailing address is essential with direct mail.

How do you scrub a list?

If you’re doing this on your own, like I just did, then you do it painstakingly.  I went lead by lead, researching the property on the assessor’s page to confirm it hadn’t sold in the last 6 months (many had), and then cross-referenced the owner name and mailing address, updating as needed. It was not my kind of work.  But it did the job – about 40% of my old leads were no longer good.  What a waste it would have been to include them in my new mailings!

An Alternative: The Revolving Door

But, depending on your marketing strategy, you may never need to scrub your lists.

If you stick to purchasing general leads and researching targeted leads, then your leads can work like a revolving door: they go into a campaign (where you hopefully contact them at least 6 times), and then you forget about them.

For targeted leads based on an event (probate, eviction, vacants, divorce, etc.), you can research or buy leads every month and send to whomever is on the list. Be sure you schedule at least 6 follow-ups of some kind, but then you can forget that list and move on to the next list the following month.

For absentee owners, whose status remains the same for a longer amount of time, you can set up a campaign, then when your campaign ends (say, in 6 months),  you buy a new list and start all over.  The new list will leave off any leads who sold, and update the address of the ones who have moved.

Everyone does it differently, and the revolving door is just one idea.  There are a lot of factors to take into account, including how you deal with leads once they come in, what kind of database options you have available to you (less if you have a Mac), whether you want several people or just yourself to be able to access and edit it, and how much information you really think you need to track.

But my mantra for this year is something I read from Tracy Caywood: that the most effective marketing is implementation and consistency. You can’t perfect something you haven’t started yet – so let’s get to work.


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Filed under Absentee Owners, Evictions, Marketing, Planning, Probate

Following the Yellow Brick Road

I mean, really, isn’t that what it’s like?  I have a certain path set out before me, and my dreams are wrapped into following  it carefully and diligently.  Dorothy’s metaphorical road is similar to my own (well, the gold part), along with her whirlwind journey and fair share of unhelpful people.  That, and I also have red hair!  🙂

Last week, my goals were:

  • Perfect my probate lead-gathering system and WRITE IT DOWN (for future outsourcing)
  • Research 50 evictions.  Send postcards to all.
  • Research and send 50 probate letters.
  • And for the month of March, they were:

    • 100 probate letters sent
    • 60 (?) eviction postcards sent
    • 20 vacant house postcards sent
    • 10 MLS offers made

    Although I didn’t completely meet my goals, I did get a lot done:

    • 76 probate letters sent
    • 86 eviction postcards sent
    • Worked on (not finished) probate system
    • Worked on a REAL DEAL

    Speaking of  the deal, it turns out the property is worth less than we thought and the repairs will be more (as in $90k!).  I couldn’t even make an offer that covered the balance on the loan. 

    After talking with my business associate (D), we thought of two options she had: 1) put some money into the nicer of the two houses, and try to sell it as a fixer upper, which MIGHT cover the mortgage balance; 2) attempt a short sale.  In terms of money and hassle, the short sale has the advantage. 

    I spoke with her on Friday, emailed her my thoughts on Saturday, and will call her on Tuesday.  She was kind and appreciative and soaked up the information I gave her (see? isn’t she a dreamy first lead?).  I would be entirely satisfied if all that comes out of this is that her problem is solved with my help. 

    New goals for April:

    • Probates for 2 more months in 2 counties researched and sent
    • Evictions for 2 more months in 1 county researched and sent
    • Business cards (that I ordered yesterday) passed out
    • Probate tutorial finished
    • Follow-up system for probates & evictions created

    Have a great week!

    P.S.  Okay, I’m not so sure The Wizard of Oz metaphor is such a great one, considering that he turns out a fake and Dorothy’s dreams are a sham.  Yes, I’ll be thinking of something else this week!


    Filed under Deals, Evictions, Probate

    Probate letters sent!

    I sent my first round of probate letters out on Wednesday.  I got a call yesterday, but it was vacant land, and the personal rep. wasn’t ready to sell.  But there’s a 2% response rate and counting!

    I managed to send 50 letters, and hope to send 50 more next week.  It’ll be a doozy, since I have to also RESEARCH MYSELF those 50 leads.  Ick.  Outsource, outsource, outsource.  That’s my goal as soon as I get my first deal.

    I’ve also been talking more with another team of investors about partnering up.  (Doesn’t that sound dreamy for a new, green, wholesaler?)  I’ll see where this goes. 

    I also took a trip up to the courthouse to research evictions.  Of course, there was no “list” (they always say that), and directed me to their computer to do research.  It was the same website I get on at home, BUT the lady showed me a unique way to search for probates AND evictions that will save time.

    EXCEPT, I get home yesterday and , lo and behold!  The website is fixed, and now it’s easy to search by case type.  Do you remember that the leg up I had on everyone is that, despite a glitch in the website, I figured out how to effectively get my probates from it?  Well, scratch that.  I have no edge anymore.  Well, perhaps I do in that I’m actually researching it.  I’m not sure how many other investors are actually doing this.  I’d love to know.

    My goals for next week are:

    • Perfect my probate lead-gathering system and WRITE IT DOWN (for future outsourcing)
    • Research 50 evictions.  Send postcards to all.
    • Research and send 50 probate letters.

    I’m really staying optimistic about my marketing.  If it’s all a numbers game, then I’m staring at the numbers right now:  With a 5% response rate, 100 probate letters will yield 5 callbacks.  I’ve heard that it can take up to 20 leads (callbacks) to get 5 real prospects and 1 deal.  If that’s true, and I keep up the pace, then I should have a deal in two months!

    Have a great weekend!


    Filed under Evictions, Planning, Probate