Marketing Monday: Driving For Dollars

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Marketing 13 Comments

Up until this point, my marketing campaign has consisted of strictly Out of State Owners. I’d gather the leads from the tax records and mail those leads.  The call response rate has been very very good and it’s only a matter of time before I get a deal of those.  When it comes to Out of State Owners there is one short fall, you will eventually run out of leads to mail to.  There are only so many towns and you only mail to these types of leads every 6 months or so.  Doing a town per week, I’m sure to run thin after about a year of marketing.  This leads me to trying to find another lead source.

I don’t have a lot of extra cash to buy new lead lists for probate or time to really go to the courthouse. Well I may have the time, but my free time doesn’t coincide with the courthouse’s hours of business.  This all means I must look someplace else to get new leads from.  After talking with my coaches for a bit, they really support driving for dollars.

It’s a simple idea, but for those that are new and don’t quite understand the real estate investing lingo just yet, driving for dollars is basically just driving around a neighborhood and noting houses that have a lot of deferred maintenance , are vacant or are for rent.  You could drive for dollars in any neighborhood, but to get the most bang for you time you should focus on level 2 types.   Level 2 types are areas that have a predominant amount of rental properties compared to owner occupied.  Kasey mentioned you should be writing down an address at least once ever 2 minutes.

This past Saturday morning Lance and I went to hang bandit signs like normal, but decided to spend most of our time driving for dollars.  We got about 30 addresses of houses that met the above criteria.   We didn’t now the area to well, so we spent some time driving through nicer parts that didn’t have to many junky houses.

The next step is to take those addresses and find out who the owner is.  We can do this by cross referencing the addresses with the tax records, which will also give us the mailing address of the owner.  Good simple stuff!

Your probably wondering which letter I use to mail to these people right?  Well, I am just going to use the same letter I sent to the Out of State owners which simple says I’m interested in buying houses in your area and was wondering if your house is for sale.  It’s a little more thought out then that, but that is the idea.

Does anyone have any good strategies that thy use when driving for dollars?

Scott Costello
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Comments 13

  1. Scott,

    Great stuff. Every step you take is another step towards success. Question, why only once every 6 months for out of towners? Also why are you not marketing to absentee owners as well?

    Curious because my market is very very competitive off the MLS and I am looking at my options.


    1. The reason for once every six months is that these are people that for the most part aren’t going to be motivated by a deadline like foreclosure or needing to pay off debt in a probate. Out of state owner’s motivation will change more slowly. With an interval of 6 months, you are “Checking the waters” every now and then to gage motivation.

      Does that make any sense?

  2. I haven’t done much driving for dollars, but one thing that has helped me when I am driving by myself is I like to use a video camera to video the property while I say out loud the property addresses. That makes it so I don’t have to write down the addresses… a voice recorder would also serve the same purpose.

    I fell off the horse when it comes to reading and commenting on blogs, but I like your Marketing Monday series Scott. Thanks for all the useful information.

    1. I’ve thought about using a voice recorder for when I go by myself. Having someone go with you though is nice because you can look at both sides of the street more easily and they can write down the addresses.

      1. Scott,

        I bought a voice recorder. Very smart move, especially when I am looking through a house. I record my initial thoughts so i can remember details when looking at the pictures..

        Its far more useful when driving though. I usually just record the address or thoughts that come up and go back later to look up the info.


  3. Scott – I have always mailed absentee owners every other month. I think a 6 month gap leaves too much time for other folks to jump in.

  4. I make it my aim to drive for at least one hour a day… and try to get at least 20 addresses of vacant and/or distressed properties each day Monday through Friday. Just recently started that program.

    After 1 week… I will have 100 leads. After 1 month I will have 400 leads. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to bust out deals from this new marketing stream.


    1. Post

      Driving for dollars is one of my lead sources as well. As long as you pick the correct area (type 2 neighborhoods) you’ll definitely come up with 100 or so leads in a an hour or two. When you get to type 3 or 4, the ugly houses really start to dwindle down.

      Thanks for sharing Daniel!

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