Over the last few years I’ve gotten many calls from sellers. I would say that almost all of them have been pleasant conversations. Sure there have been those where the caller has a skeptical or irritated tone. All you can do is blame your partner for sending mail to them in error and cross them off your list.
My lead generating websites have both my phone number and a contact form. To be honest I prefer that the lead fills out the contact form instead of calls. This helps me filter out who the potential motivated sellers are before actually talking with them…saves time for my partner actually.
Phone Calls and Voice Messages
If you call the number on my website it routes to a Google Voice number. The caller will here a simple voice mail message thanking them for contacting Scotty Buys Houses and to leave their Name, Number and address. At first I didn’t ask them to leave their address which wasn’t a good idea because then I didn’t know where the property was. So of course I had to call them back to find out that the house was in Camden and I want no part of that place.
Do I get Angry Callers?
Oh Yes!! I sure do. And these are the times I’m so glad that I don’t answer the Google Voice number. When I was sending out direct mail this some times caused a problem because they wouldn’t leave a name or address so I couldn’t take them off my mailing list. That just meant I was going to piss them off even more when I send them another letter or risk getting yelled at if I were to call them back. I could pay to find out who owns the number but I’m not going to do that just to get them off my list.
Whelp…the other day I got this lovely little voicemail…
Funny thing is that I don’t send spam emails through my website so I’m not sure what this guy is talking about. I wonder if he called up a bunch of investors with websites and said the same thing.
How They Can Find You
The hope is that these people are just bluffing and won’t waste their time hunting you down. I’ve heard stories from other investors where an angry seller came to there home. I DO NOT WANT THAT! If you are sending out simple yellow letters that have an unlisted number and a return address that is a PO BOX then you are safe. They can’t find you.
However if they found you off a website or your mailer mentions a website it’s very easy to find out who you are. Plus they can probably find out where you live and your phone number. Here is how…
When you register a domain name you are required to supply your name, phone number and billing address. This may shock you but that information is then freely available for the public to see. It’s called Public Registration and it’s the default when registering a domain name.
To find out who owns a domain simply go to…
This is part of the information that you will see…
You can plainly see this guys contact information. Sure your information can probably be found in other places but why make it so easy on an angry lead?
How Can You Hide Your Information?
Luckily it is very easy to hide the information and make the WhoIs information anonymous. The only downside is that it will cost you an extra $9.99 per year to sign up for Private Registration. The result is that when someone does a WhoIs search against your domain they will see the following…
This is the information from my WeBuyNJHouses.com website. As you can see, none of my personal information is shown. All you see is some general information about the registrar. I feel much more relaxed about the situation now.
How to set this up
Adding this to an existing domain is easy and took only 5 minutes and $9 to setup with Godaddy. You’ll find it under Privacy in your domain manager. Here is a quick video tutorial on how to do it…
Final Thoughts and Comments
Doing this for all your domains is a great way to make it harder for people to find your personal information. Having any kind of online presence (blog, we buy houses website, facebook, twitter, etc..) leaves you open to people finding out about you. Much of that openness is great for your business because people can find you…but people can find you.
The best you can do is be careful. When it comes to setting things up for your real estate investing business try using a business address or a PO box address if you can. It adds a layer between your family and your customers that can shield you from crazy people.
What was your craziest caller? Leave a comment and tell me about it.
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