There are a few HAVE TO HAVES when it comes to being a real estate wholesaler as far as I’m concerned. Relationships, Systems and Leads. Everything else comes a distant second. They all work together as well to create a successful business.
Having leads is must, but what is also very important is your ability to keep those leads organized.
- What leads do you need to mail to this month?
- Looking up a lead when they call
- Making sure you don’t have duplicate leads
- Which leads you referred to another wholesaler
- Which addresses are invalid
- Which leads do I need to call back?
I can think of a zillion reasons why a well organized system for your leads is important. Just think about all the time you will waste by just trying to deal with the growing stack of leads that are piling up in your office.
Even though this blog post is sounding like an advertisement for my new Lead Management Software I can assure you it is not. What I want to do is help you choose the best lead management method for your business. In the coming months I am going to be diving deep into the common options we all have access too. These options include…
What I will attempt to do is configure and use each of these options over a period of a month. For sure this won’t make me a master at any of them, but what it will do is give me a great idea on what it takes to get going with each option. Here are the things that I’m going to try and learn…
What does it take to get up and running? I expect to have to configure many of these options to work like I need them too. Is the platform so customizable that it’s a pain in the ass to setup? or is it just a matter of selecting a few options? I will figure it out and come up with detailed steps on how to do it.
Is the Learning Curve Steep or Shallow? Nobody likes having to use an application that has a steep learning curve unless we are certain that the app is what we are looking for. I will attempt to answer how hard it is to learn and is it worth it
How much time does it save? The reason we use applications is that they help automate our processes which in turn saves us time. I want to find out which of the options save us time as well. With many applications we spend more time fussing with annoying work arounds that they end up taking up more time then you are saving.
Is it worth the time/money cost? Everyone of these options will either cost you time, money or both. I will try to determine if it’s worth it or could you use something else.
Finally I will give you my pluses and minuses regarding anything else for each of the systems.
What to Keep Track Of?
There is a seemingly unlimited amount of data that you can keep track of when it comes to your leads. My head literally spins with the thought of it all. The hard part to grasp is that it really depends on your particular business and your target market.
A wholesaler of probate property would want to keep track of probate case file information, heirs, probate attorney info. However, this information would be useless for someone dealing with absentee owners.
Here is the core bits of information I like to keep track of across all my lead types…
Property Address. This is the most obvious thing you’ll want to keep track of. It is also the most important to get right or you risk wasting money on your direct mail.
- Street Address (I keep the Number and Street Name together)
- Zip Code (5 digit zip is all you really need)
- County (many of my buyers target counties in NJ so I like to record that info)
The best way to keep everything consistent is to keep an excel spreadsheet or database that has all the City, State, County and Zip code information. That way you can fill in any missing information quickly and easily.
Download: The City Count State Zip Spreadsheet I use.
Property Information. This is everything about the property that will help you come up with your offer. Also for your advertising once you get a property under contract. There is really an endless amount of data points you can keep track of here (have you seen the mls??). I like to keep track of the big ticket items that will have a big affect on the value.
- # of bedrooms
- # of bathrooms (full and half)
- # of rooms
- # of units
- House Type (colonial, condo, split level, etc…)
- Neighborhood Type (War Zone, Rental, Mostly Owner Occupied, etc…)
- House Condition (dump, minor repairs, move in ready, etc…)
- Heating Type
- Cooling Type
- Septic Type
- Garage Type
- Pool Type
- Hot Water Heater Condition
- Electrical Panel Condition
- Basement Type
- Acres/Lot Size
- After Repair Value (ARV)
These are the items that I get asked about the most when I talk to my buyers. If you have a buyer who is concerned about other areas of the property you will do yourself well to keep track of that.
Property Repair Estimates. I’m not a rehabber, but I do sell properties to them. I like to keep track of large to medium repairs to get a general idea of what the rehab costs will be. As a wholesaler you will need this information to come up with your Max Offer. Items I typical include in this are…
- Flooring Costs
- Drywall Replace/Repair Costs
- Structural Problems
- Roof Costs
- Plumbing/Hot Water Heater
- Electrical/Wiring/Electrical panel
- Kitchen Repairs/upgrades
- Bathroom Repairs/Upgrades
- Water damage
- Other Exterior Costs (general landscaping, siding, etc..)
I don’t like to get to caught up in the little details because every one of my buyers has different rehab ideas. Some will completely gut a kitchen, others will just resurface the cabinets. The more you know your buyers the better you can judge what to keep track of.
Property Comps. This is the third leg in what you need before you can determine your offer as a wholesaler. I like to record the basic information about comparable properties. I don’t get to crazy here.
- MLS #
- MLS System (in NJ there are like 9 different MLS systems)
- Street Address
- List Price
- Sold Price
- Days on Market (DOM)
- Sale Date
- # of Bedrooms
- # of Bathrooms
If I want to get more information I’ll visit the listing on the MLS. Or I’ll have printed out the MLS listing and attach it to my lead (i use si lead manager). If you are using excel to keep track of your leads you might have to get creative with this. I am not sure how the other systems handle attachments but that is something I’ll figure out.
Don’t Overdo It!
When you are first getting started out don’t overdo it. I thought I needed to keep track of as many data points as I could think of. All that did was cause me to be completely overwhelmed. In fact, I can remember a couple instances early on where I didn’t call a lead back because I was confused as to what information I “Needed” to get from them. Sounds stupid but it happened.
Start out with the basic information. Then over time you can keep track of additional items if you find out that you need to. A good example of this for me is House Type. In the beginning I never recorded this but some of my buyers were only interested in certain house types. So I added it to my system.
What about Campaigns and Response Rates?
What’s the quickest way for make a mess of your leads? Don’t have a good system for keeping track of your direct mail campaigns. If you only have a couple campaigns going, you could probably keep that in your head or use pen and paper. But when you have 15 different campaigns going which all started on different dates and have different intervals between mailings it gets chaotic quickly!
In Part 2 of this post I will break down how I keep track of my campaigns and my response rates. I do use SI Lead Manager for this, but the logic can be translated into any system…even excel. So stay tuned for that.
Did I forget anything?
Everyone usually has a little different take on what lead information a wholesaler should keep track of. Do you? if so leave a comment and share your experience.