By Ron LeGrand, Expert Panelist – Last article, I said we were going to spend the next few issues going through an ACTS or sandwich lease-option deal. The first step is locating prospects, and that’s what we’re going to cover here.
Actually this is one of the easiest steps in the multiple steps of getting through a deal and getting your first check. Today, my team does nothing but call FSBOs to get more leads than we can handle, and in fact, we recently have added more manpower because we can’t cover all the leads we get from calling the ads that sellers run online and from some offline sources as well.
Now, when I say my team, that’s actually one Virtual Assistant (VA) calling For Sale By Owner ads she finds online on a handful of websites. She does the research to find the websites like Craigslist and a few other sites where FSBO ads are run in our city. Then she calls them and fills out the property information sheet.
Read Also: How to Get Your First Check, Step by Step
The best way to find these sites is to go to Google and put in something like, “I want to buy a house in (your city).” Up pops a whole bunch of sites where people who have a house for sale can run a classified ad. I’d leave it up to your VA to find out which one of these sites are valid and has relatively new ads on them such as Craigslist. It’s true some of them are worthless because the ads are on there for months, and no one takes them down. Once you have developed a list of the sites for your area, it’s likely your VA will not be able to keep up with the number of FSBO ads that are placed on them, especially if you take the action that I’m about to describe to you here in a minute.
Now, I’ve got to tell you it is your responsibility to do everything you can to make sure your VA has enough leads to call. What you can’t do is sit around and wait for your VA to run the front of your business for you. If you don’t get enough leads, it’s your fault not their fault. If the property information sheets aren’t getting filled out correctly, it’s your fault not their fault. If you can’t find enough leads online, then it’s time for plan two.
Someone in your organization, possibly you, should be riding around looking for FSBO signs in front of houses. This is actually a great source of active leads of people you know have a house for sale. Simply instruct them to take out their cell phone, snap a picture of the house with the sign in the pictures and forward to your VA to call. When you get to the point where you can’t handle more leads, just have your VA slow down. If this is done on a regular basis, your VA will easily have 10, 15, 20 leads a week just from the people you hang around paying attention to the signs in front of houses as they ride around through neighborhoods. And of course, this will become a major source of leads for you and possibly even the only source.
Now, I know that sounds like a simple way to generate leads to build an entire six-figure business but, honestly, that is what we do at our organization. Granted, there are a few other things we do, but none of them are significant compared to the amount of leads we get from calling FSBOs. I do have a big truck with an “I Buy Houses” sign on it. It doesn’t get many calls, but the ones it does get are pretty good.
The problem here is really not getting leads; it’s more of a follow up issue because getting leads is easy and almost free.
In our organization we spend zero time getting leads. All of our time is spent calling the FSBO sheets after the Virtual Assistant has filled them out and dealing with the people who give us the yes answers.
For example, in our case we get somewhere between 15 and 30 leads per week and out of that, almost half of them have a yes answer on the property information sheet. That means that somewhere between 10 and 15 people have said, “Yes, I will lease-option or owner finance my house or sell it for what I owe on it.” Now we have to call these people back and verify the information they have given the Virtual Assistant is correct and then set an appointment where applicable. If you think about it, that’s only a handful of calls per week, but by the time we go out and see the house and sometimes goes back for second trip or have the seller come to us, sometimes a few days have gone by.
So, what it all boils down to is how many leads can you handle per week if you get yes answers before you’re overloaded? I know the answer is going to be only a few.
The only other thing we do is run classified ads on several free websites. Of course, we have our VA run these ads on the same sites we use to buy houses from. They cost nothing, and they do produce calls and emails.
We make it a point to publish a phone number and a URL website address. We drive the phone number to PATLive’s 24 hour answering service. (You can find out more about PATLive’s service at their website, PATLive.com.) They ask a few important questions so we can determine if we have a prospect or a suspect, the most important of which is “Do you have a house for sale?” Then, they forward this information to us and we forward it on to our VA to call and fill out the property information sheet for us. If the seller goes directly to our website, the property information sheet is located there for them to fill out so the VA doesn’t have to call them. That way you have the seller responding in the way by which they want to respond.
So, to recap, we only do three things. One, have VAs call online ads. Two, send FSBO signs to VAs to be called. Three, run classified ads to get sellers to call us. Except for the cost of the VA, all of these items are free.
Now, I know of course you’re wondering, “Where am I going to get a VA?” Well, good news! Global Publishing has started our own Virtual Assistant company, and we are now hiring VAs to make these calls for you. We will find, train, monitor and pay them for you! To get the details, call us at 800-567-6128 or visit RonsVA.com.
Let’s do a little math here. I don’t know what your cost per lead will be, but let’s just say it’s about $20 in VA services. Heck, let’s make it $30 to satisfy Murphy. If you get 10 fully filled out Lead Property Information Sheets a week, that’s $300. We get a third to half with a “yes” to they will owner finance, lease-option or sell for what they owe. Murphy says you only get two yeses, so that’s two people per week you call and make an appointment to see with intent to get a contract. Only one goes through. So, you got one deal.
Nah, I know this Murphy guy. Make it 20 leads to get one deal. That’s a $600 investment if using a VA, and your numbers suck. Now, you put it on the market with some free ads on Craigslist to attract buyers and find one who’ll gladly give you the $5,000 to assign your lease-option contract to them (ACTS). So, the question is, will you pay $600 to get $5,000?
If the answer is, “no, I can’t afford it,” you can call the FSBOs yourself and have no money invested. That’ll get you through your first deal but is not something you will do for long. If you can afford it, let us get you a VA now and seriously consider adding a personal mentor while you’re at it to greatly increase, if not almost guarantee, your chances for success. Just tell us what you want to accomplish and how quickly, and we’ll help you fill in the blanks.
Next time, we’ll deal with the next step of prescreening prospects. This is the one that will take a little time for you to absorb, so I will cover it in detail and try to make it easy enough for you to understand even if you have not been through any of my training.
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