Though the names and addresses in the letters have been changed the events and stories are real. I share these anecdotes here because perhaps it will help you achieve your goals in Real Estate Investing.
Treat it like a business because it is.
There are 25 Direct Mail Marketing Letters (one Bonus letter) and 12 Building Rapport/ Follow-up Letters.
A few short stories:
In my travels I came across a fire damaged two family property. My research, which anybody can do, led me to the property owner’s residence in New Haven. Over the course of approximately 14 months I mailed him EIGHT times regarding his fire damaged house. Different letters of course. I even put my business card and a handwritten note in his front door.
One Sunday morning around 9AM my phone rings. Now I happen to be staying in a hotel for the weekend and I am sleeping in. It’s a Sunday morning after all. Voicemail. Okay. A nice gentleman named Raymond says, “You keep mailing me about the house in Ansonia, I’d like to talk to you.” I’m thinking, holy crap, that’s the guy!
Now for some reason my cell phone reception in the hotel room is terrible (thanks Sprint) so I run outside to my car to call him back. I couldn’t just roll over in bed and call him later in the day. No way. This was like getting the Golden Wonka ticket. I had to immediately return his phone call! So there I was, sitting in my car, half frozen, on a cold December morning chatting with Raymond about his property. I met him and his very nice family a few days later.
The point is I mailed a letter to him 8 times before he responded. Be persistent and be professional.
This was actually our very first deal. A short sale. Gloria had some life changes and just couldn’t afford the house payments any longer. Carol, my business partner, and I sat with her at her kitchen table and just talked for a while. She cried. It was emotional. She said, “I got all your letters, they’re right here.” She also pointed out the pile of other letters she received over the past couple of months.
The reason we were all sitting together in her house at that very moment was because of our phone conversation. She said that when she spoke to other RE investors all they did was ask about the house. How much were the payments? How late are you? What condition is the house? And so on. On the other hand when we spoke, she said, you asked about me as a person. My family. How are you doing and would we be okay? It made a difference.
True. I always made it a point very early on in any conversation with a homeowner to ask: If we buy your house, do you have a plan, somewhere to go? Do you need any help with that?
The takeaway here is that if you put people first, over properties, you will have greater success in your Real Estate Investing business. That should be your mindset.
People first. Properties second.
J.Lo as we referred to her was in a similar situation. The interest rate went up on her mortgage and her payments skyrocketed. Along with her extended family, they just could not afford the house any longer and wanted to sell fast. We met with her a few times to discuss her situation. To make a long story short, I wrote her a long letter outlining some options she could consider (it’s all in the letter you get) and I even included a scratch off lottery ticket for her. It’s the thought that counts.
Though we made exactly zero dollars on this potential deal, that’s okay because we still felt good about sincerely trying to help her. The lesson here, once again, is put people first before property and profits.
No worries. The next deal is on the way because I keep the Marketing Machine going.
3165 was the house number for a very nice Portuguese family. The challenge was that the homeowners spoke very little English. Our meetings at the house consisted of the father and myself at the dining room table sharing a speaker phone conversation with his son, Fabio, who spoke perfect English. Fabio, told me that his Dad would read the letters I sent to him over the phone and then explain. Fabio lived in Florida.
I mention this story because it shows sometimes as a Real Estate Investor you have to go above and beyond and do a little extra. Fabio asked if I could go to the courthouse with his father to explain things to the judge. That the homeowners needed more time (foreclosure) to try and sell the house. I said okay I can do that.
Wouldn’t you know that we got the crabby Judge the day of his hearing. Yep, lucky me. Long story short is that the foreclosure proceedings were too far along to work out a deal. The house ended up going back to the bank. But I tried.
We ended up getting a referral from the 3165 interactions with another Portuguese woman in the same town and that one was a successful deal.
I think If you have someone’s best interests in mind you can’t go wrong because good karma happens.
I share these stories to illustrate some points of going above and beyond as a Real Estate Investor. Still, you won’t ever get that chance to do the same if your phone is not ringing with potential new leads. A consistent marketing plan and lots of hard work, will ensure that you have the best chance for success in your real estate endeavors.
These next two stories don’t necessarily reflect upon using the marketing letters but I thought that it is still important to share them. They are good examples of something that we all do every now and then — procrastinate. As an investor it is important to take action. You can’t let procrastination get in your way; you can’t reach your goals if you let that dreaded ‘P’ word influence your thinking.
Carol and I attended many Real Estate Investor seminars and before too long we started to recognize some faces. We also went to regular monthly RE Investor meetings and of course you see friendly faces and do some networking as well. Cheryl was a familiar face. We would chat with her for a while whenever we saw her. Nice lady. At each seminar we would bump into her as well. Another dedicated investor.
Flash forward about a year and a half. Yep, there she was with a notebook in her lap at a local training event. She asked us if we had done any deals and we replied, “Yes, a few.” She then told us that she was still waiting to find the right deal and, in fact, she had not even made any offers to buy a property. Wow. All this time and no offers?
Granted we all are a bit hesitant when just starting out but sooner or later you have to jump in the water. Right? She was stuck in the ‘seminar mindset’ where her investing ‘business’ had literally (up to that point) become attending the Real Estate seminars and all the monthly Investor meetings. Let me ask a question. How much money can you make when you don’t make any offers? Correct — zero.
Do your research and due diligence on properties yes, but don’t over analyze. The old saying “too much analysis equals paralysis” is so very true.
When I was just starting out as an Investor I came across a property in Shelton. Good neighborhood. The numbers worked and I was pretty sure the deal would work. We were mostly wholesaling in the beginning. Get a property under contract, then basically sell the contract and collect a fee for setting up the deal. I remember the house but to be honest I can’t recall the woman’s name. We spoke on the phone. Her family owned two houses and, well, they were getting older and really just wanted to sell one, pocket the proceeds, and live happily ever after.
So because I was a new investor I ended up telling her something like “I think we can make an offer but let me discuss it with my partner Carol tonight and I will call you back tomorrow.”
Brilliant move Jimbo. Not really ya dope. I was new in the game, nervous and a bit unsure of myself so I balked. I could have made our offer right then and there over the phone but I wanted to analyze the numbers some more. So I waited.
Sure enough the next day I call her precisely at 1pm as I said I would. Some small talk to begin with and then she informs me that they accepted another offer that morning. Wait, what? My offer was actually going to be even higher than the one she accepted! I told her our offer anyway. She didn’t really care about that; her family just wanted to be done with the property so she took a fair offer to start that process.
That I could understand. I also understood that I blew it. I waited too long and I lost the deal. I kicked myself for a long time after that. But I vowed that would never happen again.
It was a lesson, I suppose, that I had to learn. Procrastination leads nowhere. Take action and have a little faith in yourself.
As a Real Estate Investor you need to get in the habit of taking action. One of my mentors often used the phrase “massive action equals massive results.” There are far too many folks who have ordered courses and materials and are still waiting to do their first deal.
I absolutely know that these direct mail Marketing Letters can be a tremendous resource for your RE Investing business. I wish when Carol and I were just starting that I could have had access to almost 40 pre-written letters. It would have been a huge time saver and made our marketing efforts that much easier.