The internet has played a huge role in the success of many of today’s best real estate investors. It enables investors to buy properties that they have never seen in person and sell properties to individuals around the world. However, just because opportunities are “out there” – and we mean way out there in some cases – does not mean that a global real estate investing operation will be right for every real estate investor. In fact, many investors in today’s market prefer to keep things close to home, feeling better about properties that they can see and transactions that they can monitor in person. As a result, the role of the local investor is becoming more and more critical. If you wish to invest locally, you must be able to reach other local investors in order to do deals. Do you need motivated sellers and owner-occupant buyers? Absolutely. But it does not pay to underestimate the value of a network of local investors in your own local market. They will often be a source of deals and creative profits when other wells run dry.
Here are 3 tips on reaching out to investors in your local market:
1. Use the Power of the Periodical
We’re so excited about online marketing these days that we often forget about the local newspaper – and these publications are suffering. As a result, local advertising is cheap! The good news is, local investors still comb the classifieds for deals, so that is a great way to reach them. Run an ongoing ad campaign in the classifieds that lets local investors know that you have properties for sale – or that you are looking to buy, depending on your personal investing goals. When BEREL checked around in local markets outside of Atlanta, we found that in some small papers we could have run an ad for less than $30.00 a month every day of that month, and the major city paper posts listings for as low as $50.00 a month. There are even some types of classified listings that are entirely free. That’s serious outreach for very minimal expense.
Remember, you can advertise your activities instead of specific properties. For example, you might run an ad simply stating that you are selling properties for 65 cents or less on the dollar (conventional wisdom says that in most areas of the country, wholesale investors are buying at roughly 70 cents on the dollar, though that value varies regionally). Provide your phone number so that interested investors can call you and find out what you have in your portfolio currently. Even if you do not have anything in which they are interested right now, you have still added a contact to your “rolodex” for future opportunities.
2. Don’t Forget an Old Classic: Business Cards
We’re always amazed at the people we meet who do not have business cards. You need them! Get them! People still trade business cards in professional settings, particularly if you attend local real estate investor association (REIA) meetings. Even if you think these cards are a waste of money and suspect that most people toss them when they clean out their wallets (and they do), you still need them so that you convey a professional demeanor and because truly serious real estate investors will keep your card in many cases and put your information into their own files so that they can use you as a source of deals. And even if they don’t, the act of passing that card makes you more memorable so that when you come into contact with these local investors again, they are more likely to recognize your name and recall that you seemed like the real deal. Business cards add to credibility and they’re cheap to buy. You can print them yourself for next to nothing or get hundreds for as little as $10.00 online.
3. Call Them!
When you see a bandit sign on a corner advertising a home for sale or rent, the odds are good that sign was put up by a local investor. Take those numbers down – a good way to collect them is to just use your phone to take a picture of the entire sign – and then call or email to make initial contact. Let that investor know that you are also investing or interested in investing in the local area and find out what types of properties he or she is looking for. You might even be able to set up a “bird dog” relationship in which you locate good deals and they pay you a commission on completed transactions, which is a great way for new investors with small cash reserves to get started in the business.
When you realize the great real estate investing potential that is in your own backyard, you may never want to venture out. However, to maximize that potential you must focus on reaching out to other local investors for support, deals and other opportunities.
Do you think it makes more sense to invest locally or globally? How do you get in touch with other investors in your area?
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