Selling Houses FastPosted on July 7, 2014 by
In our last several issues we covered the entire process of buying houses step-by-step. Going forward, we’re going to cover the process of selling houses, but they include the same five steps, which are:
- Locating Prospects
- Prescreening Prospects
- Constructing and Presenting Offers
- Follow Up
- Close Quickly
Fortunately today, locating prospects to buy houses from you is almost free, and, in fact, many of the things you do will be free. Here in Jacksonville, where we buy 6-12 houses per month and sell them, mostly to lease option tenant buyers, there’s only a couple of things we do. The main thing is running ads online to attract buyers to call us, and obviously there’s no cost to that. The only other thing we really do is put signs out in front of houses we have ready to sell and pointer signs in several places around the house to drive people to it.
The ads we run are, of course, on Craigslist, and the key is to make sure they stay there and are constantly updated. You will need two to three ads per house on Craigslist and rotate them; that’s all done by a Virtual Assistant. There’s nothing magic about the ads, but they will require some key phrases in them to get the people to call you. My favorite key phrase is “No Bank Qualifying” and my next favorite is “Lease Purchase.” Don’t be afraid to run “No Bank Qualifying,” even if you don’t intend to sell it, but only intend to lease option it. Remember, the only purpose of an ad is to get someone to call.
The key is handling that call once it’s generated. There you have several options. One option is to drive them in to you personally. That’s my least favorite option because it will drive you mad in the process. You’ll soon learn that all your buyers ask the same questions. These questions could easily be answered with a voicemail system which you follow up on after they leave you information. The voicemail system could be set up to give them all the information they want on the house, especially using a multi-port system like PATLive offers.
If you want to go this route, go to www.PATLive.com and see what they have to say about a multi-port voicemail system. It’s very inexpensive and easy to set up. The callers simply call in and the message says, “If you’re calling about the house on Southside press 1, and if you’re calling about the house on the Northside press 2,” and so forth, and when they get to that port it describes the house, gives them directions, and in my case, tells them where the key is hidden so they can get into the house. If you use this system, you should capture their phone number, which PATLive does for you automatically, and try to get as much information as you can from them by having them leave a message with their name and number. The downside to voicemail is somebody has to transcribe the messages and take the calls off frequently to follow up with and sometimes you can’t understand what the caller said. The upside is it’s very inexpensive, and it works 24 hours per day. I worked many years by simply using a voicemail system.
Another way to take the calls is a live operator. PATLive has live operators on the floor 24 hours per day to answer the phone and never miss a call or get a busy signal. This will cost about $150 a month for 250 minutes, which is very, very cheap. $0.60 a minute is a small price to pay to have a live operator handle your calls. This means you will give them a short script because PATLive’s job is only to collect the front end information, it’s not to try to sell them the house or fill out the complete buyer’s sheet. The questions we have them ask are only a few.
All you need is their name, their cell phone number, what house they’re calling about, and if you want PATLive to ask, how much money they have to put down and how much they can pay per month. That’s about it, which all can be done within one minute. Then they email that information to you. If you’re making the calls yourself, you can put the ones with money to the top of your list and eliminate the rest. Another question you might want to add in there is “Is your credit good, fair or ugly?” By knowing this, you know your prospects, and you can limit the amount of outbound calls you have to make.
If you’re working with a Virtual Assistant, they will make the outbound call, give the buyer the information about the house they called on and try to collect the information to fill out the buyer’s info sheet so you can put them on your buyer’s list as well. The more automated you get in this process, the easier it will become for you. I’ll say it again, the last thing you want to do is take inbound calls from buyers. They will destroy your attitude about the business, suck up a lot of your time, and you’ll get to the point to where you don’t even want to hear the phone ring any more.
Now, once you get to the point to where you’re doing a few deals, hopefully a few deals a month, you very well may want to have someone on your staff or a virtual assistant, which works pretty much full time for you, answer the calls live during the day and then forward them to PATLive or a voicemail system at night. That’s actually what we do here in our office in Jacksonville, and it’s what most high producers do as well. They feel like they have more control over the situation, but that control comes with a cost that you might not want to bear at this point.
Some of our best calls come from the signs we put up. There’s always a handmade sign in front of the house written with a magic marker that looks like a sixth grader did it. The uglier the sign, the more calls it will get as long as it is readable. You want to make sure the letters are dark and bold so they can be read from a distance, and that you don’t over crowd the signs. As to what goes on the sign, don’t over think it. It’s nothing more than the number of bedrooms and baths, a key phrase like “No Bank Qualifying,” possibly “Easy Terms,” the phone number, and any amenity you want to put in like “Pool.”
What drives the most calls are pointer signs put up around the property usually on the corners pointing to the house. In other words they have arrows. On these signs are nothing but, “No Bank Qualifying”, and an arrow with a phone number in the middle of it. Do not over crowd these signs or they will not get you any response. The sizes are about 12” x 24”, some are 18” x 24”. We have used white signs with black letters and yellow signs with black letters. Personally, I prefer black on yellow. If these signs are not put up, your calls will dwindle dramatically. If they are put up, you should be getting calls before you even get back to your home. In the beginning, you’ll likely be putting these signs up, but quickly, you’ll find someone else to do it for you at a very small price.
You can make them up yourself, or you can draw it out on a piece of paper the way you want it to look and any sign company can make the sign look like it was handmade. I’ll impress upon you again, I hope, the uglier the sign, the more the calls. You don’t need a website to sell your first house, but I will say, a website is a pretty important part of selling houses. A large percentage of our buyers today want to go to the website and take a look at the pictures before they take a trip to the house. However, I’ve sold many houses before websites existed and many houses after they were prominent. So don’t make the mistake of believing that you can’t sell a house until you have a website. That same website will be where you will capture information from your prospects to build your buyer’s list.
If you use signs and online ads, you will get people calling you about the house. If you have a site built, you’ll have a way to show them the house, and you will need a database of some sort to store the information you collect from your buyer’s list. We use Aweber.com, while some just use a spreadsheet like Excel. If you have no interest or no knowledge of how to set any of that up, you can go to many websites to have people do it for you for practically nothing such as fiverr.com, odesk.com, or elance.com. You’ll be amazed at what they can do for such a small amount of money.
That’s all there is to locating prospects and all you need to do in today’s marketplace. Of course, the key is how to handle them after you locate them, so we will take that up in next month’s issue. If you need more information sooner, be sure to check out Ron’s Gold Club where I post weekly lesson videos for members and answer questions every week.