Remote Prospecting – Extending your market beyond your home town.

What is the easiest way to source leads in a remote market? How about their local newspaper? Newspapers are the most available, yet underutilized, source for prospecting customers in a location outside your home town.

So how can you use newspapers to generate leads? Look for things like:

1. For Sale by Owner (FSBO) Ads

2. Rental Ads

3. Special Announcements

4. Legal Notices

Let’s discuss each of these in more detail.

1. For Sale By Owner Ads

Many owners think they will save several thousand dollars in commissions by selling their homes themselves. Some have had bad experiences with former agents so they have decided to take a different route. You can show them ways that working with an agent will be in their best interests.  Once you have established a list of FSBOs to contact, you can contact them in person, by telephone, or by direct mail – whichever method works best for you.

A particularly good approach for FSBOs is to develop and offer a “kit” which contains all of the information and forms an owner would need when selling their property. You can suggest a meeting with the owners to review the forms.

As you know, the volume and complexity of the forms can be overwhelming. Often when a homeowner has completed their review, they see that selling the property themselves is not as easy as it might have seemed and thus are more than willing to consider the alternative of listing the property.

If this is not the case, you can offer to make yourself available to answer future questions about any of the forms or disclosures. Typically owners will call with questions, giving you additional opportunities to build rapport with them. If they learn they can rely on you, you may eventually get the listing anyway.

2. Rental Ads

Oftentimes single-family homes are advertised for rent when the owner has tried to sell the home – with or without an agent – and the effort was unsuccessful.

We all know that most people cannot afford to own more than one residence unless the ownership is for investment purposes. So many owners are forced to rent in order to get income to pay the mortgage on the property.

Rental Wanted ads are also a good source of leads. People who are looking to rent can often be shown how easy it would be for them to purchase instead. This is particularly true if the potential renter is a “transferee” from another location who was a former homeowner. Most former owners make unhappy renters.

3. Special Announcements

Special announcements in the features section of the newspaper are good places to find leads. The three major categories are wedding, birth, and promotion announcements. Each signals a life event which may lead to a real estate transaction. Let’s look at a few types of special announcements.

1. Wedding Announcements

More and more frequently, young couples just starting out are choosing to buy rather than rent. Also, if either or both of the partners were living at home before the marriage, there might be an opportunity to discover if the parents are ready to “downsize.”

If the newlywed couple is an older couple who owned separate homes, not only is there an opportunity for a new purchase as a couple, but there may also be an opportunity for the sale of either or both of the “pre-wedding” homes.

2. Birth Announcements

Is this the first child of a couple currently living in an apartment? Is it a second or third child of a current homeowner? If so, maybe the family needs a bigger home.

3. Promotions and Job Transfers

The kind of promotion that would generate a newspaper notice usually indicates a substantial salary increase and maybe the desire for a newer home that reflects the change in status.

A job transfer could signal the need to sell a current property.

4. Legal Notices

Most newspapers have a section containing notices of legal actions. Some communities even have a separate paper dedicated to legal notices only.

So what kinds of legal notices could potentially provide leads?

Foreclosures – A quick sale could help ward off the foreclosure.

Divorces – Many homes in a divorce may have to be sold to divide the assets.

Bankruptcies – Often people involved in a bankruptcy want to relocate and start fresh.

Death Notices – Family members may need to sell a home to settle an estate.

Probates – People who inherit property may wish to “cash out.”

Building Permits – If a person is building a new home, he or she may have one to sell at a future date.

Code Violations – If making repairs will be a costly or overwhelming endeavor, the owner may be anxious or willing to sell.

Tax Delinquencies – This kind of notice could indicate an owner in financial difficulty. Selling might be a good option.

That covers the basics of using your newspaper to generate leads. The top producing realtors I know use the newspaper. You should too. Have you ever developed a lead from the newspaper? Let’s hear about it.

Want to find out if you have what it takes to be a Real Estate Agent or Broker?
About The Author: Tom Davidson is the acting Director of Sales & Operations for Colibri Real Estate, LLC. Since 1996 the companies under this banner have offered online real estate licensing and insurance licensing courses as well as online real estate exam prep and insurance exam prep.