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I generated over $50M in real estate deals through email. This is how I did it.

An Incredibly-Simple Guide to Engaging Homeowners Through Email

*First, a couple of disclaimers:

1) Most people immediately turn away from this strategy because it isn’t familiar or they have limiting beliefs about email. We don’t care - it works. If you don’t want to succeed, you need to get out of your comfort zone.

2) You can pay for software and databases to do this for you - that’s why we built them. But, there’s value in understanding how it works, so that’s why I’m publishing this.

3) You can pay a VA $7/hr to do most of this work for you, but do you really want to? We can achieve in 5 minutes what it takes a VA 20 hours a week to do.

4) I used this approach to source listings, off-market deals, and even air rights for new developments. The strategy works for other use cases, but we’re using real estate deals as our example. It works in any State for about 40-60% of the properties in the US.

5) This is a very tedious, manual, exhausting approach.  It will probably feel beneath you and not worth your time. That’s why we automated the entire process. I’m glad I did, because once you build it, it works and it takes next to no time to scale.

Let’s go.

Step 1 - Identify Your Market

For this example we’re going to look at a purchase for a friend in Dix Hills. Specifically, he wanted a single family home between $900K and $1.3M. There were just under 3K. Here’s the target market.

I would suggest limiting your target market to a single zip code or contiguous zip codes where the homes are similar in price and the data is provided by the same municipality. If you cast too wide a net, the data can get unmanageable since it might be formatted differently from city to city or zip code to zip code. 

Step 2 - Property Data:

There are a few places you can get this. Most of it comes directly from the department of tax and finance or County Assessor Property Records. A lot of it comes from the MLS. If you want to personalize messages with data that comes from the MLS (usually bed / bath / sf), you need to get the data there.

As most MLS data is only available to licensed real estate agents or through data tools, you’ll need to get it there. The problem with looking for this data on platforms like Zillow, Redfin, Realtor, etc. is that they don’t let you access off-market properties that haven’t been sold or download the data in a usable format. But, if the data you’re looking for is on those platforms (FSBO, FRBO, Pre-Foreclosure, etc.), you may be in luck. 

Start scraping (check site licensing rules first) or find a data vendor. 

We’ve compiled nearly every data set that you would want to access and other vendors like Propstream, ATTOM, or Core Logic have it too. Some are a few hundred dollars a month and others start at a few thousand dollars. Most title companies will provide the data if you have an existing relationship and ask nicely. 

Step 3 - Identify the Homeowner and Get Their Contact Info:

Having the property data is fine, but unless you want to rely on “To the current resident” or an ice-cold call, you need the homeowner’s name. You probably also want to contact them through phone or email, so you’ll need more than just an address.

If you’re ok taking time to do this or have a VA then head over to the WhitePages (or tools like RPR). A subscription is around $109/Mo. for 500 lookups. If it takes a minute to look up each homeowner, budget 8 hours or another $80/Mo. to get your data. 

WhitePages and other services will likely have information for around 40%-60% of the addresses you look up and you still need to validate that the information is correct. 

DISCLAIMER: You may think you’re saving money with a VA or doing it yourself, but in reality, if you’re looking up more than 50 contacts/Mo. you’ll end up spending WAY more time and money this way in the long-term than paying upfront for a service like Scout. What we built takes around 45 seconds (per 500 contacts) to a minute to find addresses, owners, lookup their emails and phones, clean and validate their email addresses, and reformat the data so you can use it to mail merge.

Step 4 - Start Your Outreach:

Send them an email! This is the first thing I do.

Every. Single. Time.

It’s not that I hate cold calling (I do), but I find that a “warm call” is a lot easier. And starting off with “I sent an email earlier this week” is a great way to start off on the right foot. Plus, Apple recognizes my phone number in their email and suggests my name when I follow up on the phone.

The email should be short, sweet, to the point, and NOT about you. It’s always about them and the value you’re trying to bring (not the value to you…). I have a great template that I start off with:

Hi {{ first_name }}, I’m sure you weren’t expecting this email but…

Keep it to under 4 sentences.

A 2-touch campaign works wonders and a 3-touch is even better. You’ll need some email automation software for this. So we built that too. 

IMPORTANT: Validate your emails and batch them out!

Yes, those statistics are real. And with Yahoo! and Google now actively dinging accounts with Spam rates over 3%, email validation tools may become your new best friend. Emailable, ZeroBounce, or NeverBounce work wonders.

As a general rule, keep it under 60/day for email addresses that you’ve never connected with before.

Step 5 - Keep Calling:

Now all you have to do is sit back and wait for the emails to start rolling in, right? Wrong. They won’t. You need to call them. Or DM. Or do anything to make sure you don’t dead end. 

While you may get a few hits (I've actually gone end-to-end through email alone), 99% of deals require additional outreach.

If you have their number, don’t stop calling until you connect. 

If you don’t have their number, keep emailing them or send a handwritten card (or automate that too).

I’ve done this hundreds of times. And if you’re serious about your outreach, you should be lining up face-to-face meetings weekly. Even more if you’re ok with a Facetime walkthrough. 

In a sellers market, I’m lining up 3+/conversations week. And if I can do it, you can too. 


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