Driving for Dollars

I have to admit, I borrowed the phrase, “Driving for Dollars” from Russ Keith and its a good way to describe this crucial part of the process. Basically, you drive neighborhoods with a purpose. You go cruising. You know ahead of time what type of property you want to invest in. You are investing time, gas, and later office supplies and postage to find properties that can potentially make you a profit.

This part is an easy sell for people who like to drive anyhow. You can use some apps out there to target neighborhoods or you might like to wing it. You might want to take it street by street. Your property could be found in a variety of different neighborhoods!

If you are looking for a flip, you note the addresses of properties that are beat up. Maybe the roof dips. It needs paint. It has broken or boarded windows. You can barely see the top of an old Volkswagen Bug over some tall grass in the back yard. Flip properties usually need some help. If you are looking for something you can rent, you look for something that doesn’t need as much attention.

Next comes the question of “when?” I admit I’ve been more than a little lazy over the Summer. My kids are bad influences with their cartoons and video games. During the school year, there is a 2 hour window between dropping them off at school and going to my full-time job, and since I’m already in the truck………Just finding a consistent time that works is the key. The other guideline would be to do this when there is plenty of light. If you’re doing this at 3 AM, you don’t have enough light to get an accurate picture. This is also not a time to be cruising neighborhoods because people living there could misinterpret your motives to be less than……..et………legal.

Keep a pad of paper with you and make stops to note addresses and add notes that might be relevant. When you get to your home or office, use tax auditors’ websites usually referred to as the County Appraisal District, or CAD, for the county you are scoping out to learn more about the property. You can get clues about the home value. You can determine whether the owner lives there or not. You can find out what address to use for future mailings.

Organize your Data, as any self-respecting nerd would do. I like spreadsheets for this. You can arrange your data any way you want and keep in mind that you can also filter the information later. I use 2 columns for each address; The street number is one and the street name is the other. This way, later I can go back and filter it so I only look at addresses on Billy Street. I have a column for whether or not I want to invest in a property. Later, I can filter out the no’s on the list. I have a column showing how many times I have mailed to a property owner. They might not respond to the first mailer, but they might respond to the third. On the other hand, I don’t want to waste time and postage if it’s obvious they are not interested. I have a column showing the date of the last mailing so I can time the mailings.

What to mail……….The envelope should be something that doesn’t look like junk mail. You want them to open it, right? Inside you want some sort of letter or note. I don’t get very creative with this at all. I use index cards with a short, to the point message. I am interested in buying your property at …………. If you want to sell………contact info………… That’s it. Adding more is timely and I don’t see it increasing the odds of ringing my phone. I wouldn’t spend extra time personalizing, by mentioning the wonderful oak tree in the front yard. I have actually pre-written index cards leaving 2 blank lines to write the address in later.

And now another very, very important step…………….Do it again tomorrow!

Written by Billy Blogger.

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