ListAbility's Direct Marketing Blog

How to Build an Absentee Homeowner List for Real Estate Investors.

Posted by Carol Arnold on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 02:29 PM

Mail campaigns have been found to be a highly effective way for real estate investors to contact property owners who might be interested in selling.

One category of property owners that have been found receptive to investors’ offers is the Absentee Real Estate Owner. These are people owning a residential property that they don’t live in – they have a different primary address where their tax bill is sent. 

Crafting a targeted mailing list of absentee owners can help you make the most of your marketing dollars. There is no need to spend postage on people who don’t fit your profile.

There are quite a few options to consider in finding just the right absentee owners; the ones most likely to be ready and able to get out of their ownership.  Be sure to keep in mind your local knowledge and ability to evaluate the properties for investment.

Criteria that can be used in customizing a targeted mailing list for your campaign to find sellers:

Where do you want the property to be located? In all but the more densely populated areas, you will probably want to consider looking at one or more counties so you can further narrow down your search.

Where do you want the owner to live? If you are working with a large enough area, you may have enough properties to specify that you want the owner to live outside the county or even out of state.

Do you want to limit the Home Market Value? Most real estate investors, particularly those starting out, have limits on the amount that they can offer for a property. Depending on your market area and your marketing strategy, you might want to specify properties under $150,000 - or perhaps between $50,000 and $250,000. Other investors want only higher-end properties.

What type of home do you want to buy? You might want to mail to owners of just single family homes and/or multifamily homes. In some areas condominiums are desirable. Some investors also want to include apartment buildings with 5+ units.

Do you want owners who have had their property for a long time? …or are you in an area where there is enough turn-over that you don’t mind marketing to people who are newer owners? You can think of the purchase date range you want to target, such as 1/1/1960 – 12/31/2008 for people who have owned at least 5 years.

Are you planning to promote to people based on how much equity they have in the property? Do you want the owners to have high equity or low equity? Loan To Value (LTV) is a great tool to approximate equity. LTV is a calculation based on the total loans (the original amount on the day the loan was written) and the current home market value. For example, if a person refinanced with a loan of $100,000 and the current home value is $400,000, the LTV is 25%. This equates to a minimum of 75% equity. Don’t forget that they have also been paying down that loan, although this isn’t factored into the equation.

Demographic criteria such as the owner’s age can also be useful if you want to further narrow your list. Some investors feel that older owners may be more interested in selling their property.

ListAbility’s Master Absentee Owner Mailing List collects information from local reporting jurisdictions across the country.

Most often these are the Registry of Deeds and Assessors Offices of city and county governments. The list has more than 11.5 million absentee owners of real estate. Many of these have multiple properties.

As good as the data collection is, not all information is available from every reporting jurisdiction in the standardized format required for automation. New counties start providing information every month, but they may not fill in with historical information. Some areas might not include information on the loan.

What can you do if the property counts are too small?

The first is to try cutting out some of the criteria. LTV can be very limiting if the local jurisdiction doesn’t provide loan data. You can make up for that by using purchase date which is available more often.

The second way is to increase the geographic area that you want to target. Adding more cities and towns can help build the quantity available for you to market to.

ListAbility provides list brokerage services to support marketing programs - including the Absentee Homeowner File for Real Estate Brokers and Investors.

Our clients include real estate investors as well as other types of businesses. Our brokers have the expertise and quality data to guide you through the process of obtaining a highly targeted mailing list. A better list will pay dividends with the savings you garner in printing and postage – to say nothing of getting noticed by the right people!

Call now to learn more about the Master Absentee Homeowner Mailing List. 866-446-2055

Tags: direct marketing list strategies, Absentee Homeowner List, consumer mailing lists, marketing for real estate investors