Hitting the Bulls Eye: Becoming a Hunter

Posted on December 30, 2013 by

Owners of vacant houses can be hard to find, so I am about to give you some insider tips so you can hunt these elusive owners

Once upon a time, I found a boarded up house and wanted to find the owner. Given my experience, I knew that trying to find the owner through tax records might get me an address, but mailing anything to that address would be a waste of my hard earned 42 cents. I needed to find another way to hunt this owner. So I started thinking like a bill collector. I did research on the bill collector site to learn how they locate people and get their money from people who “skipped.”

Here is what I have found: most investors are lazy. If they send the postcard to the address on file and get the card back, they have run out of creative ideas and move on. I have learned, though, that diligence pays off. One more step, the one that the lazy investor doesn’t take, will be the one most likely to get you results.

Great News! Once you find the owners, they are very easy to negotiate with because you are solving a huge problem for them. They won’t go out and find other investors at a higher price. They will wonder how YOU found them.

What is Your Time Worth?

Remember that well-managed time = money.

When you start to hunt owners, you must consider time management.

In my case, my hourly wage is over $100. So if I invest 15 minutes hunting delinquent owners, I would be better off hiring a private investigator or Virtual Assistant.

Virtual Assistants are experts who hunt my leads.

Let’s break it down like this: The average cost for a lead is $30. Understand that when you get a great network or tap into a mentor’s network, your price per lead will drop! This means that your profitability will go up.

I want you to work smarter. I want you to do less and get paid more!!!!! I tell my trainees that they should hunt for no more than 20 minutes. If this does not yield information, then farm it out.

Following is a flow chart for you to follow toward your success. This is not the complete list, but when you join me in training and coaching, you will learn the fine details of successfully hunting owners.

Finding Sellers

12 Steps to Increase Your Odds: Finding Owners

Step #1

  • Find the information on Tax Records or any other available program, including state courts, deeds, and records.
  • Find owner’s name or entity’s name.
  • If there is phone #, contact them. If there is no number, go to next step.
  • If they are having the tax bill sent/ forwarded to another address, research that address.
  • Look at marriage records to see if they have a spouse.
  • Look for liens and law suits in the court records.
  • Look for IRS liens.
  • Look for criminal records. (Sex offenders typically don’t own property. So this will probably be a dead end.)
  • If you find an entity, continue to bullet 12.
  • Look to see what other property they may own.
  • Look in other counties.
  • Note: The most expensive house is the one where they live. 

Step #2

  • Search www.google.com for the name.
  • If it is an uncommon name, then this step will be easy.
  • If it is a common name, run the spouse’s name also.
  • If there is a phone #, contact them. If not, go to next step.
  • Enter the address or zip code to refine the search.

Step #3

Step #4

  • Call 411. If no luck, go to next step.
  • When you call 411, ask for 2 other owners’ numbers. 

(411 allows you to ask for up to 3 numbers for one fee, so this helps you to use your resources wisely.)

Step #5 – Go to www.accurint.com  / www.lexisnexis.com

Step #6 – Send out a postcard with an address requested on the piece pay the extra postage to have this happen.

Step #7 – Drive around the neighborhood to talk to neighbors to see if we could get information on the vacant home

Step #8 – Place a “For sale” sign in the front yard which has your phone number on it.

Step #9 – Put a fake ad on Craig’s list, back page, yahoo, postlets, which has a description of the property.

Step #10 – Go to Social media. Face book, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest.

Step #11 – Go to the Secretary of state website.

Step #12 – Hire a private investigator.

Intrigued? Want to Learn More?

If you’re in Atlanta, join me and other successful investors at the Atlanta REIA Creative Deal Structuring Subgroup on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM at the JAYA Center located at 3845 N. Druid Hills Rd, #101 in Decatur, GA. Let me coach you to learn the market and find your niche!

I am looking forward to meeting you and helping you on your way to success in the New Year!

Russ HinerRuss Hiner is an active real estate investor, coach and mentor. Russ is currently the leader of the Atlanta REIA Creative Deal Structuring Group and co-leader of the Atlanta REIA Mastermind Group. Russ also teaches several Atlanta REIA Workshops throughout the year on a variety of real estate investing topics such as Negotiations, Wholesaling 101, Wholesaling 401, Real Estate 101, Property Management and more.

Contact Russ Hiner

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