The truth of the matter is that working with absentee owners is one of the easiest markets in real estate.
There are essentially only 5 steps you need to take to be successful with absentee owner marketing:
1. Determine Your Absentee Owner Lead Source.
There are a number of places that you can find absentee owner leads. Ultimately, the success of your campaign comes down to finding accurate leads and the right type of leads. In other words, you don't want data that's 2 years old. It needs to be up to date and current within the last 3-6 months. There are a number of different places that you can get absentee owner leads including directly from your county, list brokers, county websites, etc. Which source you choose depends on the resources you have: time vs. money.
2. Filter the Database of Leads.
A successful absentee owner marketing campaign comes down to filtering your list correctly. If you don't take the time to filter your list, you'll literally be throwing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars down the drain for NO reason. This step shouldn't take more than15-20 minutes if you're familiar with your area, slightly longer if it's a new territory. There are 5 criteria that you MUST pay attention to: (1) Mailing address proximity to property, (2) Property type, (3) Ownership entity, (4) Assessed value, and (5) purchase date. It's CRITICAL that you pay attention to each of these criteria for maximum ROI.
3. Create Your Letters.
Your letter is a critical piece of the absentee owner. In addition to your letters, you need to make sure that you're personalizing as appropriate and hitting on the hot buttons that either brings to light an issue the seller is currently having with the property and/or aggravating something for which they're already feeling the pain. (i.e. taxes due in the next 90 days).
4. Mail Your Letters.
Although this seems obvious, there are 6 things that you need to pay attention t when it comes to mailing your letter. These include (1) how you sign your letter, (2) the type of envelope you use, (3) addressing your letter, (4) the return address, (5) the stamp, and (6) the day of the week you send your letter. You see, any one of these elements will add a bump in your response rates. Together, they can generate response rates upwards of 20%.
5. Screen Your Sellers and Take Next Steps.
Once the letters are out the door, you need to sit back and wait for the phone to start ringing. By setting up a specific process, you will be able to follow up with all of your leads, put in offers on the deals that are good deals, dump the ones that aren't and leverage the ones that are "iffy". In fact, you can systematize about 90% of this so you only talk to the very best candidates.
Anybody that tells you there is more to getting absentee owner leads is over complicating matters. The truth is, this is the very best market to get up and running quickly.
Here's one more tip, find out what the "investor buyers" in your area are buying up and go after those types of deals. It's really simple and you've got a built in buyer on the other end. It's a no brainer and you can start cashing in on the deals in less than 30 days. (You can have sellers calling you in 7 and buyers closing shortly thereafter).