Any Issues With Direct Mail Marketing in Utah, Idaho & Montana?

  • LIM Mod

    I'm thinking about dipping my toe in one or more of these states.

    Does anyone have any first-hand experience with one or more of them?

    What are their pros and cons?

    I've heard some concerning things about solicitation laws in Idaho and Montana...is this actually an issue?

    I've heard similar things about Washington State but I know people who mail there all the time.

    If it is an issue, what's the work-around?

  • LIM

    Jaren Barnes this may not be an issue for you (depending on where you're getting your lists from), but I think Utah may have a similar thing going to Idaho with regard to counties being tight-fisted with the information they'll share (I would guess it's a state law thing).

    Several years ago, I distinctly remember calling no less than 20 counties in a row asking for their delinquent tax list, and not a single one would give it to me.

    When that I refer back to the non-disclosure state map, I can see that both of those states are considered non-disclosure, so maybe there's a correlation there.

  • LIM

    Jaren Barnes I just mailed some counties in Southern Utah. The issue I am running into is many parcels do not come with water right (also referred to as water shares). My understanding is Utah is particularly stringent with where and when they will allow a well to be dug. It is tightly regulated at the state level. Fining motivated sellers has been easy. Finding motivated sellers on parcels that have access to water has been a huge challenge. More information here: https://waterrights.utah.gov/.

    Best of luck.


  • Hi Jaren,

    Here is what I have found online on Idaho and Montana (this is of course not legal advice, please consult your own attorney, blablabla :):

    Idaho law prohibits the use of certain public records for marketing or solicitation activities ("Restricted Idaho Records"). See Idaho Code § 9-348(1)(b):

    ". . . in order to protect the privacy of those who deal with public agencies or an independent public body corporate and politic: No list of persons prepared by the agency or independent public body corporate and politic may be used as a mailing list or a telephone number list except by the agency or independent public body corporate and politic or another agency without first securing the permission of those on the list."

    Montana law prohibits the use of certain public records for marketing or solicitation activities.

    See Montana Code § 2-6-1017:
    "to protect the privacy of those who deal with state and local government . . . (b) a list of persons prepared by a public agency may not be used as a distribution list without first securing the permission of those on the list except by that agency."

    I don't know if these laws would apply to sending out blind offers, but - just to be safe - I always exclude Idaho and Montana from the states I mail to. I would be really helpful to find a list of non-solicitation states, please let us know if you find any additional information about the whole non-solicitation issue.

    Utah is a non-disclosure state, from what I know, so there are no SOLD comps.

    Best of luck!

  • Mod LIM

    Jaren Barnes, obviously the others here responded on the even more critical point of non-solicitation laws.

    The only thing I wanted to add was that I tried doing some very cursory research with some Idaho counties several months ago and just like what Johannes Pieper said about Utah, given it's non-disclosure status I couldn't find the type of comp sales data that I personally like to have for entering a new market.

    Shout out to Seth Williams for that non-disclosure map blog post he linked to in his comment above. I reference that post as one data point pretty much anytime I'm considering a potential new state.

  • LIM Mod

    Robert McConnell GREAT insight here, thanks so much!

  • LIM Mod

    David Ludwig & Johannes Pieper,

    I know non-disclosure states can be more challenging, but I think there may be workarounds.

    For example, both Texas and New Mexico are non-disclosure states but there is a lot of land investor activity there.

    The fact these were non-disclosure states was actually one of the reasons I wanted to explore them 😅 Less competition!

    Johannes Pieper thanks for sharing that solicitation law -that's incredibly insightful.

  • Mod LIM

    Jaren Barnes, is valuation in a non-disclosure state part of what working with local, land specialized agents offers you, or do you have other work arounds you would suggest?

    I know land investors work very successfully in these markets. The ones I've heard from directly, though, are based in those markets, and that local market knowledge seems to help in their cases. I'm sure there are other work arounds, though, that a non-local investor could apply and would love to learn more about them.

    For instance, when most sales don't land on Zillow/Redfin/etc., do you rely on comparison to current active/unsold listings, and apply some assumed discount off of those prices? Perhaps adjusting that discount depending on the "Days on Market" of the current listings - like if a listing has been active and unsold for 400 days, you know there's either something wrong with their property or they're asking way too much (or both)?

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