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In my first few years as a real estate investor, there were a few things that chewed up a TON of my time each day:
- Talking to prospects on the phone.
- Researching properties so I could make offers.
- Deciding on an offer price, writing up the contract and sending it to the seller.
Altogether, these wheel-spinning, time-wasting, mind-numbing activities consumed about 80% of my time and mental bandwidth.
The problem with this approach is, my business model requires me to make very low offers.
Given how absurdly low my offers are, the vast majority of prospects are going to say “No” to me – and when this inevitably happens, it means all the time I spent up to this point of rejection was a total waste.
With everything I was doing BEFORE making each offer and being told in no uncertain terms “where to stick it”, it's no wonder I was left feeling mentally and emotionally drained every time I heard a “No” response. I was wasting an incredible amount of time and was left with nothing to show for all of my work.
I was burnt out, and I knew something had to change.
I needed a faster way to get each seller's response WITHOUT wasting endless hours in the process.
The Buying Website
Eventually, I created a buying website for my business (and to this day, it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done for myself).
With this website, I was able to get most of the information I needed on each property without picking up the phone, and I was able to do the bulk of my property research AFTER I had made my initial offer and the seller had responded with a “YES” to my proposal.
Instead of sending out a formal purchase agreement to each property owner, I could simply respond to each website submission with an email like this:
Hi <<Seller Name>>,
Thanks for your submission on our website! Would you consider selling your property for $______ cash? We are willing to pay for all of your closing costs and property taxes as part of the transaction.
If you have any interest, let me know.
This was a huge development for my business because it cut out a TON of wasted time in my acquisition process.
It took me a whopping 30 seconds to send out offers this way (instead of the 30 – 60 minutes I was spending before).
But even so, I still found it a bit onerous to:
- Open up every email submission that came in
- Evaluate whether I wanted to make an offer based on the market value and level of motivation
- Type out a nice email to let the property owner know about my offer
- Read the angry email responses that came back from more than half of the property owners
Now, I realize we're getting into “first world problems” territory, but even so, I knew there had to be a faster way to get these “email offers” sent out to people…
…and as it turned out, there was!
One of the greatest pieces of software I use on my computer every day is a web app called TextExpander.
TextExpander allows me to use “snippets” that generate pre-saved emails, messages, and other commonly used strings of text I type out every day.
Rather than re-typing these entire messages from scratch, I can just type out a short snippet (usually just a few letters), and TextExpander will pop out the entire message for me.
An email that might normally take 5 – 10 minutes to write can be done in a matter of seconds. It's pretty incredible!
But even so… I still had to open up every individual website submission, look at them and send out email offers based on a small fraction of what they told me the property was worth.
Don't get me wrong… the process was significantly faster with TextExpander, but it still required that I pay attention.
I kept wishing there was a way for these offers to go out automatically, even if I was sleeping.
Back in 2019, I heard from my friend Jessey who had started a company called Pebble.
I had never seen a good web developer put so much effort into creating something like this for the land investing community (because admittedly, we're a small bunch). I saw this as a great opportunity to offer some ideas and feedback about how to build these themes right.
Luckily, he was actually interested in my input, so we put our heads together to make some of the most functional WordPress themes the real estate investing world has ever seen. These things aren't just pretty, they're built to do a job that no other WordPress theme can do!
One such example is the Automated Offers plugin (available only for Pebble users).
I explained to Jessey how I had always wanted a website that was smart enough to accept property submissions AND sends out offers automatically so that EVERYONE who submits their property on my website would get an offer from me after a short delay. This would give my visitors the impression that they were being heard and responded to, and none of these submissions would fall between the cracks of my busy life.
Now, instead of me having to look at each individual submission and send them an offer manually, everything happens on autopilot.
Does it Work?
After running this plugin on my site for years, I've been pretty surprised at how well it works.
The offers always go out like clockwork (I have it calibrated to wait for 60 minutes after receiving the submission before it sends each offer).
As expected, most of these auto-generated offers are either ignored, or the recipients will email back an incredulous response.
“Did you mean $46,000 or $4,600??”
“Are you high ? seriously $16.200 you trying to make your self a $165,000 profit ? why dont you just slap me in the face . You know as well as I do , that down here lake front property is money in the bank . Thst land is worth $180.000.”
(Like I said… I make low offers.)
But, the cool thing is, even among these negative responses, some of these people are happy to sell (again, as expected).
Remember, this is a numbers game. Most people aren't the right fit for these low offers, but some are – and that's who I'm looking for!
These are some of the actual responses I've gotten back from people:
“I'm ready right now.”
“I accept your offer.”
“I am willing to take your offer into consideration, although it's two times lower than what I am willing to accept. Is it possible for you to offer $1,250 plus payments of $150 per month?”
The point is – ALL of these responses, whether the answer was “yes”, “no” or “maybe”, didn't require any of my time.
I got real answers from people without spending my precious time or energy because the Automated Offers plugin did it for me.
What Happens When Everyone Gets an Offer?
The great thing about this kind of automation is that everyone gets an offer.
The only bad thing about it is that everyone gets an offer. 🙂
If you send an offer to everyone, you'll inevitably send offers on properties you don't actually want (and keep in mind, at least 90% of the offers you send out will either be ignored or they'll be met with an angry response, especially if your offers are as low as mine).
The good news is, these “offers” generally don't function as legally binding contracts that force you to move forward with the purchase.
- I'm not making any promises to buy their property
- I'm not signing anything
- The property owner isn't signing anything
- I'm not putting down any kind of earnest deposit
This is just an email inquiry to ask what their response would be if they were presented with a low cash offer for their property.
Whatever their response is, you're allowed to say “no thanks” if the property doesn't suit you.
When I encounter this, I usually respond with an email like this:
Hi <<First Name>>,
Unfortunately, after looking closer at the specifics of this property, it doesn't quite fit the profile of what we’re looking for and as such, we won’t be able to proceed with purchasing this property.
I apologize for any inconvenience and wish you all the best in getting your property sold ASAP.
If you’re strapped for time like I usually am, do yourself a favor and start using ANY of the above ideas to stop wasting time in your acquisition process.
Pebble is probably the most expensive way to accomplish this (and I'll admit, it's a huge luxury), but it's not the only way to get the job done.
Life’s too short to waste your precious hours talking with prospects who are just going to tell you to “take a hike” in the end.