5 Easy Ways to Generate Endless Real Estate Leads

Real Estate Data

If you want to succeed as a real estate investor, you need to know how to find motivated sellers.

That’s not just my opinion, that’s a fact.

When I first started pursuing my real estate investing career, I wasted a TON of time trying to find these people the wrong way (at one point, I was almost convinced it was impossible). There finally came a point when I was just about ready to throw in the towel – and that’s when I discovered the power of direct mail marketing.

But it wasn’t just ANY direct mail marketing that did the trick. There were some very specific steps that simply had to be followed – and if I didn’t put the time and effort into doing it right, I’d end up throwing a lot of money right out the window.

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Moving through the process wasn’t always fast, convenient or cheap – but when I took my time and carefully went through the right motions, the floodgates opened WIDE and I was inundated with more opportunities than I could handle.

Data: The Crucial Component

Direct mail was a pivotal discovery in my journey. Knowing how to obtain the right information and use it correctly had EVERYTHING to do with my ability to find unbelievable deals (truth be told – I can’t think of any notable success I had prior to this discovery… it was that big of a deal)!

The funny thing is, for most of the world’s marketers – direct mail is actually an incredibly ineffective marketing medium (it’s the only industry where a 1% response rate is considered “acceptable”).

As real estate professionals, we need to have a higher standard (because let’s be honest, most of us can’t afford to dump millions into a strategy that isn’t consistently working).

Luckily – the answer is simple… the real power behind a successful direct mail campaign is in the data.

Einstein2-2When you’re working with the right information (i.e. – data that is current, accurate and reliable) and when you understand how to filter it correctly (so the right people are ON your list, and the wrong people are OFF of it), you should expect to have a response rate somewhere in the range of 5% – 20% (and if you’re lucky, maybe even higher).

To some, this may seem impossible pull off, but with a basic understanding of where to go for the information and how to filter it properly for the specific types of properties you’re looking for – it’s not nearly as complicated as it seems.

Data Sources

When I think about the world of real estate data – one word comes to mind:

CHAOS

If you’ve ever sifted through a list of property owner information directly from the county – you probably know what I’m talking about. In some cases, this information is presented in a crazy, unpredictable and potentially dangerous format, and one misstep can be costly.

The good news is, there are several data companies out there who have managed to bring some semblance of order to this jungle. They’ve combed through most of the 3,143 counties in the United States (and the wildly different organizational systems they all use), and made it substantially easier to find the information we’re looking for.

Bringing order to this quantity of information is a huge undertaking. We’re talking about THOUSANDS of extremely complicated assessor files that are changing every single day. Getting this kind of information under control is not a simple task, and if you’re a direct mail marketer and/or real estate professional who uses this information for the purpose of direct mail, this kind of organization could definitely be worth paying for.

In this blog post, we’ll take an inside look at a few of the major players in real estate data, and we’ll examine what each one brings to the table, what their services cost, some of the pros and cons with each one, and what you can expect to see if you decide to work with them.

We’re also going to talk about some important aspects of real estate data that can have a big effect on the success of your direct mail marketing efforts.

Shall we get started?

DataTree

Of all the data services I’ve explored to date, DataTree has the most well-designed and easy-to-use interface. Depending on which features you use and how much data you need to pull, it may also be the least expensive option on the market.

If you use DataTree for your direct mail campaigns, this video shows how that process works…

You can also see more of what this program can do in terms of property research in this blog post and this blog post.

Note: We do have an affiliate relationship with DataTree. If you sign up for the service through our affiliate link, you’ll get a discount off the regular price of the service, and REtipster.com will get a very small commission if/when you choose to sign up.

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive with an entry-level subscription.
  • Very easy to pull lists and do property research.
  • The advanced search function offers several filtering options, with the ability to mix-and-match certain filtering criteria in a way that I haven’t seen from any other data service – which allows lists to be VERY targeted and specific.
  • Most (but not all) counties come fully stocked with GIS mapping data, making it very easy to find property parcel lines and boundaries (this is especially useful for vacant land investors).
  • One subscription offers access to the entire United States (not just a single county).
  • Users can see the individual records before downloading the list.
  • In my experience with DataTree, their customer service was excellent.

Cons:

  • Some counties are less current than others. However, it’s always easy to verify when the data was last updated by simply pulling up any individual Property Detail Report in the county where you’re working.
  • For some reason, the property coordinates aren’t listed in the Property Detail Reports (for the most part, this is a “con” that only affects vacant land investors, because property coordinates are very important when a vacant land parcel doesn’t have a physical mailing address)

Pricing

The standard pricing for DataTree will vary depending on what you’re planning to use it for, and which plan you select.

At the time of this writing, these are the current pricing options (available at a substantial discount, only through the REtipster affiliate link):

If your business works like mine, the line items you’ll want to pay attention to are the following:

  • Property Characteristics Report – this is what you’ll use for each lead you pull when downloading a list.
  • Property Detail Report – this is what you’ll use when researching a property individually.
  • TotalView Report – this is like a SUPER detailed version of the Property Detail Report. It will show you literally everything they have on file for the property you’re researching.

DataTree uses a “credit system” of sorts, where you agree (on a 12-month contract) to pay a set amount each month for the ability to you use the service. When you pull a Property Detail Report or a Property Characteristics Report (or anything else listed above), each instance will deduct the quoted amount from the monthly credits have you available.

Once you exceed the number of credits you have at your disposal each month, it will continue to charge you above and beyond your monthly commitment, for each time you use it, at the same quoted amount. So, if you know you’ll be pulling a TON of data, it obviously makes sense to sign up for the Gold subscription, because the cost of each additional pull will be exponentially less than if you signed up for the Bronze subscription.

AgentPro247

What I like about AgentPro247 is that it’s fairly easy to use, easy to sign up AND it offers one of the better property research tools I know about. It’s not JUST about the lists you can pull (though that’s certainly an important aspect of it), it’s also about how easy they make the due diligence process, especially for “niche” property types like vacant land.

Here’s an overview of how to generate a list with this service:

You can also see more of what this program can do in terms of property research in this blog post and this blog post.

Something I appreciate about AgentPro247 is that their system will show you exactly how current their database is in every county around the country (RealQuest and DataTree were the only other services I found that offers this kind of transparency). With their Geographic Coverage tool, you can verify when the data was last updated in any given county. Here’s how it works…

What I found in my research was that ALL data resellers have this issue on some level (it’s one of the unfortunate tradeoffs/risks when you’re not getting your data directly from the county). The difference with AgentPro247 is that they’ll actually tell you about it – which I certainly appreciate.

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive with an entry-level subscription.
  • Very easy to pull lists and do property research.
  • The farm list function offers several filtering options, allowing lists to be very targeted and specific.
  • Most (but not all) counties come fully stocked with GIS mapping data, making it very easy to find property parcel lines and boundaries (this is especially useful for vacant land investors).
  • One subscription offers access to the entire United States (not just a single county).
  • Users can see the individual records before downloading the list.
  • Delinquent tax data is available in some counties.

Cons:

  • Some counties are less current than others. However, their Geographic Coverage tool shows when data was last pulled in each county.
  • Depending on the subscription plan, there are limits on data usage (though this won’t affect most of the lower volume users).
  • Customer Services exists, but they aren’t the most responsive.

Pricing

The standard pricing for AgentPro247 will vary depending on what you’re planning to use it for.

AgentPro247 actually increased their prices pretty significantly in mid-2017, which is a bummer… but even with the higher prices, it’s still a pretty decent service and the cost is still less than most of the other options mentioned in this blog post.

DISCOUNT: If you want to use the exact plan I do, follow these instructions and enter Partner ID: CFGRSH at checkout (I recommend either the Profile Package for $27/mo or the Gold Package for $72/mo).

If you intend to use it for pulling direct mail lists, a Gold Package subscription will give you access to all the essential data that most real estate professionals are looking for (Property Types, Demographic Data, Mortgage, Foreclosure). Depending on how many records you need to pull on a monthly basis, the price could range anywhere from $45 – $108 per month. Here’s a specific breakdown of what the pricing looks like at the time of this writing:

  • 500 records for $45/mo
  • 1,000 records for $72/mo
  • 2,000 records for $108/mo

If you need access to this data solely for the purpose of researching properties, the Profile Package is a great option. Starting at $27 per month (and “pay as you go” dollars if you need more), you can find out all kinds of information about a property – including:

  • current and historical ownership
  • purchase price
  • financing loan amount
  • date of purchase
  • neighborhood comparables and foreclosure activity
  • parcel lines
  • parcel numbers
  • exact coordinates (helpful for vacant lots that don’t have a registered address)
  • # Bedrooms / # Bathrooms
  • …the list goes on

Important Note: The Gold Package is intended for users who want to regularly pull lists from AgentPro247, but keep in mind, you don’t NEED to sign up for this plan just to download lists. If you sign up for the Profile Package, you can still purchase data dollars when you want to create a direct mail list a la carte (and these leads are $.05 each). If you don’t need to download lists every month, you can save quite a bit of money this way. The Profile Package will give you a set amount of profile reports each month (for property research) and you’ll still be able to send direct mail dollars for your lists whenever you want to pull them.

ReboGateway

ReboGateway takes a slightly different approach to how they offer data.

Rather than giving you one giant pot of information (i.e. – the entire United States) with a limited number of leads to pull each month, they’ll give you access to unlimited data from one county (with additional counties available at a slightly higher cost). If you’re a real estate professional consistently working in one or two counties, this could be exactly the kind of solution you’re looking for.

Here’s how their system works:

ReboGateway also has a product called Investor’s Title Toolbox, which does all the same things ReboGateway does, but gives subscribers nationwide access, as well as the ability to search all types of properties including commercial and be able to filter by loan to value.

ReboGateway and Investor’s Title Toolbox are a bit different in that they specialize in finding unique situations that create highly motivated sellers. Most data companies will simply provide a filter, where you have to decide what types of leads you want on your list. ReboGateway does this too, but they also offer some pre-selected criteria that aren’t available in most data filters from other companies.

With these pre-defined criteria, you’ll be able to find certain types of property profiles, such as:

  • Divorce Filings
  • Tax Default Properties
  • FLBO Properties (For Lease By Owner)
  • FSBO Properties (For Sale By Owner)
  • Empty Nesters (Houses owned for 25+ years, with at least 3 beds / 2 baths)
  • Properties with Recent Evictions (i.e. – fatigued landlords)
  • Probate AND Death Certificate Properties (i.e. – properties that are in the process of being inherited)
  • Non-Owner Occupied

These situations all have one thing in common – there is a higher likelihood that the property owners are in a position where they want out of their property NOW.

To get an even more potent list of motivated sellers, you can also double-up on these items. For example – you can pull a list of properties where the owners have filed for divorce, the property is non-owner occupied AND it’s back due on property taxes. With this kind of combination – you’re virtually guaranteed to get a list of property owners who desperately need your help.

Pros

  • The data is very rich, with a lot of useful filtering criteria and supplemental tools for direct mail campaigns.
  • Lists are very well-organized and can be exported in a number of different file formats.
  • Users will get unlimited data from the county/counties of their choice.
  • Information is best suited for pulling lists, but can also be used for researching individual properties (similar to AgentPro247).
  • Tax-Delinquent Data is Available in some areas (though not all).
  • Users can see the individual leads before downloading the list.
  • Excellent Customer Service. As a paying subscriber, you’ll get unlimited one-on-one tutorials and webinars so you’ll never be lost or confused about how their system works (their sales reps will even pull your first list for you).

Cons

  • Data is only available on a per-county basis (you can’t get access to everything in the United States with one subscription).
  • If you’re searching with the “tax default” option checked, you can’t search the entire county at once – only by city and/or zip code.
  • There is currently no filter option for “vacant land only” and there are only a few basic options available for property types.
  • Their system doesn’t include GIS data or show any property parcel lines (this is less of an issue for conventional investors who buy houses and buildings, and more of a setback for land investors).
  • Not all of the filtering criteria are available in every market – you’ll want to verify which options can actually be used in your geographic area of interest.

I think ReboGateway is a great option for some, but not all investors. For the investor or real estate agent who has a business focused in one market or county, it will probably be a very helpful tool in a lot of ways. On the other hand, if you’re an investor who is constantly pulling lists and researching properties all over the country, there may be better alternatives out there.

Pricing

Contact: Todd Holmes
Number: 866-887-0206 Ext 147
Promotion: $399.95 for Annual Subscription with 2 counties, Set Up Fee Waived, VIP List Development, Grandfathered Pricing (Retail Price $795)
PROMO CODE: JH2SW2

ReboGateway also offers the following subscription plans (without the free additional county, waived set up fee, VIP List Development, or grandfathered pricing).

  • Monthly: $44.95/mo, plus $14.95 for each additional county.
  • 6 Month Plan: $224.95 (save $45), plus $89.70 for each additional county.
  • 12 Month Plan: $399.95 (save $140), plus $179.40 for each additional county.

Keep in mind, if you want the promo code discount mentioned above, you’ll have to sign up for the annual subscription.

Investor’s Title Toolbox is only offered on an annual basis with 3 different options:

  • $995 to export 30,000 records
  • $1,495 to export 60,000 records
  • $1,995 to export 120,000 records

RealQuest Pro

RealQuest Professional is a service that can be used for researching properties and generating lists (a similar concept to AgentPro247, but at a much higher price, with information pulled from a completely different database).

Similar to ListSource, RealQuest is a platform by CoreLogic (which means the data for both services is pulled from the same pool of information).

The user interface offers a lot of flexibility and options to meet the needs of most real estate professionals.

Here’s an overview of how to generate lists with RealQuest.

And here’s an overview of their property research tool.

Something I appreciate about RealQuest is its wide degree of functionality within their system. I also appreciated that (similar to AgentPro247), their service allows users to see the “Latest Recording Date” – so there will never be any question as to the currency and accuracy of the data you’re working with (and when it comes to direct mail – this is a big deal).

The only thing that turned me off from RealQuest was the price (which was very high in comparison to the other services on the market). I also wasn’t a fan of how their subscriptions are only available with a 12-month commitment. These high barriers to entry made the service a tough sell for someone like myself.

Pros

  • Access to data anywhere in the United States (with the higher level subscription packages).
  • Users can reference “Latest Recording Date” to verify how current the database is in each county.
  • A very flexible system in determining the recipients that go into the desired list.
  • Versatile functionality and GIS parcel mapping data are available for doing property research and locating properties.
  • Most of the CoreLogic database is kept very current and up to date.
  • Users can see the individual leads before downloading the list.

Cons

  • No Delinquent Tax data available.
  • The service is only accessible through a fairly expensive, 12-month subscription (with additional charges for using their list generating service).
  • Higher barriers to entry (signing up can only be done through a live call with a sales rep, and subscriptions are only available with a 12-month commitment).
  • One of the most expensive subscriptions on the market.

Pricing

At the time of this writing, there are a few different pricing options available:

Option 1 – Starter Package $150/mo (12 month subscription)

  • 150 Property Detail Reports, Comparable Searches, Street Map Plus Reports (Aerial Map Included), Foreclosure Detail Reports and Map Searches
  • Custom Search – $0.10/record
  • Property Characteristics – $0.10/record
  • Expanded Property Characteristics – $0.05/record
  • Mortgage Info – $0.12/property
  • Transaction Info – $0.12/property
  • Specialty Fields – $0.12/property

Note: The Starter Package is for one state only.

Option 2 – Growth Package $225/mo (12-month subscription)

  • 250 Property Detail Reports, Comparable Searches, Street Map Plus Reports (Aerial Map Included), Foreclosure Detail Reports and Map Searches
  • Custom Search – 1,500 records/mo
  • Property Characteristics – $0.12/record
  • Expanded Property Characteristics – $0.12/record
  • Mortgage Info – $0.23/property
  • Transaction Info – $0.23/property
  • Specialty Fields – $0.23/property

Note: The Growth Package covers the entire United States.

Option 3 – Portfolio Package $275/mo (12-month subscription)

  • 500 Property Detail Reports, Comparable Searches, Street Map Plus Reports (Aerial Map Included), Foreclosure Detail Reports and Map Searches
  • Custom Search – 3,000 records/mo
  • Property Characteristics – $0.12/record
  • Expanded Property Characteristics – $0.12/record
  • Mortgage Info – $0.23/property
  • Transaction Info – $0.23/property
  • Specialty Fields – $0.23/property

Note: The Portfolio Package covers the entire United States.

From what I saw, this service has some very good information and their system works very well (I couldn’t detect any glitches or problems in its functionality) and I was very impressed at how the filtering criteria allows users to narrow down the types of properties on each list to some very specific segments.

The only downside I saw was that the service costs 10x more than every other option on the market. RealQuest is not cheap.

But here’s the thing… I’m not a heavy data user. I’ve never been one to send out 10,000 mailers per month, and my business doesn’t rely solely on direct mail to find motivated sellers – so even though I could easily fit this into my budget, it would be overkill for my situation (like trying to kill a fly with a canon).

On the flip side, if you are a high volume data user and if you need to get extremely specific about the types of recipients who belong on your lists, this could be precisely the service you need to bring your business to the next level.

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ListSource

ListSource is another service by CoreLogic, and it’s one of the more well-known platforms for generating direct mail lists.

This service is extremely popular because of its convenience. It is very easy to generate a one-off list (similar to Melissa Data) with no subscription required.

That being said, ListSource does not have any function available for property research (like RealQuest, AgentPro247, Melissa Data and ReboGateway do), so you’ll only find it useful if you’re in need of a direct mail list.

That being said, if a quick list is what you’re after (e.g. – if it’s your first time pulling a list and you’re not ready to commit to a subscription) – it’s a nice option to have at your disposal.

This video below (taken from a blog post I published last year) will give you an idea for how their system works.

The only downside of ListSource is almost entirely in the price. A common theme I found with CoreLogic brands is that they aren’t cheap. However, the service seems to make up for it in convenience and ease of use. The fact that you can use it without any long-term commitment makes it an ideal option for the beginner (and for the long-term user, there are discounts available if you’re willing to utilize their bulk pre-pay and/or subscription options).

Pros

  • Access to data anywhere in the United States.
  • Extremely convenient, with no subscription required – very easy to generate lists in a matter of minutes.
  • Very flexible filtering criteria in determining the recipients that go into the desired list.
  • Decent customer service is available.

Cons

  • No Delinquent Tax data available.
  • No convenient way to know when the data was last updated for each county.
  • No way to research individual properties.
  • One of the more expensive list generating options on the market.

Pricing

There are three different ways to purchase lists from ListSource:

Option 1* – ListSource Prepaid Bulk Account (12-month subscription)

Prepaid AmountStandard Rate# of Leads
$600$0.154,137 Leads
$1,000$0.147,407 Leads
$1,725$0.1313,800 Leads

*Rates based on standard property lead filters and output selections.

Option 2* – ListSource Monthly Billed Subscription (12-month subscription)

Monthly FeeStandard Rate# of Monthly Leads
$150$0.131,153 Leads
$300$0.122,500 Leads
$500$0.114,545 Leads

*Rates based on standard property lead filters and output selections.

Option 3 – Build List (no subscription required)

Without a subscription or prepaid draw account, the average cost for a one-time list will be in the range of .30 – .45 cents per record. In my experience, the lists I’ve generated were around .18 cents per record – so the price doesn’t necessarily have to be quite this high. The cost will vary depending on which filtering criteria you’re using.

Note: ListSource requires a $50 minimum purchase through their website and PayPal is the method of payment (however, this not apply to pre-paid purchases).

How Current is the Data?

There are three big players that compile real estate data in the United States today:

When you purchase your farm lists or property reports from a data service like DataTree, AgentPro247 or RealQuest Pro, these services pulling the information from the database they’re associated with and then delivering it to you in a usable format.

As you can imagine, there are MANY different uses for this kind of information and as real estate professionals, the most common uses are conducting property research and doing direct mail campaigns.

Just speaking for myself – I’ve used this information to make some major investment decisions, and I’ve done some sizable direct mail campaigns with the lists I’ve generated from them. It goes without saying, with the amount of money we’re putting on the line, it is very important that we’re able to rely on the currency and accuracy of this data. If the data isn’t reliable, the results can be disastrous.

Data companies understand this and make every effort (and generally do a good job) of keeping their databases as accurate and up-to-date as possible. The problem is… some counties (typically, the rural ones with a smaller tax base) aren’t great at making this information readily available, and some counties just don’t make it available, PERIOD.

As such, you’ll find that most of the data from these services are reasonably current (i.e. – within the past 30 days) but occasionally, you’ll encounter some counties that aren’t.

The Currency Test

Since the currency and accuracy of the data is simply a prerequisite to any successful direct mail campaign or research effort, I decided to do a side-by-side comparison of all three databases, to see if any one of them came out better (or worse) than the others.

I took a random sampling of 50 counties around the country – 25 densely populated “Urban” counties and 25 sparsely populated “Rural” counties.

I conducted the test on February 18, 2019 – and got the following results (note: to draw your attention to which counties were older than 30 days, I’ve shaded those dates in red, and the counties that were older than one year or not available at all were shaded in bold red).

Urban Counties

As you’ll see from this sampling – most of the densely populated areas were kept very current in all three databases (even the “older” ones weren’t much more than 30 days behind).

As I mentioned earlier, my assumption is that these counties are kept current because the governing bodies have a MUCH greater source of tax revenue, thereby allowing them the budget to keep their records current and published for these data compilers.

Rural Counties

As you’ll see from this sampling – most of the sparsely populated counties were much less predictable. Roughly half of them were over 30 days old in all three databases, but many of them were still dated within the past year (with the exception of a few – which either had no data available or hadn’t been updated in a long time).

Since these counties have a MUCH smaller population than the previous list, I can only imagine that these governing bodies are working off a smaller budget and thereby have fewer resources with which to keep their records up to date.

Who Has The Best Information?

Remember, there are well over 3,000 counties in the United States, and 50 random counties is a VERY small sampling with which we can draw any sweeping conclusions. However, I think it does give us a reasonable idea of how all three databases are doing.

Based on the information I saw, it didn’t appear that any single database was notably better or worse than the others. CoreLogic seems to be stronger in some counties, just like Black Knight seems to be stronger in others, and First American offers the best in its own set of counties.

All in all, they all seem to be in the same general place in terms of how current and reliable they are as a whole. None of them are perfect, and as much as I wish I could point you to one obvious choice, I can’t say that one of them was the far-and-away the best over the others.

Using the Right List Criteria

If you want the best possible response rate from your direct mail marketing efforts, it’s critical that you’re sending your message to the right people – and the only way to do this is to use the right filtering criteria to generate your list.

In order to do this with any success, you need to know EXACTLY who your target audience is – and take special care to specify what types of properties and owners you need to include (and exclude) from your list.

Every service works a little bit differently, so it’s impossible for me to tell you exactly which filtering criteria you need to use – but you’ll find that most of them have many of the same general filtering options available.

Depending on who your target audience is, here are a few examples of how your list could be filtered…

Cash Buyers List

If my goal is to generate a list of real estate investors who are actively purchasing properties without financing in my target market (i.e. – “cash buyers” who have shown that they’re actively looking for opportunities in the area, and they’ve got the cash available to buy now). My filtering options would look something like this:

  • County Name, City Name or Zip Code(s) (specify the geographic location of your target market)
  • Equity %: 100-100 (investors who own 100% of the equity in their property and have no outstanding mortgages of record)
  • Last Market Sale Date: Last 6 Months (properties that were purchased/sold within the past 6 months)
  • Owner Occupied States: Absentee Owned (property owners who do not live in the subject property)

Vacant Land List

If my goal is to generate a list of property owners who currently own vacant land and are motivated to sell, there are SEVERAL potential ways I could filter my data, but these bullet points give a general framework by which to start the process (this is with the assumption that these filtering options were all available in my market and with my data service of choice):

  • County Name, City Name or Zip Code(s) (specify the geographic location of your target market)
  • Improvement Value: 0-0 (properties with no improvements/structures built on them)
  • Land / Market Value: 10000-100000 (vacant land with a market value between $10,000 and $100,000)
  • Acreage: 1-100 (properties sized anywhere from 1 acre to 100 acres)
  • Land Use / Zoning: Agricultural, Residential, Mobile Home, Unimproved Vacant Land, Single Family Residential, Recreational, etc. (properties with a wide array of potential uses, including farming, housing, mobile homes, recreation, etc)
  • Occupancy: Absentee Owners, Out-of-County or Out-of-State Owners
  • Tax Distressed/Default/Delinquent: YES (if possible, only include the properties that are currently delinquent on their property taxes) Note: This will substantially decrease the size of your list, but will also greatly increase its potency.

Remember – your filtering criteria may vary depending on the type, size, location (and more) of the vacant lots you’re trying to target.

Single Family Homes List

If my goal is to get a list of absentee owners who own single family homes and are highly motivated to sell, this is the criteria I would use to generate my list (assuming these filtering options were all available in my market and with my data service of choice):

  • County Name, City Name or Zip Code(s) (specify the geographic location of your target market)
  • Equity %: 80-100 (property owners who own most of the equity in their property and have a low/no mortgage balance outstanding)
  • Market Value: 20,000-100000 (I’m only targeting houses with a market value between $20,000 and $100,000)
  • Use: Single Family Residential, Residential (General), Residential Improved, etc. (properties that are clearly being used for residential housing)
  • Tax Distressed/Default/Delinquent: YES (include only the properties that are currently delinquent on their property taxes) Note: This will substantially decrease the size of your list, but will also greatly increase its potency.

Depending on which service you’re using and which county you’re pulling your list from, there will be times when not all of these filtering criteria are available.

For example – the “Tax Default” option isn’t available from all of the services listed above – and of the ones that do make it available, even they can’t provide this information everywhere, because this data changes daily and many counties aren’t sophisticated enough to publish this information on a daily basis.

That’s okay – but it also means your list may be a bit more “watered down” in terms of finding the specific types of property owners you want to talk to. If you’re still determined to get the tax delinquent data from these counties (as I usually am), your only alternative option is to get a delinquent tax list directly from the county.

A Final Note About Delinquent Tax Data

Probably the most effective filtering technique I’ve ever found is to narrow down the property owners who are currently delinquent on their property taxes.

When someone owes back due property taxes, it’s usually a BIG red flag. For one reason or another, the owner and their property are a TOTAL mismatch, which inherently makes them highly motivated to sell.

Some (but not all) of the services above will offer “Tax Default” or “Tax Delinquent” as one of their many a filtering options in some (but not all) counties.

The challenge with this kind of data is that it’s very time sensitive. It changes daily, which makes it even more challenging to track. If you find a county that is current and has good information, it can work extremely well, but once the data is more than a few weeks old, there can be some substantial changes to that list – which will cause it to start losing its potency very quickly.

As you can see from the county comparison above, some of these counties are kept very current, but some of them aren’t. If the delinquent tax filter is important to you (as it is to me), you’ll want to make sure you’re only working in a county that is kept current.

The unfortunate truth is – in many counties, there’s only one way to do this right. When delinquent tax data is important to me, I skip all of these services and get my lists directly from the county.

Getting this data from the county can be a HUGE pain in the neck for a lot of reasons. Even though the data works very well, most counties won’t make it easy. IF you can get their list, it will usually be in a format that is far less organized than the services above provide – but if you can find a few counties that will provide their list in an acceptable format at a reasonable price (0.01 – 0.25 cents per parcel is what I’m accustomed to paying), you’ll also find that it works incredibly well, and can only be rivaled by a few data services in a few select counties around the country.

If you’re interested in taking the plunge and getting your list from the county, this blog post explains exactly how to do it.

Also notedelinquent taxes are definitely NOT the only cause of seller motivation. I’ve bought a lot of properties from owners who were not tax delinquent… so keep in mind, while it’s certainly an effective filtering criteria when it’s available, you can still find PLENTY of opportunities from owners who have their property taxes paid current.

Which Service is Right for You?

When I was compiling this information and recording these videos from each data service, what I took away from this exercise was that none of them are perfect, and none of them have everything I would want to see.

Some of them are GREAT at certain things (like pulling lists) and TERRIBLE at others (like doing property research). Others are extremely effective at filtering lists to narrow down certain property types and property owners, while being completely incapable of filtering out others.

Some data companies offer a lot of filtering flexibility and powerful data solutions but charge a very high price for access to their database. Others provide a very affordable and easily accessible platform but aren’t necessarily the best fit for every real estate professional (and of course, you’ll never hear any data company talk about the things they aren’t best suited for).

In the end – nobody seems to have it figured out from all angles, but if you know exactly what kinds of properties you’re looking for, and if you know that the specific data you need is available in your area AND it’s accurate and up-to-date, you should be able to nail down which of these services can best meet your needs.

I can’t tell you which one is best for you – but if you have a thorough understanding of what you need and how much you’re willing to pay for it, you should be able to find the best option. The most important thing is for YOU to understand what you need, what types of properties you’re pursuing, and what kind of information you’re going to need to do the job effectively.

Every data company brings some kind of value to the table, but in order to get the right kind of value that fits your needs, there needs to be very little ambiguity about what you’re looking for.

The Best Real Estate Investing Strategy I’ve Found

I'll be completely honest with you. The most powerful strategy I've used to build my real estate investing career is probably NOT what you might guess.

Land investing (that's right, buying and selling vacant land) is a massive opportunity that most investors aren't paying attention to. For the few land investors who know how to pursue this business with the right acquisition strategy, it's an extremely lucrative and low-risk way to build serious wealth from real estate.

If you want to get the inside scoop on how to start and run your own land investing business, come and check out the REtipster Club – where I've put together a full 12-module course with dozens of videos, bonuses, downloads, group coaching sessions and a members-only forum (where we spend time answering questions every week). There is no better place to learn this business from the inside out!

About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor and residential income property owner, with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Doug Ressler says:

    What are your sources for Commercial Real Estate?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      I don’t typically search for commercial real estate – but if I did, I’m sure any of these services could be used to get the job done. The only question is what specific kind of commercial real estate you’re looking for. The more specific you can get about what you’re looking for, the better direction you can have about which service is the best fit for you.

      1. Doug Ressler says:

        Primarily multifamily units. MF in states (Texas) that hide data. Plus leasing data for large commercial office buildings.

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Just on the surface, it sounds like ReboGateway might be worth taking a closer look at. Try giving them a call and see if they have the kind of data that would help you in the specific county you’re working in.

  2. Evelyn Liardo says:

    Hi Seth,
    Thank you for this article and all of the valuable information about these databases! This has helped me to understand what each company has to offer (or not). I am currently subscribed to Rebogateway (which is an awesome database) but the drawback as you mentioned is having to pay for additional counties. I will definitely take a look into EasyAgent247!

  3. Evelyn Liardo says:

    I will look into AgentPro247…my correction!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Evelyn, I’m glad you’re getting some good value out of ReboGateway! As you probably saw in the blog post, none of them have it all nailed down perfectly, but if you thoroughly understand what YOU need, you should be able to find a good solution that provides the best value for your situation. Best of luck!

  4. thomas says:

    Nice blog post Seth….very detailed and well thought out!
    Curious to know what your closing rate (on average) would be on that 5-20% response rate?
    In other words how many deals would you close on that 5-20%?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hey Thomas – thanks! I’m glad you got some value out of it.

      My closing rate varies (depending greatly on how motivated each seller actually is), but I’d say on average, I close 1 deal for every 12 of the sellers I send offers to. In the end – if you’re handling each step of the process the right way, it mostly boils down to a numbers game.

  5. Kimberly says:

    Hello, just wondering if any of these services offer EMAIL addresses to reach out to people, instead of addresses and possibly phone numbers. Thanks!

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Kimberly – that’s actually a GREAT question (I’ve wondered from time to time if that would work – but never explored it in much detail). If anyone would have that kind of information, you might want to check out Melissa Data. They have ALL KINDS of data solutions (and it goes further than just real estate). May be worth giving them a call to see if they have anything like this.

  6. Thomas says:

    Hey Seth:
    Just want to make sure I understand you correctly.
    You send out 100 mailings ( for example)….12 people (give or take) make contact with you….you send out 12 offers ….and 1 offer is accepted(on average of course… sometimes better …sometimes not depending on the motivation of the sellers)
    Do I have that right? Thanks.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Thomas – you’re on the right track. Of course, the numbers are never exactly that predictable, but usually the initial response rate is anywhere from 5% -20% (depending on how well the list was chosen and filtered) and the acceptance rate is around 1 in 12 (on average).

      I’ve had campaigns with much better and much worse results, but hopefully this at least gives you a general expectation.

      1. Jeff Fairchild says:

        But what % of your incoming calls result in you mailing out an offer. Thomas was thinking you meant that you get 12 calls and you send 12 offers, but I’m almost sure this is not the case.

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hi Jeff! In the beginning, that actually was the case (because I was making offers on literally EVERY lead that came in the door)… but you’re right, these days, my offers are much more selective, because I only go after deals that meet a certain profit threshold.

          The vast majority of my leads come in through my website now (so they aren’t reliant on me continually paying for direct mail campaigns), and I probably make offers on half of the submissions I receive, and the acceptance numbers follow suit with my earlier comments… maybe even a bit less, because higher-end properties can be more challenging to get for pennies on the dollar.

          Keep in mind though, many people aren’t nearly as selective as I am – so depending on how well your list was filtered, you might make offers on closer to 70% – 80% of the responses that come in (and these numbers can vary quite a bit depending on a number of factors).

          Does that help at all?

  7. Chad says:

    Seth, thanks for the great articles and pod cast. I’m a newbie to Investment, and I live in rural West Virginia. Do you have any experience with obtaining info from this area. What’s your thoughts on how someone who may live in a small town, rural setting. I have to assume that it will be much tougher to get leads, than if living in a larger city. Thanks again!

  8. Chad says:

    hey Seth, appreciate all the great info man. quick question for ya. I live in rural West Virginia, and will be focusing primarily on vacant land. Couple questions, Do you have any experience with investments in this area. ,and whats your advice on generating enough leads when living in a smaller populated area. How far should you branch out?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Chad, thanks for the kind words! I have looked at a couple of deals in Virgina (so, different state, but somewhat similar) – and I thought it was a great place to look for property.

      If I were looking in that area, I’d focus on getting a good county and finding all the vacant land owners who live out-of-county (tax delinquent would be even better, but not necessary to get started). If you start looking, I think you’ll find there are PLENTY of opportunities to be had.

  9. Mark Henry says:

    Brilliant work I must accept. the information abut the handling of data is very good along with the way of delivering. Yes most the brokers do use the data and I think this article will definitely help them in understanding the use of that and marketing as well. All the best and keep the good work.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Mark – I appreciate the positive feedback!

  10. Alan says:

    When I try to go to the subscribe page on agentpro I see no bronze or silver levels. I believe that may have changed. Hopefully just my iPad.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Alan – good question. AgentPro247 has actually changed their pricing since I first made that video, but if you enter in partner id CFGRSH (and click “Update”) – you’ll see some different pricing options come up (which includes the subscription options you’re looking for).

  11. Marc says:

    Seth,

    What a great compilation of info! Appreciate your efforts putting this together. I took some of your earlier advice and have been using AgentPro247. I have been very satisfied with the data and the cost. Thanks again for delivering such actionable content.

    Marc

    1. Seth Williams says:

      That’s great to hear Marc, thanks for sharing! I’m glad you’ve found it helpful.

  12. Alex says:

    Thanks Seth for all valuable information. From our experience, data provider companies sometimes give unverified database when they mention It’s verified. It’s hard to believe about accuracy. What do you think?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hey Alex, thanks for sharing your experience. When you say “verified” – are you talking about when they say their database was last updated (i.e. – they say it’s been updated as of X date, but it clearly hasn’t), or is there some other measurement you’re using in reference to the verification of the database?

      I guess in the end, it seems like we’re kind of at their mercy. If they say one thing and it isn’t based on reality, there’s not much we can do to cross-check them other than going line item by line item and comparing their list with the county (which sounds like a nightmare).

      1. John David says:

        Seth, you are right that in the end it seems like we’re at their mercy. But I believe there are some email marketing lists verification service. Do you know any affordable service that can verify If those email addresses are valid? If this happens, we can be on safe side, I believe.

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Hi John – I wish I knew of one, but other than doing it yourself manually (or hiring a less expensive VA to do it), I don’t know of a service that offers this kind of thing. If you ever learn of one, definitely let me know!

      2. Alex Kim says:

        Seth, thanks for your answer. When I said verified I mean ‘the bounce rate’. Most of them say that their email marketing database is 2016 updated. If this is the case then there shouldn’t be any bounce rate I believe. But in reality, a lot of emails are actually bounced back and not delivered successfully. Hope that clarifies.

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Yeah – that’s hard for me to answer, because I haven’t used any of these sites for email marketing, only for direct mail (physical letters and postcards via USPS).

  13. Komal says:

    Mr. Seth Williams, you researched and compiled great information. Do you think we can generate leads using database marketing directories purchased from these data sources?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks Komal! Yes – I think it’s certainly possible… but it’s also not necessarily a fool-proof method. Before you spend any significant money on a direct mail campaign, it’s worth doing some double checking to make sure you’re working with reliable data. As long as you know the data is good (and you know how to filter it effectively for your target recipients), it can be a very powerful way to handle your marketing.

  14. Charles Alvarado says:

    Thank you for your insight Seth, I’ll like to mention ”DataTree.com” by First American Data Tree as a National source of property data for direct marketing. http://www.datatree.com/

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for sharing Charles! I’m guessing they probably use much of the same data available from RealQuest and ListSource (as they’re all owned by First American and they pull their data from the CoreLogic database). It’s always good to know about another source. 🙂

      1. Brian Fluhr says:

        Hi Seth,

        First, off great post!

        Second, CoreLogic separated from First American in 2010. First American has their own national database of real estate data and http://www.datatree.com/ is the First American solution for real estate research. It was released about a year ago after being built from the ground up. I run the marketing for DataTree and would like to extend a free trial or have you review our solution as well. Actually, anybody can get a free trial by visiting: http://www.datatree.com/datatree-free-trial

        1. Seth Williams says:

          Thanks for clarifying Brian, I appreciate the heads up on that!

          Thanks for the free trial too – I’m sure some readers would love to take you up on that. 🙂

          1. Michael J Lambie says:

            It looks like DataTree may be your service of choice since you’ve made this post. How would you rate it along the same criteria as in this post?

          2. Hi Michael – that’s right. I actually am going to be updating this blog post in the next few weeks with new information on how DataTree works. So far, I would say DataTree has the best user interface, and probably the most useful and versatile filtering functions, but in terms of the quality of data, it’s similar to the others, in that it varies from county to county. It’s still always worth verifying when it was last updated before you start using it. I hope that helps!

  15. Nakeem Morgan says:

    Hey Seth I tried getting the legendary tex default List but no luck from Rebo gateway or my county I only have $1000 to spend on marketing do you recommend a specific list company

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Nakeem – sorry to hear about that… unfortunately that happens in some counties. It’s annoying, I know.

      In terms of the delinquent tax list, if you can’t get it from either source – your best bet is to just move onto a different county. Some counties make it extremely hard to get your hands on this list, but others make it very easy… you just have to keep searching until you find the counties that make it easy for you (and once you know which ones they are, you can keep going back to them again and again).

      Good luck!

  16. John says:

    Just found this site while performing research late at night! Great information – Thanks for offering valuable insight!

    Basically, I am interesting in performing extensive multi-year residential and commercial real estate trend analyses, predictive analytics, etc. for my clients. Not so much interested in direct mail lists. At least not at the moment…

    Several questions;

    Of the companies mentioned in your article, are there any that provide bulk data on a month-to-month basis instead of an annual contract?

    Also, do you have any experience with just offering real estate analyses to potential investors or have you only personally invested in commercial and/or residential real estate?

    Further, why not just utilize the publicly available appraisal data from the county instead of spending money for the data from the above-mentioned companies? My thought is that the appraisal value approximates the market value moreso during a seller’s market relative to a buyers’ market… Hence, the appraisal value may be sufficient sometimes…

    What are your thoughts?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks John, I put a TON of time into this article, so I’m glad you found it helpful!

      I believe ReboGateway and AgentPro247 both have a month-to-month options. I’ve helped others figure out their own real estate analysis in the past, but most of my analysis has been for properties that I intended to purchase (mostly residential).

      You could certainly get the publicly available data in many areas (and in some cases, it’s even more reliable), but in many counties – they don’t have the most user-friendly systems and/or they don’t even offer a website where you can access the information from home. In other cases, you have to check multiple websites to evaluate a single property – whereas most of these services give you an all-in-one solution that is consistently the same in every county in the US (and in terms of user-friendliness, this adds a lot of value).

  17. Rosie Brown says:

    You have cited the example of several companies with clearly mentioning pros and cons of each. Thanks for this analytical writing. What I request you is to include email list data from Confaab as well. Because Confaab also has dually verified and regularly updated real estate email list.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Thanks for sharing Rosie! However, this blog post is looking primarily a data services for the purposes of direct mail and property research – and I think email could certainly be valuable, but it falls into a different category altogether. I appreciate you mentioning this either way!

  18. Reginald Guercin says:

    Hi Seth,

    I’m a real estate agent who is fairly new with about 1 1/2 years under my belt. I have sold a couple property but they come every 3-4 months and they were mostly buyers generated from rental leads. I wanted to start with getting seller listings instead so I began looking for ways that I can, but it seems like direct mailing is the most effective way. I haven’t found a good source in which I can until I read this blog. Out of everything that I have read I would definitely say that there are different ways to get motivated sellers. However, I’m looking for the strongest way and also pre-made letters that I can mail out to the prospect. Any help on this?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Reginald – I’m not sure it will fit exactly with what you’re looking for, but you might find these examples to be helpful. I’m also working on putting together some variations on these in the form of an actual letter in an envelope – I’m hoping to have those examples posted on the blog in early 2017.

  19. Damian says:

    Hi Seth – I was wondering if you had a post card example that I could use for for trying to reach motivated sellers for wholesaling? I want to start sending them out via Click 2 Mail. Thanks in advance.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Damian – sure thing! Check out this blog post.

      1. Damian says:

        Seth, I bought the postcard template and had a few questions. On the personal letter one, how do input the homeowners full name instead of “To whom it may concern”? Thanks in advance!

  20. Donny Coram says:

    Hey Seth,

    Incredible amount of info. Thank you for taking the time to analyze all of these list sources. A quick question: we primarily call our leads, in your opinion, what data provider is best for property data with phone numbers?

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Donny – I haven’t used it personally, but I’ve hard that Cole Realty Resource is a good option if you need phone numbers. Might be worth checking out!

  21. Drew says:

    Hi Seth,

    This was a very informative article – Thank you!

    I am wondering in your experience if you’ve ever run across a data company that has the ability to filter on or identify land-locked parcels? Or perhaps if you’ve found a method to identify these in your data sets in case you want to filter them out (without having to individually check each one in your mail merge).

    Thanks for your help!
    -Drew

    1. Hi Drew, thanks! That’s a great question about filtering landlocked parcels… I’ve never done that specifically, but I feel like there has to be some way to narrow down those types of properties, at least in some counties. You could probably contact any of the data companies and ask about this, they might be able to give you some helpful suggestions (say, if you wanted to get only properties that have no information available for the physical street address, that might be one place to start).

      1. Drew says:

        Thanks Seth, appreciate your quick feedback!

  22. Jin woo says:

    awesome info, i signed up for rebogateway for bankrupcy list, do you have any other data providers that you came across and found out to be good?

    1. Hi Jin – one other provider that may be of interest is datatree. I’ve heard great things about them as well.

  23. Derek Dalrymple says:

    Thank you for the great info Seth! I maybe coming late to the game but I really appreciate your comparisons between sites! I have been using AgentPro for 2 months now. I am running into a problem with downloading a delinquent tax list and finding about 40% don’t actually have owner mailing addresses needed for my direct mailing campaigns (not the property address, but he address to send the letter too). Have you run into this problem and if so, were you able to fix it with the criteria? I called the BlackKnight HelpDesk and they were pleasant but could not find a way to filter out records without mailing addresses. Any help or direction would be appreciated!

    1. Hey Derek! Yeah, when it comes to delinquent tax lists, most data companies actually aren’t a very reliable place to get this information. For whatever reason, they have a very hard time keeping this information current (it must be fed to them through some other source, if at all). In my experience, if a delinquent tax list is specifically what I need, I have to get it directly from the county (which is usually a lot harder, I know).

      Of course, if you’re still having issues with missing addresses in the county you’re looking (even when you’re not searching by tax delinquent status), it could simply be an issue what that county’s database. Your best bet would be to try a different county (maybe the one next door) and see if any others can produce better results for you. Alternatively, you could also try a different data service and see if it’s able to do any better for you.

      1. Derek Dalrymple says:

        Thanks Seth! I will check with the county. I appreciate the link to the “Everything You Need To Know About Getting Your County’s “Delinquent Tax List”” Blog!

  24. Zach says:

    Hey Seth,
    An excellent overview of data providers! You have a good writing style and consistently provide good and thorough information. Are you familiar with Propstream.com? I know of a number of REI who have moved from services like Realquest to Propstream. I wondered how it compared to Datatree and the others you reviewed. Thanks for your contributions.

    1. Hi Zach – I’m not familiar with that one, but I know there are A LOT of smaller companies out there that are basically re-sellers of the same information collected from one or more of these big three databases. I think they if offer new filtering options or database information beyond the “big 3” mentioned above, they could definitely be worth checking out.

  25. Lew Stone says:

    Do you have any opinion or review of Larry Goins HUD mastery course and filthy riches course? Thanks

    1. I’ve never heard of it. Sorry!

  26. Josh T says:

    Seth,

    What an incredible article! It is the most clear and comprehensive review of all the real estate data service providers I have ever seen. You provide a complete analysis of the cost, quantity and quality of the data from each service along with a side-by-side comparisons, giving investors all they need to make an informed decision. The research for this piece must have taken months to put together. If you ever tire of the real estate business, you probably could make a career as an investigative reporter.

    1. Thanks so much Josh! Yeah, you’re actually spot on – it took a TON of time to put all of this together (probably the most time of any single blog post I’ve ever written). I’m really glad you’re seeing the value in it. Thanks for reading!

  27. Karl James says:

    Thanks, Seth. This is one of the best, most complete and objective articles, on data availability, pricing and usage tips I’ve seen. I’ve been buying and selling land since 2014 and I found this a refreshing article to read and remind me of alternate sources and approaches. I use data direst from counties, AgentPro, and Parlay most frequently.

    1. That’s great to hear Karl! Thanks for the nice compliment (this one took many, many hours to put together). Those data sources you’re using are all pretty solid in my experience – but if you’re ever shopping around for something else, hopefully, you got some good ideas above.

  28. Avim says:

    Hey Seth, wow! you broke it down so deeply. very helpful!
    just some questions, I saw the rebogateway is very good, I just didn’t get there pricing? besides the monthly subscription do they charge fo pulling the list itself? and is there any limits of records?
    I also went on mellisadata and they seem to be extremely expensive, what service om the above you suggest for big lists (20-30k per month) ? in terms of pricing and quality ..
    Thanks again man!!

    1. Hi Avim, it’s been a few years since I’ve investigated ReboGateway, so I’m honestly not sure how their pricing works now. It’s probably easy to get the answers with a quick phone call though.

      The service I use most often today is DataTree (though, I’ve never pulled a list of the size you mentioned).

  29. Sanju says:

    Seth,

    Based on your article, I used the link to sign up for the Gold package with DataTree and to be honest, my experience from beginning to end has been extremely disappointing. I wanted to outline this so that I can spare someone else the same pain.

    To summarize an email that I sent my account manager.

    1. I signed up for an account in March and for the first 2 months, i pulled well past my 2450 leads per month. However in early May, I noticed that there was an issue with the leads. I was trying to mail to rural vacant land owners, not houses, since that is not my business model. I reported the issue to my account manager, who attempted to investigate it, but it was clear he didn’t quite understand the issue. I asked my account manager to report this issue to their Technical Support team.
    2. I received a response from the Technical Support Team that this issue would be addressed within 5-7 business days. 15 business days later, I was told that this was a major release issue, meaning they would have to re-write code or something similar, and they could not give me a time table on this. Since this took me through the remainder of May, I was unable to pull my leads for May, since I thought it would be a waste of time to pull leads that had incorrect data.
    3. I reported this to my account manager who indicated he would work with me to get me credits for May.
    4. June completely slipped by be due to my wife and I being pregnant with our first child (no data tree issue here).
    5. I ask my account manager if he could help me out since my baby was born three weeks early, and as anyone who has a child knows, your life gets turned upside down. I asked to pause my contract until I could get back to some level of normalcy. I was told that this was not an option, and that I could not cancel my contract, and that I would only receive either May or June as a credit.
    6. I indicated to my Account manager that my Sales manager told me that I could cancel at any point.
    7. I just received an Email from my account manager indicating that my Sales manager is correct in that I could cancel at anytime, but I would have to pay 3 months extra to buy out my contract, which was conveniently left out.

    So to make a long story long.

    1. Data Tree is unable to provide useful data on Rural Vacant Land (this is something that Land Academy, the program I learned from mentioned numerous times) I should have listened.
    2. My sales manager told me that I could cancel at any time, since I specifically asked if I was locked into a contract. However, he failed to mention the 3 month buyout.
    3. Their technical team told me that it would be resolved in 5-7 business days. I will be shocked if this is resolved in 6 months.
    4. Their account manager indicated that he would work with me to get credits, but when I pursued the issue reneg’ed on his word.

    I understand you have an affiliate relationship with them, but based on you having a strong following in the Land Investing community, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the product that you are endorsing. This may be only my experience, but I somehow doubt it.

    Please let me know your thoughts.

    1. Hi Sanju, thanks for the detailed comment. I appreciate you sharing your experience. From what I’m reading, it sounds like you’re talking about a few separate issues here (correct me if I’m wrong):

      1. DataTree was unable to effectively separate houses from vacant lots
      2. You and your wife had a baby, which made it inconvenient to continue with the contract you agreed to. When trying to cancel, you had to pay 3 months extra to stop payments.
      3. The sales/account manager apparently promised to give you credits but then couldn’t deliver.

      Issue 1: This one is hard to assign blame to without knowing a lot more information (i.e. – how did you try to filter the list in the first place? Assuming you selected the right criteria, how widespread was the problem? Did this just come up in one county or several? In the counties where it came up, how many of the leads came back as occupied vs. vacant land – was it 50/50? 80/20? 1/99? Did you try any other methods of segregating vacant land from houses?).

      I’ve experienced the occasional hiccup using DataTree for my lists as well, so I’m definitely aware that imperfections come up in some counties – but so far, it’s been par for the course when compared with other data services providers (like AgentPro247, RealQuest, Melissa Data, ListSource, etc). If you work with ANY data service long enough, you will run into issues in some counties. I’m definitely not trying to discount this problem, but without more specifics, it’s hard to know how much of this is a DataTree issue as opposed to an industry-wide issue that inevitably comes up when working with any data service.

      Issue 2: Having two small kids myself, I totally understand how life can throw you curve balls that make these kinds of contracts inconvenient, but this also isn’t a DataTree problem (as you pointed out). Most companies wouldn’t give you the option of cutting out early (or even doing an early buyout). Granted, if someone told me (verbally or in writing) that I could cancel it, and failed to mention the 3-month buyout, I would be pretty annoyed by that as well – but even so, whenever I agree to any kind of financial arrangement for 12 months, I would always assume there is some kind of cost to pay if I can’t follow through. I don’t think this is unique to DataTree and shouldn’t be any reason for surprise. I guess it begs the question – how was this spelled out in the original contract? Do you have that on hand?

      Issue 3: I’m not sure what this original conversation looked like or how specific this account manager was about what kind of credits you’d get back, but it kind of sounds like the classic, overly-ambitious salesperson who promises things they can’t deliver (I’ve encountered plenty of these myself and they drive me nuts). I’m sorry you got caught up in this. Did you ever get this promise in writing? If so, I would think this could be used as leverage… but if it was just verbal, there probably isn’t much to be done about that.

      Anyway – I’m sorry you had a bad experience. In any event, it’s good to hear this kind of real user feedback, so thanks for sharing. I’ll be taking a mental inventory of these kinds of reports, in case I notice more of them coming from other users. Definitely let us know how things go with whatever data service you end up with. It’s always good to hear side-by-side comparisons from other parties like yourself. Good luck!

  30. Theresa Amouzou says:

    does this work for international leads as well?

    1. Most countries don’t have quite the same access to property owner data, so I think you’ll actually find it a bit more difficult in most other places in the world… that’s not to say it’s impossible, but there will most likely be more obstacles to get over, and you probably won’t find the data as easily as these services provide it.

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