Quickly calculate repair costs, analyze deals and streamline your rehabbing business!
Estimate repair costs using our Repair Cost Estimator with 300+ work items and unit costs.
Analyze the maximum purchase price you can offer for a property.
Project Management & Accounting for managing projects and tracking expenses.
28 great reporting options: Investment Reports, Rehab Checklists, Expense Reports, Final Profit Statements
The House Flipping Spreadsheet is a powerful Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that can be used by rehabbers and investors to analyze deals and streamline the management of their rehabbing business. The Remodel Cost Estimator is one of the most comprehensive and powerful cost estimating spreadsheets on the market. With a database of over 300+ work items and unit costs, you will be able to create detailed and accurate repair cost estimates in a matter of minutes. The Rehab Analyzer gives you an executive dashboard to analyze fixed costs, repair costs, profitability to determine the Maximum Purchase Price you should offer for your next rehab property. Once you get a property under contract, use the Project Management and Accounting suite for managing your project teams, creating project budgets, tracking expenses and forecasting project profitability. There are also 28 professional reporting options that will help manage and streamline the rehabbing process: Inspection Checklists, Rehab Checklists, Investment Reports, Business Management Reports, Expense Reports, Profit Statements, and more!… The Enterprise Version includes the Business Package which comes with Business Planning Tools/Templates, Lead & Marketing Tracking, Portfolio Management Tools/Templates & Contract Agreements!
Today we’re excited to announce the launch of the brand new BiggerPockets Podcast! Each week, we will be bringing you incredible real estate investing tips, training, and interviews with actual investors who are in the field, making it happen.
Last week, Marty Boardman wrote a killer post for the BiggerPockets blog called “How to Lose a Million Dollars in RealEstate: A Step by Step Guide” which was an instant hit among BiggerPockets readers. We knew that Marty would make a great first guest on the new show.
In This Week’s Podcast, We’ll Explore
How Marty Lost over 1,000,000 in the RealEstate Crash The Best Advice Marty Ever Received about RealEstate Investing How to Find Local Mentors to Teach, Train, and Bring You Under Their Wings How to Quit Your Job and Become a Full Time RealEstate Investor Using The Four Flipping Boxes to Flip Houses How to Raise Private Money for Your Real Estate Investing Deals Why Wholesalers Do Not Need a Buyer’s List – and What They Do Need The Four “Must Haves” in a Real Estate Partnership How Marty Got a Book Deal for a new House Flipping Book Marty’s Favorite Real Estate Investing Book Links from the Show:
Books Mentioned in the Show:
Fixing and Flipping Real Estate: Strategies for the Post-Boom Era Rich Dad Poor Dad Rich Dad’s Cashflow Quadrant The E-Myth Revisited The Intelligent Investor – by Benjamin Graham The Snowball: Warrent Buffet and the Business of Life
http://www.biggerpockets.com – Interview with buy and hold real estate investor Michael Zuber by Joshua Dorkin of BiggerPockets. The interview covers landlording, buying green houses – Monopoly style, 1031 exchanges, and why a supportive relationship with your spouse or partner is essential for success. Video Rating: / 5
Making Millions Through House Flipping (and Losing It All) | Real Estate Business Strategies
Investing in Real Estate Using a Self-Directed IRA
Why RealEstate Makes Sense For Your Self-directed Retirement Plan
Written by: Dmitriy Fomichenko
There are an increasing number of investors who want to get into real estate. Some want to look for an extra source of income, others look toward financial security. Another great goal that real estate investments can help investors achieve is retirement. With the right investments, real estate can provide steady replacement income that helps investors retire from their 9 to 5 jobs. Traditionally, real estate investments are not allowed in qualified retirement plans. However, with the introduction of self-directed retirement plans, such as the Checkbook IRA or self-directed Solo 401k, it is now possible to invest your retirement savings in real estate. Here are a few reasons to consider real estate for your retirement savings
Unlike stocks, real estate is a tangible asset. Real estate investors are less likely to risk all their assets during a market crash. In the worst-case scenario, investors can choose to sell or foreclose the property to recover some of their investment. Even for investors who are not ready to leave the stock market, adding real estate assets to a retirement portfolio is also a great way to diversify and offset the risk. In the past, house price and rental income tended to rise along with inflation. Real estate can safeguard against inflation and investors can count on income from real estate during their retirement.
In many cases, investors can only speculate on their returns on investments. With real estate investments, however, the returns are often more predictable. Rent amounts are locked in with a lease. The interest rate for a mortgage note or trust deed is also specified in the loan terms. Over the years, investors will often find that predictable income helps them plan their finances with ease. The steady income also requires less monitoring. Instead of keeping an eye on market movements and stressing over the number, investors can focus on their core business or finding the next investment opportunities.
Real estate investments within a self-directed retirement plan The secure and predictable nature of real estate investment can work well for cash investors and also for self-directed retirement plans. If only investing with their personal funds, investors may miss out on the tax benefits that they can get with qualified IRA or 401k plans.
Traditionally, most retirement plans are managed by custodians and fund managers, who often focus on the money market. Real estate investments can cause hassles when plan owners have to go through their custodians for every transaction, from funding the purchase to maintaining the property. Many traditional retirement plans, therefore, discourage or even prohibit real estate investments. With self-directed retirement plans such as the Solo 401k with Checkbook Control or the IRA LLC, however, real estate investments are now possible. The plan owners take charge of their retirement account and act as the sole decision-maker. This makes it possible for them to choose a property, fund the purchase, and direct the investments without going through anyone else. With this option, it is now possible to invest in real estate with a tax-deferred or tax-free retirement plan.
Why RealEstate Makes Sense For Your Self-directed Retirement Plan
Real Estate Lead Generation Tips – Craigslist Marketing Strategies To Generate More Buyer Leads
What would you do if you found yourself with more cash buyer leads than you knew what to do with?
… I hope your answer would be that you’ll do more real estate deals!
For turn key real estate investors, wholesalers, and even house flippers…
… Cash Buyer Leads Are where Your Money Is
Whenever you need more money, go to your buyers list to curate demand!
Like the screenshot above from an actual InvestorCarrot members account for just 1 of his websites in a market on the East coast… he has well over 1,000 cash buyers (1,015 of which took the next step and further qualified themselves with our “Step 2” lead qualification process built into all Carrot sites. Those are solid buyer leads.
One perpetually attractive source of buyer leads is Craigslist.
Are You Leveraging Craigslist To Build Your Active Cash Buyers List?
If you’re a real estate investor, Craigslist should be one of the sites you bookmark and visit daily to help you grow your business.
Craigslist has long been a treasure trove of leads for real estate investors, from buyer leads to seller leads to rental tenants to contractors, and more.
It’s so good because there are always many people on Craigslist at any given time and you can be sure that the people who are visiting the real estate section have some interest in real estate… that is, they’re at least thinking about participating in some kind of transaction (even if they’re not ready today).
Unfortunately there’s a dark side to that reality: there are a lot of people just like you – including agents and investors – who are hitting up Craigslist to find leads.
If you go to the real estate for sale section of Craigslist, you’ll be inundated with a list of properties, each title proclaiming in all caps:
“123 MAIN STREET!!! FIXER-UPPER” “3 BEDROOM 2 BATH” “COUNTRY CHARM!!!”
… There are a lot of all-caps and a lot of exclamation points. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
So, how do you master Craigslist to make it a key part of your buyer-lead-building strategy? And, how do you stand out from the crowd and attract more buyer leads?
Not a Carrot member yet? Take a Look At Our Real Estate Lead And Conversion System Plans, Our Plans Are Very Affordable And Simple To Set-UpOrTake a Demo For A Spin.
Here Are 5 Strategies To Get More Craigslist Buyer Leads
Craigslist Marketing Buyer Leads Strategy #1. Put On YOUR Buyer Brain
Before you start posting your deals, you need to know who you are posting them for. So many properties in Craigslist miss out on a huge opportunity by creating mundane post titles like “3 bedroom, 2 bathroom!”
Is that the best information for your buyer?
Start by identifying who your buyer is. Do you sell to retail buyers? Rent-to-own tenants? Landlords? Flippers? Get as specific as possible. Maybe you are a turnkey wholesaler and your perfect buyer is an out-of-state owner. Maybe you flip properties and your perfect buyer is a rent-to-own tenant with bad credit but a good job.
Once you identify your buyer, you need to get into their brain and think about WHY they want to buy a property from you. No one cares about the address of your property until they are ready to visit. And not all buyers care about the number of bedrooms and bathrooms either.
Here are 3 simple but powerful tips to help get in the brain of your cash buyers with your Craigslist ads.
Your out-of-state investing buyers want to know the cash flow numbers
Your flipping buyers want an assessment of how much work is requiredto flip the property
Your rent-to-own tenant-buyers want to know that you’ll work with them on their unique financing situation
You need to figure out why your buyers are looking in the first place… then build that information into your ads.
Craigslist Marketing Buyer Strategy #2. Create a Compelling Post Title That Speaks To Your Buyer’s “Why”
Your buyers have a reason for buying properties and it has NOTHING to do with the property’s address (that most people post as the post title).
Create a title that speaks to your buyer’s key reason for buying.
To borrow from the examples above:
Your out-of-state investing buyers want to know the cash flow numbers so a post title that catches their attention…
Turnkey property cash flowing $500/month”
Your flipping buyers want an assessment of how much work is required to flip the property so a post title that catches their attention… …
“Easy-to-fix property 50% below market, requires only $10K for a fast flip”
Your rent-to-own customers want to know that you’ll work with them on their unique financing situation so a post title that says…
“Bad credit? No problem with this beautiful rent-to-own home”
Should you include exclamation points and ALL-CAPS?
Those might have worked when people were first posting but it seems like most people are using that strategy now so you might consider using regular sentence case to write your title since it will be unique against a list of ALL CAP POSTS.
You should test both a regular (sentence case) title and an ALL CAPS title and see what works in your market… but in general I’m not a fan of all caps titles on Craigslist ads or email subject lines. It just feels like I’m being yelled at in a weird silent way 😉
In the end, it’s not important whether you use CAPS, symbols in your ad title, arrows… whatever. The important thing is that your ad title stands out visually in the list of other ads.
Which Craigslist Real Estate Ads Stand Out To You Below?
Craigslist Buyer Leads Strategy #3. Attach The Best Pictures For Your Prospects Goal
Pictures are a challenging part of the real estate investor’s Craigslist marketing strategy. The burning question is: Do pictures help?
Here’s our assessment:
If your buyer is a homeowner/retail buyer (that is: if they will be living in the property themselves) then pictures will help.
If your buyer is an investor (i.e. a flipper or they want to own rental property) then pictures probably won’t help as much as the numbers. (They might help but not to the same degree as someone who will live in the property).
Also, the quality of the picture should really vary based on the type of buyer you’re looking for.
Retail Buyers want to see very pretty and polished pictures. So post great pictures to catch their attention. When most retail buyers see a crummy picture that makes the house look bad, they immediately start thinking of all of the work they’ll have to do to make the house “pretty”.
Turnkey Investors want to see pictures that show the house is nice, is well kept, in a neighborhood that’ll attract the type of tenant they want, etc. So you don’t need the ultra polished pictures like you may post for a retail buyer, but make sure the house looks like it’s in great shape and well kept in the pictures to turnkey investors.
Cash Buyers / Flippers often want to see a house that is in rough shape in comparison to the others in the neighborhood. So don’t fret over trying to make your pictures fancy. In fact, fancy professional pictures could give the flipper / rehabber / cash buyer the impression that the house is too expensive and isn’t a deal. Show the flaws in the house, show what they’ll have to fix, but make sure to show the good parts of the deal as well.
Which Pictures Stand Out And Which Ones Don’t?
So again it comes back to knowing who your buyers are.
Many real estate posts have pictures in them and they aren’t great quality pictures.
One picture may show a room with windows; another picture may show a house with a tree in front of it. Clearly all of the pictures were taken on a smartphone. If you are going to take pictures, take great pictures (vivid pictures with plenty of contrast) that show key parts of the property that will interest your buyer based on their “why”.
(Flippers should see the parts that are great and the parts that need fixing. Cash flow investors should see that a property is solid enough to attract and retain good tenants).
But here’s one more argument against images: Since many listings do have pictures, your listing might actually stand out if you don’t have pictures – especially when Craigslist is in the thumbnail or gallery mode. So you can use the lack of pictures to your advantage if you have a great ad title that draws the real estate buyer in.
The main thing you want to do is stand out in the sea of other Craigslist ads.
Try both ads with images and without.
And try ads with great images and ugly ones and see which produces thebest result for you following our guidelines above.
Craigslist Buyer Leads Strategy #4. Deploy A Pricing Strategy That Makes Sense
As you post your listing, you are prompted to enter a price.
Here are the four possible pricing options you have:
The right price
A price that is too low
A price that is too high
No price at all
Although people can sort with high prices first or low prices first, potential buyers will rarely search for high prices first (because serious buyers usually want to pay less).
And if they search by price at all, your no-price listing may not show up at all.
This reduces your choices to: the right price or a price that is eye-catchingly low.
If a price is too low ($1.00) you might show up at the top of the list when sorted by low price first but what will you gain? You may incur the wrath of someone who wants to flag you for mispricing your property. Ultimately it will depend on the kind of deals you do and who your buyers are.
The best rule of thumb is to always price the property for your best price upfront.
Craigslist Buyer Leads Strategy #5: Include A Call To Action
In the body of your listing, include relevant details that the buyer will find helpful. But most people stop there.
“2BR, nice community.”
While that might be true, people need to be told what to do next.
So create a clear call to action that entices them and reminds them of the urgency of the offer.
“Contact us today – this deal will go fast.”
You might also consider offering a bonus to leads who contact you. Make sure that the bonus is valuable, tied to your offer, and benefits your specific buyer (as identified in strategy #1).
Don’t get too aggressive on your free bonuses because they could cause people to flag your listing but if you take an authentic, measured approach that is targeted to a specific audience, you should find it helpful.
An example might be for flippers: “Contact me about this property and I’ll even throw in a $250 coupon for Home Depot upon closing” Or this one for out-of-state investors: “Contact me about this property and we’ll even waive our first months property management fee!”
Start Getting More Craigslist Buyer Leads Right Now
Craigslist is a powerful source of leads no matter what you use it for. If you want buyers, follow these 5 simple strategies to take your buyer lead building to the next level!
If you found this blog post helpful, stay tuned because we have an entire Craigslist training that will be available soon to give you an even more comprehensive step-by-step strategy to dominate Craigslist and build seller leads, buyer leads, and more.
Not a Carrot member yet?Take a Look At Our Real Estate Lead And Conversion System Plans, Our Plans Are Very Affordable And Simple To Set-UpOrTake a Demo For A Spin.
Real Estate Lead Generation Tips – Craigslist Marketing Strategies To Generate More Buyer Leads
Today is a pretty big deal. Why you ask? Because we just rolled out 3 major updates to the InvestorCarrot platform (Carrot V2) that are going to make your life easier, more effective, and be an amazing platform to house our future inbound marketing tools and features.
It’s funny how things work out. For the past 6 months we’ve been working on some big projects here at Carrot and several of them just happened to wrap up around the same time. So we decided to do one big release (after a bunch of testing) this morning of those 3 major updates.
More under the radar, we’ve also released dozens of other smaller updates this year and have other big updates rolling out over the next several weeks (like Land Buying / Selling websites, and more).
But let’s dive in to what’s new in your InvestorCarrot account as of today!
NEW: The Carrot Dashboard: The Foundation For The Future
Our vision here at Carrot is to build the single most effective and simple to use tool for high achieving real estate investors (and soon to be agents as well) to attract more high quality prospects online and convert more of them into profitable leads. With tens of thousands of leads per month being pulled in through our platform by our members every month already, we’re proud as heck of what our members like you have helped us build over the past 2.5 years.
But, to make room for the amazing features and tools we have planned for the rest of 2016 and into 2017, we decided to redesign your user dashboard from the ground up.
More simplified dashboard showing your websitesin a more compact space
We’ve brought many of the settings for your websites out of the confusing WordPress interface and into a simple and intuitive custom dashboard. Want to add tracking codes to your site? Attach a domain? Great, it’s just 2 clicks away now 🙂
Having quick access to your basic website stats is important to knowing what’s working and what isn’t. So we decided to bring more useful data and fancy graphs right into your dashboard for each website.
This will help you save time from having to learn Google Analytics and it’ll deliver you the essential traffic data that you need on a continual basis. You’ll notice more changes to your stats to come as well so be on the lookout!
Now See Robust Traffic Stats (more to come!)
NEW: Fresh Website Styles Rebuilt From The Ground Up For Desktop And Mobile = Beauty + Performance
At Carrot, all of our website design decisions are based on performance. Will these changes improve theconversion rate and overall ROI for our clients or not?
Over the past year we’ve had countless requests for“new site designs” so you can even better stand out from other’s in your market. After all, you already know that Carrot is the most effective tool for SEO and conversion in the industry (which is why more Carrot websites control more top 5 Google rankings for search phrases that matter than any other REI platform)… but you still want more options to look a bit different.
But because we’re committed to high performance we decided we weren’t going to just roll out some pretty designs and call it a day.
So we embarked on what became a 10 month journey of split testing over 20 designs on over 100 websitesto tens of thousands of visitors to find some other “styles” that perform at least as well as our current high performing style you’ve come to recognize and love.
A Screenshot Of Just One Of Our Tests…
And after all of that testing, we found 4 fresh styles that perform up to our standards and give you that design flexibility to look different.
Then we started from scratch and completely rebuilt our entire code base around our websites from the ground up so every part of our websites perform even better on mobile, look more clean, are easier to use, and use our new “Site Customizer” to make editing your appearance settings a breeze.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I know I know, you’ve had a website up with us for a while and you’re chomping at the bit to move over to one of these fresh styles. I would be too. But for now, these fresh styles are available only for new websites launched from today moving forward. We are working on a migration tool to move existing websites over to these fresh site styles for those who want to, but we didn’t want to make you all wait another couple of months to leverage these designs for your NEW sites.
Also, our original site style in use on all existing websites before today is still our highest performing design in aggregate and one we’re not abandoning anytime soon. It’s still a beast. These fresh styles just give some more design options without sacrificing performance because they’re all tested, proven, and built with our Carrot Conversion methodology at the core.
With that said, take a quick peak at our new site styles below. We’ve just used motivated house seller websites for these examples… but these styles can be used on any of our website types on websites launched from today on.
Each style is named after some of our favorite Oregon trees. We love the outdoors and LOVE our home state of Oregon and want to spread some Oregon love.
The Madrone – Clean, Re-Imagined Header, Striking Image
With the Madrone style you’ll really be able to leverage a local image and our eye catching “action bar” at the top of your website. This looks even more amazing on mobile.
The Douglas – Our Original Mainstay Design Modernized For The Future
The Douglas Fir is the most popular tree in our county and the mainstay of our local timber industry. So what better name for the most popular and productive site style in use by Carrot members today. We refreshed the design a bit, added new features such as social media icons as an option in the header, our new site customizer, and more.
The Cedar – Simple And Striking
The Cedar leverages our same proven conversion elements we’ve honed over the years and wraps them around a new visual. You’ll notice the full height hero image, no black box around the call to action text, and transparent header. This style looks amazing on mobile and retains the high performance we demand.
The Juniper – Draws Your Eye Straight To The CTA
If you know anything about Juniper trees is that they suck all of the water out of the ground they are growing in. When we tested this design (we originally called it the “Stacked Hero” internally) we ran the test on 20+ websites all across the country at once… and it consistently sucked more leads out of the web than most everything else we tested. Some markets it converted considerably higher, most it was right on par with our original style, and a couple it was slightly lower. But in aggregate it was our highest performing of the fresh site styles.
Just login to your account, launch a new website, then click “Design” in the settings area. Then you can browse the fresh new styles, preview, and activate all in a few seconds.
And as a reminder in case you missed it above, these fresh site styles are currently available for new websites launched from today on forward. Any existing websites we recommend you stay with the original (as it is still our highest performer as far as lead volume goes) until we complete our “Site Migrator” to help those who want a different visual look for their existing sites over to one of the new styles above.
NEW: Simplified Way To Adjust Settings And Branding
One of the biggest pains in the butt when you’re editing the design settings of most websites including Carrot is you couldn’t immediately see how those changes would impact the look of your website without saving them… and going to your actual URL and refreshing your website. Pain right?
Well we’ve solved that with our new robust Website Customizer.
We’ve consolidated many of the most important settings in the Customizer and also added some amazing new features to get you from “idea” to “launch” more quickly with less headache.
Some of the biggest changes in the customizer are…
Preview your design changes in real time right in your account
Build a professional and clean logo in the app if you don’t already have one
More easily and quickly brand your site (no coding required)
Adjust your navigation menus and sidebar contentright there too!
… and other new features (go explore and find ’em 🙂
Behind the scenes we’re working our butts off to keep you at the cutting edge as far as inbound marketing goes for your real estate investing business.
We continue to focus a ton of energy and resources on innovations on mobile design and performance. Be on the lookout for even more improvements in the coming months to keep you ahead of the mobile curve.
Performance and ROI are at the heart of why so many people are switching to Carrot and getting better results from Carrot than any other platform they’ve tried (even their custom websites). We’re currently testing tools that we plan on launching as “apps” within your Carrot account to help you squeeze out more gains on your websites… including our “Campaign Tracker” and more robust lead manager that are next on our development timeline.
The Carrot community holds more top rankings than any other website platform for investors, but we want to build out a full “front to back” inbound online marketing tool to help you identify good keywords to target, track the ranking of those keywords, tracking your competitors, and more.
Often times the “unsexy” part of why our customers succeed is our support structure. Our team here at Carrot, Mastermind calls, and trainings. So we’re investing even more into that team this summer and into new services and trainings that we’ll make available only to Carrot members.
In the end, if you LOVE Carrot now, you’re going to really love it each and every month as our product vision unfolds.
Hit me with your thoughts on some of these features below in the comments section and go out there and crush it with these new features!
As a Real Estate Professional, Your Business Lives And Dies By Two Things
Number one, your ability to generate leads. Number two, your ability to close deals.
And one way to increase the amount of online leads you get is to…
… do a lot of testing and make your website convert more visitors into qualified leads.
How a small increase in performance can put tens of thousands in “found” profits in your pocket.
An increase in “conversion rate” on a real estate investing website from 5% to 8% means an extra 3 leads per 100 visitors. If you get 100 qualified visitors per month to your site… that’s an extra 36 motivated seller leads per year (3 x 12). If you close on average a deal per every 15 qualified seller leads and net on average $10k per deal… that’s an extra 2 deals and $20k in profits per year.
Just by doing some testing and improving the performance of your website.
Pretty cool eh? That’s assuming NO extra traffic. Free money.
We spend so much time split testing and optimizing our pages here at Carrot because we know so many people go to the web first to get information about buying or selling their house.
A New Page Design We Tested That Yielded Up To 38.54% More Leads (FREE template below)…
This post is going to go into a lot of the methodology and “backstory” on how to create a real estate investing or agent page that performs at a high rate. One that converts more visitors into leads than your current website may (for sure your competitors) and one that squeezes out an extra margin of leads and deals without you increasing your traffic (assuming you are getting solid traffic right now).
Below we’ll actually give you the “Stacked Hero” landing page and if you’re not a Carrot member you can even download the raw HTML files to upload and use yourself online. If you are an InvestorCarrot member, great! As of our last update you now have this design available to launch NEW websites with in your InvestorCarrot account in under 10 seconds with no tech hassle. We like to make your life easy 🙂
To do that, I’ll share how our “Stacked Hero” design converted 38.54% more real estate leads than our best performing previous design. Even better — after guiding you through a handful of optimization principles — I’ll share how you can implement the very same template in your own business.
Let’s dive into the story of why this page design performs so well and the marketing principles that cause most real estate investor websites to perform so bad.
And if you’re NOT yet a Carrot member, download the HTML files of this landing page at the bottom of this page for FREE. Carrot members, this design is now in your account and you can launch a new site with it in under 10 seconds.
Real Estate Lead Generation Today: Thou Shall Test … or Die
This means we’re constantly testing and improving elements on our client’s websites to improve their results.
For the last year we’ve had a mission: to create a lead generating page that could beat our highest performing control.
This meant running tests across a select number of current InvestorCarrot websites throughout the country; ones that were getting a good amount of traffic and already converting leads. In fact, we ran 7 months worth of tests and dozens of page variations to tens of thousands of motivated house sellers and buyers.
This sort of real-world optimization gives us both a baseline to work from as well as data-driven insights most real estate agents simply can’t generate on their own.
Our testing software informs us when we have a clear winning test variation. You can see below what one of those looks like:
Our testing software lets us know when we have a winning test variation
Before jumping into the details of our tests themselves, let’s start with some of the guiding principles of online lead generation.
Online Real Estate Lead Generation Principles
To keep things as clear as possible, three principles are essential to your online lead generation: (1) your goal, (2) your content, and (3) your form.
1. Your Goal
By far, the biggest mistake you can make on a lead generating page — regardless of the industry — is complication.
Simplicity isn’t just essential to online lead generation. It should be the cornerstone of all your marketing, period.
Because as Harvard Business Review reports — after reviewing data from “multiple surveys of more than 7,000 consumers” as well as “interviews with hundreds of marketing executives and other experts around the world”:
The single biggest driver of stickiness [that is, a lead or customer’s likelihood to follow through on an intended purchase, buy the product repeatedly, and recommend it to others] was “decision simplicity.”
What consumers want from marketers is, simply, simplicity.
The first step to simplicity is knowing exactly what you want to achieve for each and every piece of customer-facing content you create.
Whether you’re working on a home page, landing page, email campaign, pay-per-click advertising, or even just a physical mailer … you have to begin and end with “a single, all-consuming question: ‘What is your goal … the one, smallest, easiest thing you want your reader to do?’”
As KlientBoost recently put it in their Landing Page Optimization Guide: Find Heaven By Saving Your Visitors From Hell:
Start with your ultimate goal and then … work backwards.
In other words, to increase conversions, your pages need to be ruthlessly free of clutter. Anything that doesn’t move a visitor closer to the one action you want them to take … must be eliminated.
Don’t feel [like] you have to fill all the empty or “white” space on your site with extra icons, or images. Avoid fancy animations and drop down menus. These are more likely to distract users from your content, rather than attracting them to it. Keep the look clean and uncluttered.
This warning comes with good reason.
For example, take a look at the following home page for Fisher Nicholson Realty. Notice that there are no less than 22 possible actions a visitor can take (and that doesn’t even include the dropdown menus that appear if you hover over the navigational bar nor the additional 19 options in the footer):
Way Too Much Distraction And Choices At The Top Of This Site
All told, there are a whopping 68 links, buttons, navigational options, and calls-to-action on that one page alone.
Compare that quagmire with our own homepage. Excluding the header and footer, only four clickable buttons exist:
Even better, three of those four buttons send visitors directly to our Pricing and Plans page.
If you’re designing a landing page … things need to be even simpler.
The golden rule is just one call to action.
That doesn’t mean you can only have one button, but it does mean every button you have should guide visitors toward the same, singular something.
Going back to our first bad example — Fisher Nicholson Realty — clicking through to the “Buyers/Sellers” page you find this:
While the page opens with a call to action — “Buying or Selling? Please make Fisher Nicholson ‘The Home Team’ your Real Estate Company of Choice.” — the only clickable links are to non-related sites, property comparisons, search options, or featured properties.
Tragically, even if a visitor wanted to give them their contact information to “make” Fisher Nicholson their “Real Estate Company of Choice,” there’s literally no place to submit their contact information on the page itself.
Visitors can only take one of two actions: either “Show Me The Deals!” or to call you on the phone.
Technically speaking, the website design we used for our Hero Stacked test is not a landing page; it’s a home page that plays the best of both worlds…
… landing page but engages those not quite ready to convert with great content and credibility. This “mini-site” format actually turns into more leads than squeeze pages according to our vast testing over the years.
But the focus is still on getting email signups for lead generation. So while landing pages should eliminate all distractions, a home page will still need to have navigational links and other clickable areas and all focus on ONE CORE call to action.
However, the same principle applies: the above-the-fold area of any home page should be uncluttered, simplified, and targeted.
Does The Main Call To Action Jump Out Or Do You Have To Hunt For It?
The most notorious place for clutter is the home page. Given the diversity of audience your home page gets, the desire to give them plenty of “what if” options is natural.
Resist that temptation.
In test after test after test, the principle of simplicity — that less truly is more — has proved itself.
2. Your Content
Naturally, given how central simplicity is to your real estate lead generation process, all the content on a page should exist to support the one goal you want your visitor to take: to sign up.
This means placing the most important information — especially your page’s copy — at the top of the page in the hero section. When a visitor lands on your website, you’ve only got a matter of seconds to capture their attention.
If you make it too difficult for your visitor to figure out how you can help them, there are plenty other websites who will be easy to understand … and compelling.
A compelling headline must hit your visitor above all with value.
You may not be able to see it properly, but the example above is a website about weight loss. Unfortunately, all the images are useless because they don’t support the page’s goal. After all, what’s the point of a car photo on a weight loss website?
On a homepage or landing page, the chief piece of visual content is called a “hero image.”
Adding an oversized “hero” image is incredibly popular. This stems from a hero image’s ability to add appeal, relevance, and what we might even call “sexiness” to a page.
The right hero image can also have a massive impact on overall conversions.
Have a look at this test from French snowboarding ecommerce site Salomon:
The original design on this landing page does not include an oversized hero image
Crazyegg reports that the version with the oversized hero image, as well as a few other tweaks, increased sales from French shoppers by 39.8% and sales by global shoppers by 29.7%, both at a 99.9% confidence rate.
If you add an oversized hero image, bear these four points in mind:
Make sure the photo is responsive so that it behaves when the page is viewed with mobile devices.
Avoid stock photos which can put people off and can lose credibility on your site. Use “real” people or high-quality original product image.
Keeping the form short ‘n sweet also makes it easier for mobile users to complete it, and this is important because there are now more mobile than desktop users on the Internet.
Not to kick Fisher Nicholson Realty while they’re down, but here’s what their contact form looks like on desktop:
Too Many Form Fields Reduces Performance In A Big Way…
There are a total of 19 forms fields … only four of which are required.
On mobile, the form itself is virtually illegible:
Even more detrimental, there is absolutely zero incentive for a visitor to submit their contact information.
The “Send Request” button promises no pay offs, offers no benefits, and it isn’t even an enticingly worded action. Afterall, who wakes up in the morning thinking to themselves, “Gosh, I can’t wait to ‘send a request’ today”?
Be sure not to neglect this part of your form: “What will the visitor get?”
Inman provides a host of ideas for creating compelling and click-worthy real-estate lead magnets: “a lead magnet is an irresistible bribe offering a particular chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information.” The list includes:
Home sellers’ guides.
Neighborhood market reports. New listing email registrations.
Property comparative market analyses.
“How-to” e-books or videos — how to stage a home, how to increase curb appeal, how to buy foreclosures, and so on.
Reports — neighborhood, school, crime and more.
Lists — bank-owned properties, short-sale homes, 203(k)-eligible properties, etc.
Real estate-related e-books or videos — landscaping, remodeling, investment opportunities, flipping a house, and so on.
Making forms convert is a complex business, because what works for one site may not work for another. The truth is that you have to keep testing and checking the data to see what’s working for your target audience or not.
To drive this home, Michael Aagaard presents two seemingly contradictory button-copy tests on Content Verve. In the first, adding “Get the Best Daily Tips” increased conversions by 31.54%. In the second, adding “Start Making Better Deals” decreased conversion by 12.45%:
49% More Leads Because Of The Words On Your Buttons…
Knowing this is precisely why we test so relentlessly at InvestorCarrot.
Lastly, when it comes to your forms … does size matter?
Large forms get more signups, maybe because they’re so “in-your-face.” Our own tests have shown that having a large form in the middle of the page that contrasts the surrounding elements can help improve conversions substantially.
What you really want is a proven template you can use to get more online leads.
Here’s exactly how we built one that does just that.
Test 1: Three Columns (this test failed)
We started with our high-performing lead-generation page, which already included a number of optimization wins we’d learned from previous tests.
For instance, one the rules we’ve proved to our clients over and over again is that changing the words on the call to action button from a “descriptor” (“Click to Continue” or “Submit”) to a “mental commitment” increase conversions. Here’s just one example:
The Variation on the right — “Get My Fair Cash Offer” — showed an improvement in 49.5% at a 12.55% conversion rate compared to the first — “Click Here to Continue.”
To put a bit of context around that, out of every 100 visitors who land on your website, using the “mental commitment” language would produce 12.5 leads rather than 8.3.
That might not sound like a huge deal. But even if your site only gets 1,000 visitors a month, that translates into 40 additional motivated seller leads.
Even if you close 1 out of every 20 leads (which is a low percentage for many of our customers) and only net on average $7.5k (which, again, is much lower than many of our customers average):
That’s $15,000 in extra revenue every month all without having to generate any additional traffic to your website.
Still, we knew we could do better.
So, we took that page as our control and began by testing a three-column layout with no sidebar to limit the amount of links on a page. The idea was to make it simpler for a user to consume the page’s information:
Version 1 Of This Test – 3 Column Layout
Unfortunately, our first test was not a success.
The results were less than spectacular, but we learned a lot
It actually reduced the performance on the page.
As a result, we decided to get more intentional and focus on the main element a user sees when they first land on a home page: the hero section.
Test 2: The Stacked Hero (this test was a huge success)
Our first priority was to zero in on the page’s goal.
As you can see, the information in the last column on the right is unnecessary. It’s about the real estate agency themselves and adds no value to the visitor. Instead of moving them closer to signing up, it only distracts:
The 3rd column on the right is not necessary in this all important above-the-fold section
This time we predicted — i.e., our hypothesis was — that adding better imagery and a larger form focus the core message of the page.
The second test, then, was all about improving the conversion rate of the site’s home page hero section. This section is incredibly important because a lot of traffic passes through this page, and this is the first thing a lead sees.
Not only that, but research proves that the attention span of people has become so short that your website has a few seconds to grab attention before the visitor clicks away.
The following test page ran for a month across 15 InvestorCarrot websites and received over 1,600 visitors:
Version 2 – The “Stacked Hero” (38% more leads)
Pay special attention to the differences between the two pages:
In addition, by center aligning every element, having a dark background to create contrast between both the text and the button, and filling up a good portion of the screen with the hero, visitors automatically see what’s most important to complete the call to action.
The heat map below, which measure users mouses and eye-movement, validated this belief. Notice that the majority of user engagement is happening on the headline and form fields … exactly where you want their focus to be:
This heat map shows where a user is focused when they are looking at the hero section
In other words, the hero test incorporated nearly all of the principles we covered above.
And the results?
A good representation of how the test performed individually can be seen from this specific test from a member in the Alabama market.
The Test Results Speak For Themselves…
This graph represents a stacked hero test (for motivated seller leads) where the control and variation were close … until the end.
The cumulative total was what really knocked our socks off:
A 38.54% increase in online real estate lead generation across the board.
If you’re in the real estate sector, we at InvestorCarrot have a simple way of increasing your real estate leads; we’ve already done the testing for you by creating website templates like the one used in this test study.
And you can have it for free.
Carrot Members: You can dive into your account and launch a new website… then dive into the “Design” tab for the site and select the “Juniper” design to put this design to work for your business. But, you may be asking… “Is this design higher performing than the original Carrot design?” The answer is… in some cases it boosted performance up to 38.54%, in a few it decreased performance a tad, in several it was a wash. It did provide a performance boost in most of the 20 or so sites we tested it on but on some it didn’t… so our advice is if you have a Carrot site up already that is pulling leads consistently to keep it how it is. Our original design is still our most consistent design. This new one just adds another option to get a different look while still retaining GREAT performance.
Non-Carrot Members: If you know HTML and have some time and want to hack through some setup stuff… we’ve included the raw HTML files of this landing page template below for FREE! Just click teh link below to download this template at no cost. You’ll need your own hosting, some programming knowledge to hook up a form, and to write your own content on the page. Or you can skip all of that and join InvestorCarrot and launch this design along with all of the other benefits Carrot customers enjoy within seconds.
Trevor is the CEO of InvestorCarrot and knows a thing or two about inbound marketing and generating leads online in the real estate industry. As an investor himself, he’s generated tens of thousands of real estate leads and is a leading expert in inbound marketing for investors and agents. In addition, his true passion is helping entrepreneurs grow businesses that truly help you live a life of purpose.
As a Real Estate Professional, Your Business Lives And Dies By Two Things
Don’t you wish you could listen in while a 6 figure per month wholesaler talks to a motivated seller? Many real estate wholesalers focus so much on “getting the lead” that they forget that a huge leverage point in closing more deals is the first 3 minutes on the phone with a motivated seller.
But first, Bryan wanted to stress the importance of perhaps the single most important (yet simple) thing that most investors just flat fail at that is costing them deal after deal without them even knowing it.
Did You Know, You’re…
Talking with Bryan and several other real estate wholesalers and flippers who do $100k/mo in different markets around the country they always say they’re amazed at how few of their “competitors” call back the leads they get quickly.
‘It’s like taking all of that money you spend on marketing and setting it on fire.”
The bottom line There is a lot of competition, so call back your leads as soon as you get them in.
There’s no such thing as too fast. Online leads can be a very impatient bunch. Competition can be Fierce. Leadshave many other investors to contact, so they expect a very fast response to their inquiries. Ideally, you will respond to the with a phone call within a few minutes. Always be prepared to respond. Have your questions ready to go.
You can be the best negotiator in the world… but if you’re not following Bryan’s advice above on calling back your web leads immediately… you’re competition could be grabbing deals out from under you before you even get the chance to call the seller.
Quick Tip: Have your web leads instantly sent to your phone with a text message!
This feature alone could possibly save you from losing a deal or more every year and pay for your Carrot membership for years and years and years.
Not A Carrot Member Yet? Take a demo to see why the top investors are all switching to Carrot!
6 Simple High-Impact Questions to Ask Motivated House Seller Leads When You Call
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So, you got a lead that came in over the web, GREAT! You already know that you NEED to call them back immediately and that every minute that passes your chances at turning it into a deal go down.
Now, let’s dive into what Bryan Harris, a 6 figure per month wholesaler in Memphis says on the phone when he talks with motivated house sellers.
Now let’s turn it over to Bryan!
Brendan: Bryan, it’s all you man!
Bryan: Awesome, I’ll just go ahead and dive in!
Ok, so when I call back a motivated house seller I like to start the phone call very much like i’d start a call with a friend of mine. You don’t want to go straight to the numbers and the deal.
I’ll dive into my basic structure for talking to motivated sellers in this post. I’m not really going to give a “motivated seller phone script” mainly because I feel that when you use scripts things don’t come off as authentic and real.
So I’d be doing a dis-service to you if I told you to “grab my script and just use this”.
The first thing I ask house sellers when I reach them on the phone is…
Question #1: “How are you today?”
I know you’re probably thinking, “Really? That’s one of the 6 questions?”. But it’s an important one. I ask this because I’ve found that people don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.
This question is about the RAPPORT building, that is a must when talking to sellers.
You have to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of people doing exactly what you do, WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM THE REST OF THE OTHER PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BUY THEIR HOUSE?
People tend to do business with people that they like and a simple THOUGHT FELT QUESTION like “How is your day?” can separate you from the pack.
One particular deal that comes to mind is the one that we recently obtained.
A $170,000 property for $22,000 here in Memphis. (can we get a picture?)
That’s not a typo.
The seller told me she was bombarded by wholesalers. I asked her what stood out about me and our company and she said, she was about to lose her house to foreclosure and it seemed like I was the one who “cared” the most.
Needless to say. $120,000 profit later CARING IS SHARING…lol.
Question #2: “What’s your reason for selling?”
Knowing the motivation of your sellers is of course a big deal.
I ask this question to determine the motivation. If the motivation isn’t there, when you present your low offer, you have no purpose to reference.
Motivation factor: The dire need for money to pay for college tuition that cost $5500 this semester.
As an example a conversation may go something like this:
Mr. Seller, I know you were asking for $29,000 and you may have others that have promised you more, but I can have $7,500 cash in your hand in 7 days and with that cash you can PAY FOR YOUR TUITION AND have $2,000 left for spending money
And school starts in 3 weeks. I can close by mid next week so that you can MEET YOUR REGISTRATION DEADLINE.
Too many investors discount the value they bring to the table with sellers and buyers and talk themselves out of a great deal. Find the true motivation and biggest pain point that the house seller has, and help them reach that goal as easily as possible. It could be a huge win-win for everyone.
Finding the motivation allows you to take their minds off the low offer you have presented, and focus on being the SOLUTION to their problem.
Question #3: “What is your Name, number and email?”
Did you notice this isn’t the first thing I asked for on the call?
A lot of people dive right in and ask for the contact info but what I’ve found is people can see it as threatening and putting the cart before the horse a bit. By this time I of course already have their phone number, but I’ll also confirm if this is their BEST phone number.
The importance of this information is because the FORTUNE IS IN THE FOLLOW UP.
TIP: EVERY SELLER NO MATTER WHAT GETS AN EMAILED CONTRACT OFFER FROM ME. EVERY SINGLE SELLER, EVEN IF THEY REJECTED MY OFFER.
And for the next year they will receive an automated email and text from me monthly.
Most people do business with you on the 5th thru the 12th contact. So by you following up with leads, you OUT PERFORM 98% of your competition.
Use automated systems such as AWeber or MailChimp for drip systems or do follow up emails for later dates. Or, Callfire for text deliveries. Find a way to automate your follow up and your life will be much easier.
InvestorCarrot integrates with Aweber and Mailchimp directly and makes it easy to get my leads into Callfire too.
Question #4: “Are you the decision maker?”
This is a really important question.
The last thing you want is to get down to it and the person you’re talking too can’t really make the decision on selling their house alone.
I like to always double check to make sure there isn’t anyone else on the title that need to sign in order to sell the property. If there are, find a time to discuss their options with all of the decision makers present.
This helps you avoid the “let me talk it over with my (fill in the blank)”
Knowing if you are speaking with the decision maker is very important information needed upfront.
Question #5: “Are there any mortgages, back taxes, liens etc.?”
In addition to just the obvious reasons, this keeps down surprises… this question is a really great one to continue to build rapport.
You may have made an offer based on the house being free and clear and not knowing there was a mortgage attached, you get to closing table and find out there is an outstanding lien and the seller says, you didn’t ask that question.
Always find out all of the details on the house so you don’t have any last minute surprises when it comes time to close on the property.
You’ll thank me later for this one.
Question #6: “How did you hear about us?”
This question is so so simple, but very powerful.
How many sellers have you asked this question to recently?
Not only does this question help them dig through their brain bank to remember what stood out about us… which helps validate their original decision to reach out to us… but this helps me spend my marketing dollars where I am getting the most bang for my bucks.
Knowing where my leads come from is crucial information for any business.
The vast majority of my deals come from my InvestorCarrot websites and PPC marketing
If this question is not asked, you will need review your business weekly. The majority of your leads may be coming from one specific source and the only way to effectively know is to ask this question.
Now Get Busy + What Do You Ask Sellers When You Call Them?
First, if you have some other things you talk to motivated house sellers about when you’re on the phone with them… let us know in the questions panel below!
Bryan! Thanks for dropping in here and passing along some simple but awesome advice for the newer real estate wholesalers and flippers out there looking for a script and questions to ask for motivated house sellers! We appreciate it and look forward to bringing you back and diving into even more advanced stuff next time!
But for some inspiration, here is a Facebook post that Bryan recently posted that should get you fired up to achieve at a high level and to focus on what you do best and align with the people and systems that can help you succeed.
So, given today’s challenging real estate market, you want to treat lead inquiries like diamonds.
Dig out any hidden details about the property / mortgage before they bite you
Find out how they found you
I’m sure there are many more questions you could ask, but these 6 should get you started.
Download This Simple “6 Seller Questions” Checklist For Your Next Call
[Free Download] 6 Initial Questions to Ask Motivated Seller Leads Checklist. Keep it near you for an easy reminder of the initial questions to ask.
Need More Online Leads For Your Wholesaling / House Flipping Business?
Generate More Real Estate Investing Leads And Cut Through The Marketing Clutter In Your Market. Download out FREE Marketing Toolkit: Get Access To This Content Marketing Toolkit + Training For Real Estate Investors here!
And take a Demo of InvestorCarrot today to leverage the same system that Bryan uses to generate his online leads and deals each and every month.
Brendan Holmes is a PPC and SEO junkie who loves experimenting with various Internet marketing techniques. He is a Google Partners & Bing Ads certified professional with experience in internet lead generation, advertising sales, and revenue growth.
Conversation Marketing For Real Estate Investors – A Unique Take on Content Marketing
https://oncarrot.com/demo – In this video Jack Morris, CEO of The Morris Property Group in florida talks about his experience leveraging InvestorCarrot to help him get in front of highly motivated house sellers in his market more often through SEO. Jack now closes 4-5 deals a month with local house sellers and does it all through SEO and his InvestorCarrot system.
If you want to learn more about SEO for real estate investors and agents head over to our blog at https://oncarrot.com/blog and dive into our free resources
Companies are mining data to predict what I’ll do and when. As I’m sure you’ve heard, “Big Data” is kind of a thing.
Yet we haven’t seen much of this sort of data mining and predictive analysis happen in real estate. But we should, and soon.
In an industry where the majority of consumers only participate once every 5-10 years, and brokerage brand loyalty is weak, knowing things about a consumer’s life trajectory is more than just handy information. It could be lifeblood.
Imagine you know when your past clients are ready to sell or refinance. You know when their kids will be buying their first homes. When they may look to downsize or buy a little pied-a-terre. When they’ll be struck by the vacation home bug.
Imagine you know just the right moment to send them an informational email about relocating to another state. Or when to hit them up with enticing photos of bigger homes in their area because they’re expecting another child.
Creepy? Maybe. But indeed powerful.
After all, great marketing is just as much about timing as it is about content.
This may sound like idealistic dream talk, but this very sort of predictive targeting is already happening. Look at Facebook’s announcement this year that they would begin enabling advertisers to target consumers on their platform based on those consumers’ offline shopping behavior.
One company that we know of, SmartZip, is trying to analyze and predict consumer behavior for real estate. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
For a real estate company, leveraging predictive analytics in this sort of way requires a long-term strategy. We’re talking years here, which sounds painful. But hear me out.
You’re probably already collecting a fair amount of data from your website – email at the very least, and search habits for the more advanced. You may even be using drip campaigns right now to try to keep a connection going with past clients and prospects.
But do those drip campaigns really work? In most cases, no. (Think back to the “turn your clocks back” message I brought up in my last post.)
You have to take your data collection and mining practices to the next level. Establish connections between business units (brokerage, mortgage, title, warranty) track that data, and map it to email campaigns that take place over several years.
One simple way to start would be to create an exit survey for all your clients (yes, if you’re a broker this is tough; if you’re an agent it’s a no-brainer) that captures some basic information about their potential future home-buying plans. Instead of pounding them with weekly emails about the market right after they bought their house, save it for when they’ll be more apt to pay attention to it.
Put all your recent buyers on a 1-year new homeowner campaign that speaks to them as if they’ve just bought a house (because they did!). Send them things about homestead exemptions, taxes, home warranties, refinancing, home improvement. Don’t send them new listings or “It’s a great time to buy” messages – they just bought a house, remember.
Another way to tackle would be to really use your local knowledge to make some predictions.
For example, where I live in Oakland, it’s common for people to move because of their children’s school choices. People often will move into a neighborhood that has a good elementary school, but you can expect they will be looking to move again when their child hits middle school age.
Your customer data is just as valuable as your listings data. Maybe even more so, if you can crack the code on how to match it to marketing messages and timing.
Behavioral data is already pushing other industries forward. Spray-and-pray no longer works in advertising or marketing. Now, it’s all about targeting and context. And the only way to do that effectively is to know more about the people you’re talking to.
This is the type of data that is pushing other industries forward. Are you game?
Real Estate Professionals - Get More Seller, Buyer & Tenant Leads - Close More Deals