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Email Marketing To Realtors


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  #1  
Old 06-09-2009, 09:42 AM
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A realtor friend called yesterday and asked if I'd mow a vacant yard for him that's a vacant, pending short sale. I stopped by and took care of it for him (He's one of my best friends so there was no need to talk money or anything). Anyway, aftrwards he said he'd put a $500 lawn fee in the HUD at closing. This got me thinking (of course). Anyway, he emailed me a list of distressed, vacant, or forclosed homes in the area and I'm in the process of emailing them all (200 or so!) The problem is that there's no guarantee of getting paid. The house has to sell first. My friend said that in todays market, short sales, forclosures, etc are very likely to sell in a 6 month listing period. In this area most lots are in the 7500 square foot range and lot size is listed in the mls, but I thought I'd be better off setting a flat $100/ yard/ month rather than visit 200 properties. From the realtors perspective, the home looks nicer and can sell faster, they know my price up front, and they don't have to pay me while they're waiting for it to sell. Actually, the bank would end up paying it so its really no cost at all to them. Here's a copy of the email I'm sending. Any feedback would be great. I'm kinda nervous about it, as it could be risky and it goes against the whole "never give a quote without seeing the property" thing. Most RE contracts are 6 months and after the sale, I'd have an "in" to mow for the new owners. I'll let you know what kind of replies I get, but it seems like a RE agent would have a hard time saying no to this!
" Hi, my name is Andy Jones of Andy Jones Lawn Care, and I was hoping to help you out with your property at 3153 Lockwood Lake. I have an offer that's a little bit different that I think you'll like. I'm currently helping realtors that are selling distressed properties, short sales, forclosures, vacant, etc. Here's the part you'll like. I'll keep the property looking great for you to show, as well as making vacant properties appear "lived in" from the curb preventing theft or vandalism. My fees are a flat $100/ month to be paid AT CLOSING, so there is no money out of your pocket. I don't get paid until you do! My fees could be added to the HUD at closing, and if the property doesn't sell, I don't get paid. Together, we get your home sold faster, and you don't risk spending more time and money into a home that may not sell. I live in sarasota and would love to be able to help you, and I thought that by putting off my paycheck until closing, it would be more helpful to you and you'd know I'd have an added interest in making your property look beautiful. Let me know if I can help. Thanks, Andy ajones1217@live.com"
Well, am I out of my mind?
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2009, 12:46 PM
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Andy,

I can understand the logic behind a 1 price fits all email however. Any of these properties could be absolute disasters. You never know whats gonna be in those tall lawns. Garbage, debris etc etc.

How many mows are you expecting to do per month for $100? What size yard range?

How long do you feel each mow would take?

What if you show up and the grass is 3ft tall? How long would that take?
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Andy,

I can understand the logic behind a 1 price fits all email however. Any of these properties could be absolute disasters. You never know whats gonna be in those tall lawns. Garbage, debris etc etc.
These properties are already listed on mls so I'm assuming the major cleaning up has already been done, its just that no one wants to keep up with it when its vacant.

How many mows are you expecting to do per month for $100? What size yard range?
I was planning on 2-3. Normally, my "pay per cut" yards are being mowed every ten days or so right now. In a week my clients feel like I'm just taking their money and every other week they're wondering why I let it get so high. Soon it should be every week though with the rains coming consistently. Anyway, to that point, I sent 40 emails this morning and so far I recieved 2 replies stating that they don't think the bank would pay for $100/month and were asking about per mow rates. Here's an example: "I appreciate your email. For this particular property, i don't think the bank will want to mow weekly and I actually don't think it needs it. But, what would you charge per visit to that property? Thanks, janis" At least I'm getting feedback right? She seemed to assume a weekly mow even though I never mentioned frequency in my email to her.

How long do you feel each mow would take?
On the MLS entries that my buddy sent me, it gives the lots square footage, 100% are from 6000 to 12000 with 7500 being average. Throw on a 2000ft home with a garage, deck, driveway, etc and the lawns are pretty small. 20 minutes by myself, max?

What if you show up and the grass is 3ft tall? How long would that take?
This is actually what I'm expecting unfortunately (well, maybe 2ft anyway). My mower does pretty well in the tall stuff but most of my time is wasted edging driveways with 18" of overgrown grass on it with dirt 4" deep at the edges. Yuck! Luckily, its only the first mow that's going to be hard labor. My biggest concern is that a 6 month listing will go by and expire without a sale and I get nothing. I'm trying to put myself in a realtor's mindset, since I used to have my RE license. You did all that marketing, paperwork, driving around, open houses, and then you could get absolutely nothing out of it! My buddy assured me that at least 90% of short sales are selling in 6 months, and he's going to get me the exact figure for sarasota. Its really an all around risk. Small gates to the backyard mean pushmowing, big drainage ditches, etc. Average rates around here are $80ish monthly year 'round but I thought considering my risk and the fact the bank is paying, I could push it a little. I'll keep you guys updated. If nothing else, I may get a few good old fashion accounts from it, which is always a good thing. BTW, here's the reply I sent "Janis". I'm hesitant about putting it up here because I know I'm making all kinds of rookie mistakes but here goes. Oh, I got to see this property today. Its nearby, small, and not overgrown. Very easy!

"I decided to make it an even $100/ month for all my bank owned properties that I don't get paid for until closing to help cover expenses for the homes that don't sell and I end up mowing for free. I could mow/trim/edge the property for $30 and go every other week until it sells if you'd like to do it that way. Let me know and I can be there as early as tomorrow if you need it. Whatever you need, I'll make it happen Would you recommend I offer bi-weekly service instead of just weekly to other realtors as well? Maybe every week is a bit much for vacant homes? I'd appreciate your opinion. Thanks! Andy"
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:12 PM
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Well right now you are experimenting with this and maybe it will work for you maybe it wont. Have you seen the other posts on other services you could offer like the organic fert packages? Others seem to be doing well with them.

Maybe that is another direction you could investigate?
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:35 PM
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Just got another reply from Jane (I figured I'd change her name...woops). She could really give me great realtor insight and may help me fine tune everything and figure out what my roadblocks will be. "Hey Andy,

Definitely. The banks wonít go for a weekly mowing if we can get by with less. Remember they are already losing a ton of money. I just think you should keep your options as open as possible to get more business. (Bi monthly is what you mean!)

Iíll contact the bank and let you know.

Thanks!

Jane"
The lesson here is that you can sit around wondering how things work, or just do it and figure it out as you go. I asked a few questions and she's kind enough to help me out!
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:03 PM
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Keep us posted! Also will you be offering them other services to help clean up or fix up those homes?
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Old 06-10-2009, 04:21 PM
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C'mon steve, you know me better than that! I'll clean the trash cans with clorox if they'll pay me! I sent 60ish emails so far and here are the replies so far, in addition to the one I already posted. Nothing promising, but hey, at least people will know I'm out here!
"I will keep this in mind" Hopefully she really will!
"I have forwarded your email to the attorney who is handling the property for the estate." At least its going in the right hands?
"My sellerís name is ****. I forwarded your email. Let me know if you hear from him, OK? Just copy me the email. I hope he calls. How bad is the property? I just returned from vacation and will have to drive over to see it. I heard the pool is bad too." Maybe I can rescreen a pool cage?
Then my buddy CC'ed me this one that he sent a realtor friend of his.
"I heard one of your listings may need the grass mowed... If so I CC; ajones1217@live.com Andrew Jones Lawn Care... He is the only one that I found that will except payment at closing or on the HUD. $100 a month for a 1200sqft lot or less... Large Acres need to be quoted out." This friend is definately staying on my xmas card list!
No work yet, but its only been 2 days and no cost, so I'm staying positive. Lots more to email tonight in front of the tv after kids go to bed! If nothing else, maybe realtors will start remembering me and refering me to each other. I need to come up with a follow up, or maybe a personal reply to everyone would be better so it doesn't come across as a mass spam effort and they'll see me as someone on their side thats willing to work with them. I'll get a couple accounts through this, I promise. I've lost 5 accounts in the last couple months. 2 bartenders that aren't making as much and are mowing themselves, 1 girl moved in with her ex, 1 single mom was broke and her dad bought her a mower and said "get pushin'!" and one landlord said he couldn't afford it anymore and the tenants are mowing themselves. I didn't lose any to other businesses, which I guess is good, otherwise I'd be taking it harder. If someone can't pay rent I suppose they should be mowing themselves. Higher end neighborhoods would probably not have this issue but I like the average homes because everyone's happy with my work and they aren't out there inspecting to see if my trimmer rubbed a mark in the base of a palm tree. I just have to pick up more toys and trim under more boat trailers!
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Old 06-10-2009, 05:40 PM
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You are making things happen. Good for you! I am sure more positive things will be coming your way.
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Old 06-11-2009, 01:11 AM
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Drum roll please... Latest reply:
"I like your offer, Property at 6736 **** Dr. Sarasota, Fl 34241 is a short sale and needs mowing, would you do Lake Sarasota? If so go right ahead and cut.
Jim *****, Realtor Broker"
Next step, some kind of contract so I get paid? Kinda weird, now I have a yard to mow but I'm not sure how the details will work out. Once I figure this all out hopefully we (you!) can fine tune it, eliminate some of the issues, and duplicate. Definately venturing into the unknown here. He also left his number so I'll work out the details tomorrow. This is exciting, and I didn't spend a dime! If this actually works out, I'll ask my realtor buddy how he got the lists of short sale properties and specifics for you guys. Why do I feel like a guinea pig?

Last edited by andyjoneslawncare; 06-11-2009 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 06-11-2009, 02:00 AM
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I forgot to add something that may be important in getting success from emailing realtors. In the "subject" line, I just put the address of the property. This way, they have to read it because I could be someone interested in buying it! If I put "lawn care", it would just look like yet another business sending spam to delete.
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