How to Market to Absentee Owners

How to Market to Absentee Owners

In this article:

An absentee owner is legally defined as an individual or entity that owns a property without actively occupying or managing it. These owners might own various forms of real estate such as vacation homes, rental properties, or commercial buildings, but they choose to be hands-off, entrusting management duties to third parties or property management firms.

Marketing to absentee owners holds significant importance in the real estate industry due to the unique opportunities they present.

Types of absentee owners

Identifying and understanding the different types of absentee owners can greatly improve your marketing efficiency and tailor your approach to meet specific needs. Here are three common categories:

Absentee owners of a vacation home

Vacation homes often represent a secondary residence where owners do not live permanently, sometimes leading to periods of vacancy throughout the year. Market dynamics can cause these homeowners to rethink the financial burden of their second homes, especially during economic downturns or personal budgetary reconsolidation. These owners might see value in renting out their vacation homes, selling them, or engaging property management services, presenting a window of opportunity for real estate professionals to step in.

Single-family rental property owners

Owners of single-family rental properties may reside at a different location than their investment and are prime candidates for targeted marketing efforts. These owners might experience “landlord fatigue,” dealing with the three T’s—tenants, toilets, and trash—or could be enticed to sell due to equity gains or a desire to invest elsewhere. Real estate professionals can offer these owners an array of services such as property management or assistance in selling the property.

Absentee owners of a property in probate

An absentee owner situation can become further complex when a property is in probate. Inherited properties are frequently managed by individuals who may not be local to the area and are unfamiliar with real estate management. They may face challenges such as family disputes and title issues; however, these properties can be hidden gems for those willing to navigate the complexities of such deals. Sometimes, these properties can also be under condemnation. Effective marketing to these owners often requires a nuanced approach that respects their unique circumstances and offers comprehensive solutions to their specific problems.

How to find absentee owner leads

Online real estate rental search on the computer. House home or apartment rental website online.

Locating leads for absentee owners is a crucial step for real estate professionals targeting this market segment. Here are proven methods for trying to unearth potential absentee owner contacts:

The county tax assessor’s office

The county tax assessor’s primary role is to appraise property values for tax purposes, not to calculate or collect taxes. This office can be a rich source of information, as it may offer online databases with the ability for one-off property searches. While some databases charge fees, they typically list properties with detailed owner information, including potential differences between mailing and property addresses which indicate absentee ownership.

Browse long-term rental listings

Inactive or long-term rental listings can signal absentee owners who may be struggling with tenant placement or property maintenance. Listings that linger for more than a month suggest a level of distress, indicating potential openness to selling or changing management. Web platforms such as Rentberry, Zillow, and provide databases of such rental properties.

Browse Airbnb and VRBO listings

Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO cater to a different kind of absentee owner. Listings with limited availability could point to a seldom-used vacation property. These platforms open avenues to connect with owners who may be considering re-entering the long-term rental market or selling the property entirely amid market shifts.

Driving for dollars

This hands-on approach involves physically scouting neighborhoods for indications of absentee ownership, such as neglected upkeep, and permanent for-sale or for-rent signs. It requires more groundwork but can yield high-quality leads missed by less diligent competitors.

Buy a list of absentee owners

Purchasing absentee owner lists from brokers or real estate data providers offers a shortcut to getting ample contacts quickly. However, the freshness and exclusivity of such lists can vary greatly, potentially affecting their value and the level of competition for the same leads.

By employing a mix of these tactics, real estate professionals can develop a rich pipeline of absentee owner leads to cultivate for investment, property management, or sales opportunities. Each method has its strengths, and combining several strategies can cover more ground and increase the chances of connecting with absentee owners.

Building a list of absentee owners

Marked checklist of absentee owners.

Should you buy an absentee owner list or build your own?

When acquiring a list of absentee owners, real estate professionals have the option to buy a pre-compiled list or build their own. Purchased lists can offer quick access to potential leads but may be outdated, reused extensively by competitors, and lack the specificity your business model requires. Conversely, building your own list can be time-intensive but allows for customization, ensuring the data is tailored and relevant to your business needs.

How to build your own dynamic list

Creating a dynamic absentee owner list involves setting specific criteria within a property information platform, such as PropertyRadar. By defining parameters like the property equity, ownership length, and owner’s residency status, professionals ensure that the list stays current and changes alongside the ever-evolving property and owner statuses. This approach allows for an agile marketing strategy, ready to adapt as new leads emerge or fall away.

How to customize your lists for investors, agents, and property managers

To create a list that resonates with your target audience—a must for investors, real estate agents, and property managers—it’s vital to segment and tailor the criteria. Investors might focus on properties bought with cash during a specific period, now ripe for selling due to owner fatigue. Conversely, agents and property managers may identify absentee owners outside of the county or state who need local services. Incorporating varied criteria such as geographic location, length of property ownership, or even the presence of a tax exemption can refine a list even further, creating specialized targets within the broader absentee owner group.

Direct mail

Direct mail has remained a steadfast marketing tool due to its tangible nature and the potential for personalization. With 41% of Americans looking forward to checking their mail daily, and 65% of millennials paying attention to direct mail advertising, it’s clear that this traditional approach has clout, particularly among a significant segment of home buyers. Sending postcards can place your message directly into homeowners’ hands and provide them with useful information, like market updates using visually appealing designs.

For instance, showcasing recently sold properties or offering a free comparative market analysis can provide value and promote your services simultaneously. This strategy leverages USPS findings that people devote around 30 minutes daily to reading their mail, thus considering direct mail that requires some engagement could enhance effectiveness.

Cold calling

Effective but time-intensive, cold calling involves reaching out directly by phone to property owners sourced from various lists or public records. With the right approach and conversation skills, cold calling can lead to fruitful discussions with owners who might consider selling or require property management services.

Cold email

Cast a wide net through emails with tailored content that transforms cold outreach into warm leads. Be sure to bypass spam filters. By recognizing which content triggers spam filters and applying best practices like using official business email addresses, agents can reach prospective clients effectively. Personalized content addressing the recipients’ real estate interests can transform cold outreach into warm leads.

Direct social media messages

Utilizing social media platforms enables direct engagement with absentee owners. A thoughtful message that acknowledges their potential needs as property owners can serve as an icebreaker. By refining targeting, agents can converse with property owners who have shown a propensity for re-engagement.

Online advertising

Custom audiences on platforms like Facebook and Google enable a targeted approach to outreach efforts. Retargeting reinforces brand visibility by presenting ads tailored to previous interactions the owners had with your real estate website.

How to beat your competitors

Woman on the phone at the office following up on leads.

Follow-up with prospects

Following up is not merely a single action but a series of coordinated efforts aimed at cultivating a trusting relationship. Real estate agents should take advantage of structured follow-up schedules, utilizing both traditional methods like phone calls and modern channels like email and text messages. A content-rich follow-up email after an initial meeting, which subtly reinforces the agent’s expertise and service offerings, can serve to re-engage the prospect and accentuate the agent’s value proposition.

Personal touches significantly enhance the follow-up strategy. From recognizing special occasions to sending customized property listings based on specific client preferences, personalization creates lasting impressions, fostering a relationship beyond a mere business transaction.

Use automation to reach out before your competitors

In the real estate industry, where time is of the essence, agents must employ strategies that not only allow rapid response but also anticipate client needs. Automation is a formidable ally in this pursuit, enabling agents to initiate contact and nurture leads more efficiently.

Agents who embrace automation technologies such as Keap’s automation and CRM platform can revolutionize their follow-up process. As realtors earning over $100,000 annually are twice as likely to employ a CRM solution, the link between automation and high performance is evident.

Marketing to absentee owners represents a significant opportunity for real estate professionals seeking to expand their client base and secure profitable deals. Absentee owners, ranging from vacation home owners to those with single-family rentals or properties in probate, often have unique needs that can be met by savvy investors, agents, and property managers. Whether these owners are unintentionally managing an inherited property, overstretched by the demands of a vacation rental, or affected by market fluctuations like those during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may be prime candidates for selling, listing, or outsourcing property management.

The strategic appeal in targeting absentee owners lies in their potential readiness to sell, to relieve management burdens, or to optimize property investments. By understanding the diverse circumstances and motivations of absentee owners, real estate professionals can tailor their marketing efforts for higher impact and conversion rates.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.