Steve Cook

Marketing - The Weekend Bandit
by Steve Cook

As most of you already know, marketing is the key to succeeding in this business. We have to market to buy and sell homes. Those who are best at marketing to buy a house, have a lot less work to do when it comes to selling their homes because buying right is 90% of the battle. You don't need to be flashy, you don't need to be an expert, you just need to be out there. It is pretty much common knowledge among most successful investors that "bandit signs" really work. You know the little signs attached to telephone poles or stuck on the side of the road that say "We Buy Houses". They are one of the most effective forms of marketing that you can do and one of the cheapest.

But many of us have an ethical dilemma when it comes to bandit signs. They are illegal to use in most areas of the country. I can relate the concerns of you all because I have the same ones. As a result, I haven't been putting out bandit signs because I don't want to break the law. Some investors have decided to chance it and are willing to pay the fines because the rewards are so great. But there is a way.

First, I put bandit signs in the yards of all of my properties. If I control 10 properties at a time, I can get my signs out into all of those yards. I'm not always getting the best locations, but believe it or not, this works. I get calls from within the neighborhoods and, to tell you the truth, this may be the most effective place I've ever placed signs. They don't get torn down and removed when they are in my yard. You can also consider asking friends and family to allow you to put your sign in their yard, or even pay someone to allow you to keep your sign in their yard if they have a high exposure location. Perhaps you can offer to keep the debris in the street clean in exchange for having your sign in their yard on the corner.

But more importantly, for those of you who want to plaster your signs all around town, there is a way to do so without having the sign police chasing after you. In most jurisdictions across the country, there is an unwritten rule that you can put signs out on the weekends. You can put them out Friday evening (after the sign police are off for the weekend) and take them back up by Monday morning (before the sign police come back to work).

New home builders use this technique everywhere, all the time. There are companies that have formed businesses around this. They go out Friday evening and put signs out all over town for the new home developments that are going up. When you see clusters for about 12 builders all in one spot at an intersection, chances are that one person put up the signs for all 12 of those builders. As an investor on a limited budget, you could put up your own signs on Friday evenings, and then take them up on Sunday. Of if you have the extra money to spend, track down one of the guys who is putting out the signs for the new home builders, and ask them to put your signs out as well.

Steve Cook
Since 1998 Steve Cook has flipped many hundreds of houses as an active Baltimore-area real estate investor. Steve's unique specialty is the "flipping homes 1-2 punch", a proven system of real estate investing that powerfully combines wholesaling and rehabbing houses. Steve Cook is dedicated to helping others succeed through understanding and aggressively applying his time-tested, step-by-step approach to flipping real estate.

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