One of the questions we hear over and over is, how do I pick a county list and should I pay for it? The Investor’s Toolkit is a great place to start as it does contain a list of proven counties, but even that list can be overwhelming.
We took the question to the Land Geek coaches and they had some great newbie advice…
Chris Clark & Michael Warren: Look for counties where there is a fair amount of activity. That means there’s competition, which is a good thing. If there’s no competition, it could mean the county is not working for our business model. It’s also easier to comp properties when there are a lot of listings. Once you get some deals done and understand the business, then you can afford to test out some unproven counties. As for buying a list, I’m all about paying for speed. If you can pay for a good list and remove the headache of scrubbing data, do it at this stage. On the flip-side, a hard to scrub list is a good barrier to entry, and if you have the time, it could be worthwhile.
Chris Pritchard: While there are a number of ways to get lists of properties for mailing, I think it’s important to start off with some quick wins to build up confidence in this business. My first list was from the Investor’s Toolkit list, and it was only $25 dollars. It is a county that I still work to this day, so it was a great investment. Most of the lists I get now are done in unconventional ways, but they are not things that I would suggest to someone new to the land investing business.
Michael Zaino: There are a number of ways to pick a county, a quick method is to utilize eBay. Enter in the State you are interested in, but don’t make the mistake of picking a state you live in “because you are familiar” with the area. We are focusing on areas of the country with enormous amounts of raw vacant land that is located away from many areas we would be most familiar with. The Midwest all the way to California is a great start. Once you’re in eBay, refine your search to the real estate category and then refine even further with the land sub-category. Scroll through the filter options and click on “sold listings”. We want to see what actually has sold in the past few weeks to gauge how hot an area is. Look for land that had lots of bidders or people looking to own the property. Any number over 10 is great.
Rachael Mueller & Sean Rickman: Start with other ads on websites like Land and Farm, eBay, Craigslist, etc. and find where other people are listing properties that are for sale or have sold. The more comps you can find in an area, the easier it will be to price offers. The harder it is to obtain the list, the less likely a ton of other people went through the same process. That being said, some counties can charge quite a bit, so keep that in mind when deciding if it may be worth it. You can get many lists for free that may require a little more time on your part that could yield the same results.
Scott Todd: You should start by looking at the land selling websites to see where land is selling. You can find the popular counties by looking at all the ads. Paying for a list is really up to you, you either pay with money or you pay with your time, only you can determine which is the better deal.
Tate Litchfield: Picking a county that fits our business model is the key to success. My advice is to look for an area where people are buying and selling lots of lots that’s within a few hour drive from a major city (think weekend getaway). I personally don’t pay for my lists but I see no problem with purchasing them if it will help you get offers in the mail sooner!