“I could just kick myself”
Is what the lady said as she teared up and turned away from me standing outside that rental house. It was early evening, just after she and her husband had gotten off of work. With her back turned to me so I didn’t see the tears fall, she said, “I just didn’t know people like you existed.”
I was at a loss for words.
You see, this couple was going through a hard time. Their house was up for foreclosure in two weeks and they were trying to sell before the auction all while trying to find somewhere to move in a market where rental houses were few and far between.
Needless to say, they were emotionally worn out.
Their predicament was not of their own doing. When they bought their house in 2013, they bought it well. Their purchase price was well under appraised value in a desirable subdivision. Their payments fit, and they’d bought with a really a low interest rate – they did everything right.
But something happened in 2014. The Affordable Care Act took full effect, and employers had to figure out how to comply with the new regulations and expenses while maintaining their businesses. For our couple, this meant fewer working hours.
The husband had been at his job for more than 10 years working 40-plus hours a week. The wife confided to me that after her husband’s hours were cut, the loss in wages added up to more than their house payment each month. They couldn’t hold on.
What made the wife tear up was that we had the best looking rental house they’d seen on the market. But we were priced higher than they could afford. As we were talking, I suggested we could do a deal together. I suggested we could come down on the rent in exchange for buying their house.
She exclaimed, “You could do that?”
The answer was yes! Because we’re investors, we have the capacity to make deals happen that other real estate professionals can’t.
As it turned out, however, the deal wouldn’t work. To keep from being foreclosed on, they’d listed the house and found a cash buyer who was basically going to purchase their house for the amount they owed on their loan. They were set to close the following day. This deal meant these folks would receive no money from the sale of their house.
Had they met me before hand, we would have paid them $300 a month in rent credits to live in a great house; plus we would have saved their credit from the foreclosure hit.
She told me that she didn’t know people like me existed.
That has me bumfuzzled. We advertise our “We buy houses and mobile homes” slogan everywhere. We have T-shirts; we have vehicle lettering; we advertise at gas stations, banks and we even send out mass mailings. Somehow we’re not reaching the people we need to help.
I was talking to another investor, who’s good at marketing, and he suggested that the “We buy houses” catchphrase may have some negative connotation that we’re unaware of. He relayed stories of people saying they thought his signs were a gimmick. He seemed to think that this mentality stemmed from some crooked investors who had taken advantage of people during the housing boom.
I need help with this. We’ve got to make an adjustment in our marketing and I don’t know what to do. It doesn’t feel good when people are tearing up in front of me because they didn’t know I exist – especially people I could’ve helped.
So I need your feedback on this one – How can I convey the message “We buy houses” in a better way?
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.