Here's My ‘Burned House' Letter
I have a question for you…
Have you ever driven by a burned-out house and wondered about it? Wondered how you might approach that owner, acquire the property and fix it up?
Well, you’re in the right place at the right time… because today, I’m going to share what I like to call my “burned house” letter. And not only am I going to show you the letter and explain how to use it, you get to download a copy for free.
JP Moses here, and I’ve used this letter for years quite successfully, and now it’s yours to use as well.
Uh, you’re welcome, my friend!
Now this is important…
You’ll want to keep in mind that you’re stepping into a rather delicate situation. This homeowner has suffered a great emotional loss, and perhaps, may have even lost a loved one or suffered an injury due to this fire.
So, a word to the wise is to handle with care. And as you’ll see in my video below, my letter can help you do exactly that, plus I’ve given you a few more helpful tidbits as well.
Here are a few other things you’ll take away from my video lesson about this letter:
⟶ Finding burned-out houses
⟶ Who to contact
⟶ How to create the best tone for the letter
⟶ How to present yourself and your company entity
⟶ How to create a subtle but effective call to action
Hey, what's up guys? JP here and in this here video, I want to walk through a letter that I put together a few years ago that we will send from time to time when we come across a burned out property.
Alright, so burned houses are a little bit of a unique animal in that you can often get a seller to almost give them to you for nothing.
Why is that? Well, it's because in a lot of cases they're getting an insurance payment that is well above and beyond what they actually owe. The property, they may have a house that's worth , you know, $150,000 on the market. Maybe they owed $79,000. The thing burned to the ground.
Well, they're not just getting a check from their insurance company for 79,000 to pay off the mortgage… they're getting the amount of money it would take to rebuild that house in most cases. They might even in excess of a $150,000 many times.
So they're getting a check, it's a payday and they're going, oh, do I really want to rebuild here? Maybe I just want to take my money and go buy another house… or, maybe put a big fat deposit down somewhere.
So, I've really like farming burned out properties. In my area it has proven very hard to put my finger on the pulse of that list, like someplace that is a database of a burned out properties. I think it's got to exist, but I haven't cracked the code on it yet in 16 years.
You know, the fire department certainly has some kind of database of calls that they answer for fires. But I've tried man and try as I might have gone down to the fire department, I've talked to the fire chief and they just don't seem to want to give me that information. Some of you guys out there may have cracked the code on that. It's probably different even from county to county.
So regardless, even if you only ever did this on burnouts that you just happened to drive by, it's still a handy little letter to have at your disposal.
So, let me jump into it and just show it to you and you can download it here on the page somewhere in this lesson.
Our normal important disclaimer needs to apply here. This form is provided to you as is without any warranty of any kind of use it at your own risk and all that good stuff, right?
And here you go. Here's my little personal note. I came up with this template letter to mail out to any burned houses I happened to notice. I just take down the address and mail it directly to the burned house, trusting the good old USPS to forward it wherever it might need to go.
So, let's take a look at it.
Alright, right from the get-go, let me point out and just let me get the little Microsoft Word ribbon out of here. There we go, right from the get go. I'll tell you, this is the specific address. Obviously this is a date merge fields. So whatever today's date is, it should populate based on whatever your computer thinks today's date is.
Obviously, you want to put your information here, your return address, your name, and I want you to notice that I've got John and Mary.
There’re different schools of thought on this, but personally I think that I get a better result in my market when I come off as a mom and pop real estate investor, not the big, professional, slick, home buying company. Now other people will dispute me on that and have probably tested it and gotten different results.
I know my friend Cody Sperber takes a totally different approach. He'd much rather look like a big company show up wearing a polo with the logo on it and all that good stuff. I don't really know that there's a right or wrong. You kinda need to know the approach that you're going to feel the most comfortable in your own skin with. And bottom line, one approach is gonna work better with some people than others and it's going to go both ways. So I don't really think it's a right or wrong, but I personally over the years have chosen to try and frame our company as a small mom and pop operation.
So, got a wife and husband name here if you're married. I think that's nice little, you know, if that's the angle you want to take, that's how you can play it.
So here's the seller you know, I just take down the property address, go to the tax assessor's website and look up who the owner is and where their tax bill is mailed to and I mail a letter directly there.
There might be a landlord, might be a homeowner, and then of course you got to change who it's to—dear Mr. or Ms. Jackson in this case.
“Recently I noticed that your house has sustained extensive fire damage. I offer my sincerest condolences for your loss and an earnest hope that your loss was limited to only monetary damage.”
Now I start off that way because I don't want to gush. I don't want to come off as insincere, but you know, people could have lost their lives in this fire and I don't want to just get right down to business without at least acknowledging that there could be that there's definitely some loss here. They've lost a lot of memories, you know, a lot of family life that happens in a property.
There's trauma at some level that is has occurred here and hopefully it's only monetary and not a family member or something, so I don't go on and on. I think that would be counterproductive, but I do take a moment to offer sincere condolences and an earnest hope that it was limited to monetary damage.
And I get right to the point: “My reason for contacting you as simple. My wife and I are in the business of buying severely damaged houses like yours”.
Now that is front and center bold for a reason. I want it to stick out. You know, it's the first big message of the whole letter.
And notice again, my wife and I, of course if you're not married, you have to change that. Or if you're perhaps the wife, then you'll say, “my husband and I.” But again, that plays the way we like to frame ourselves.
“If at any time while you are working with your insurance company, you wish to consider selling your house and its present condition as is quickly and easily, please consider giving us a call. Here are some highlights if you wish to accept our offer to purchase your house…”
Now, let me take a moment while I'm thinking about it and point out that there's not a single exclamation point in this entire letter.
Why is that? Well, you know, most people who putting marketing piece together, they use a lot of exclamation points and a lot of, they kind of overdo the bold and Italics and underline. And it's almost like you've been conditioned to think that that's what gets people to respond. I think maybe once upon a time for a real narrow timeframe, maybe it had that desired effect. But any more people see that and a lot of times consciously, but probably even more so subconsciously as a turnoff. And they see it as if they're being marketed to, and that you're trying to persuade them of something.
What I don't want to do is try and persuade in this. I just want to make them aware of what I can do if it's a good fit for them, but I want to do it in as compelling a way as possible.
I want this letter and all of my marketing materials, frankly, to be laid out in a way that's easy to scan. I want to chunk down, I don't want any big paragraphs. I like the use of bullet points. I like the use of bold and underline as you can see here. But I like to use it tastefully. If you overdo it, you overdo it. It's just too much it loses the impact.
So, in any marketing that I put together, I'm always replacing exclamation points with periods or question marks. Question marks are great—they hook you. It's shaped like a hook, and you draw people in with it. There's not a lot of them in this one. But I would much rather make the same statement and put a period at the end then a question mark, because that one little difference could be the difference between somebody smelling bs in whatever it is that you said and not.
Okay? You may disagree with me, I don't know, a lot of marketers would, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
So that said, here's my list of bullet points and these are benefits, right? “We will offer a fair price for your property and pay all cash. We will offer you a quick no hassle closing.” And of course, as you're scanning this, what do your eyes do? What do you see? You start at the top usually, but then you're going to “Severely Damaged Houses”… these people buy severely damaged houses. Okay? “…Fair price….” “…All cash…” “
Quick note: So, you can scan this and kind of get the meat of it, right? It looks like that needs to be corrected. So “We will offer you a fair price for your property and pay all cash. We will offer you a quick no hassle closing. We want to make it as easy as possible for you. We want to buy your house as it is in its current condition.”
I've already said that, yes, but I'm saying it again here. “Current condition, we will take responsibility for all repairs. We have a proven track record of purchasing homes like yours. This is our full time business. You can completely avoid the hassle of hiring contractors, handyman, or inspectors for your home repair.”
This is actually very benefit-heavy. You know, think about a burned-out property—there's a lot of hassle associated with dealing with that situation. I mean, the moment that your house is burned, you still own it and you have a great big liability on your hands there. You have a dangerous situation perhaps. Some kids could get in there and start rummaging around and who's on the line if some kid goes in there to your previously burned out house and steps on a nail or the floor falls through you as the homeowner? So you know, this line is speaking directly to easing the pain of all the hassle associated with this.
“I realize that at such a time as this, it can perhaps seem overwhelmingly difficult to be burdened with so many decisions at one time. If this letter has happened to you at such a time, please either disregarded or set aside for future reference. We do not wish in any way to add to your burden. If, however, you wish to further explore the option of selling your house to us, please do not hesitate to call us at any time. There's no obligation and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Thank you very much for the generosity of your time. Wishing you the very best, John and Mary Buyers.”
And then of course all your information you're going to fill in there.
So, it's one page, one side. It's very simple and straightforward. I'm not in favor of waxing on and on about benefits and it's just all hype. I think you just want to clearly, simply state what's in it for them if it's a right, if there's, if you're a good fit for them, they should be able to read this letter and know that or they're going to keep it and explore it later, but there's not an ounce of hype here.
So there you go. This letter, like I said, just keep it in queue. Whenever you or somebody on your team comes across a burned out property, whip it out, send this thing out. You can even upload it into Click2Mail.com mail and have it ready to deploy there. I don't usually like to use click to mail for things like this. I think it's better if you just print it off and hand address an envelope and put a real stamp on it. Pretty much any hand addressed envelope somebody is going to open.
So, there you go guys. Hopefully you enjoy that. Just keep it in queue and whip it out at the right time and the right place and make some money on those burned out houses.
Here’s how to download my Burned House letter…
Step 1. Leave a comment below with your thoughts. What you like about the letter, don't like, or just tell us how awesome we are for giving this to you at no cost.
Step 2. Once your comment is posted – Chuck Norris will award you with a free download link for the letter. For reals.
Obviously, you’re not going to find a burned-out house on every block, maybe not even in every neighborhood, but they are out there. Have your birddogs and other people keep an eye out for you.
So now, when you locate one, you won’t be wondering about what to do and how to make a deal with it… you’ll know exactly what to do, and in the process, you’ll be helping a family and an entire neighborhood.