Posted on: May 10, 2021
WI 684 | Most Profitable Lists


There is always a tendency of malfunction in running your business, like a machine. That is why there is the need to run diagnostics and take apart your business or going micro when things do not work out as planned to determine what part of your business is causing it. One of the crucial parts to look at in your business is marketing. That leads to the question of “how big your marketing list should be?”.

In this episode, Lauren gets micro as she runs diagnostics and digs deeper into things, particularly on marketing, and talks about how big your lists should be when marketing. She will give recommendations on what lists to consider for marketing and how to make it beneficial for your business. Also, she will share where she sources out her lists.

Listen to this episode from start to finish to get practical advice from Lauren on marketing list size.

The 3 Most Profitable Lists Every Wholesaler Should Be Marketing To

Episode Transcription

This is Lauren Hardy. I love getting super micro on issues, topics, business discussions and marketing questions. The reason I like to dive deep and pick everything apart is because you are going to get practical advice from this episode if you read the entire thing. We are going to talk about marketing and specifically, we are going to talk about how big your lists should be when you’re marketing. I’m talking about your marketing list.

I got inspired because I had a student come to me after about three months of doing their own marketing. I’m not quite sure where we went wrong here because, in those three months, the student was doing his own thing. He was following things that he had heard on YouTube university. I had some other ideas that I didn’t give him.

He comes to me and says, “I’ve been cold calling. I’ve been texting for 3 or 4 months and I still haven’t gotten a deal. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” I said, “Let’s run some diagnostics.” This is my favorite thing to do. I call it running diagnostics. It’s where I break apart your business as if it’s a machine. I run diagnostics on the machine. I start from the beginning and I go straight to, “Tell me what list are you working on right now?” He goes, “I’m working a bunch of lists. I’m working at tax delinquent list. I’m working a vacant list. I’m working on absentee list.” I said, “You’ve got all three of those lists. Are you working on them stacked on top of each other, meaning that for someone to receive a call or text from you, they had to appear on all three of those lists?” We call this list stacking in our industry or, “Did you take all those lists separately and dump them into your dialer, texting machine, what have you?”

If he took it separately, meaning his list is much larger. If he stacked it, you’re looking at a small amount of people that are going to appear on all three of those lists. He goes on and says, “I stacked them. Everybody that is getting a text or call from me has a tax delinquency on the property. They also happen to be absentee and it’s also a vacant property.” I go, “How big is your list? A thousand people maybe?” He goes, “You’re right.” I chuckled and I said, “Where did you learn to do that? Because that’s not something I like to talk about or do. That’s not something I recommend. Where did you learn?” “YouTube university.”

You have to market to more people to get a consistent deal flow.

This happens all the time with YouTube university. I love YouTube. I love influencers. I’ve learned so much from YouTube university, but the thing is, sometimes you stumble on one video that gets you excited. It’s something that one person is doing that works well for them in their specific target market, and they make a video about it. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work for you. You get so super excited because it sounds like the golden ticket. You only have to market to 1,000 people and think of how much marketing dollars this guy is saving. Think of how many people he doesn’t have to reach out to.

He doesn’t have to do as much door-knocking. He doesn’t have to do as much cold calling. He doesn’t have to do as much texting because he has this golden list of people that have seven areas of motivation, so he’s bound to make tons of money in less time. It sounds super-efficient. I’m going to tell you it’s not because it’s not enough. You have to market to more people to get a consistent deal flow.

A thousand people on a list is not going to do it. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, “Lauren, I did it, or my friend so and so has been doing this exact same technique and he makes six figures a year doing this technique.” That’s great. There are always exceptions to the rule. I’m not saying I’m right, but what I am saying is in my experience, the people that are doing regular deals do not stack their list to death.

In this episode, I want to give you a clear idea of how big your list should be. You guys can take these numbers and you can use them with a grain of salt. I’m not in every single market. Your list might be bigger or might be smaller, but this is just an idea of what your list should look like. Let’s start with my three favorite lists that I recommend. I love a vacant seller list. I absolutely love an absentee owner list. I really love a tax delinquent absentee owner list. I will get into the details of what each one is and I’m also going to tell you where you can get them. I’m even going to give you a discount code, so keep reading.

WI 684 | Most Profitable Lists

Most Profitable Lists: A vacant house is probably the most seller-motivated type vehicle.


The Vacant List

What is a vacant property? A vacant property is empty. A vacant property is a property that somebody recently moved out of and it’s just sitting there empty, not doing anything for the homeowner, not collecting rent, not generating any income. It’s an empty house that has chances of getting broken into. It’s an empty house that you may not be able to get insurance for. I bet you didn’t know that vacant homes do not qualify for a standard insurance policy. You have to get a vacant dwelling policy, and they’re more expensive.

It’s an awesome list to work on. I love it. It’s usually a list of motivated sellers that have a reason to sell because the house is doing absolutely nothing for them. It’s just a liability at this point. Depending on the size of your market, say your market is maybe 250,000 population to 1 million population, your vacant list might be anywhere from 1,500 addresses to 3,300 addresses. Take this with a grain of salt. Every area is different. In my experience, what I noticed is that these lists are about this size.

If you are looking for, “What is the first list I should work on?” I recommend vacant because it is a small list. A lot of us are on a budget. A lot of us are pinching our pennies here to get started. I totally get it. In my opinion, a vacant house is probably the most seller-motivated type vehicle here. When a seller has a vacant home, it’s doing nothing for them. It’s just sitting there. It’s a liability. It’s costing them money. I recommend using that list first.

The Absentee Owner List

The next list is a plain-off absentee owner list. Depending on your area, I’ve seen absentee owner lists that can get big, but average 10,000 to 20,000 addresses. An absentee owner is a house where the tax mailing address, where the tax bills get sent is different than the actual property address. That is the only indicator that it’s absentee-owned. You can add other filters. Some people like adding equity filters. I personally don’t. You can do years owned like the seller has owned the home for at least four years. That’s something I do and that usually takes care of the equity issue, but I don’t trust the equity filter. I’ve tested this for years.

It’s all about getting as many people into that sales funnel.

You can do age of the home, add some filters to filter the list down. You want to make sure these are homes that you would be able to work. Take some time to think about the filters that are important to you. I recommend less filters the better. It’s going to be a big list, but you also don’t want to put too many filters because what could happen is the county tracks things differently. Every county tracks things differently. If you put too many filters, you might chop off something accidentally and it’s more of a nuance to that county.

I leave the filters as lenient as I can. I have about four filters, and it’s usually age of the property, building size, lot size. I don’t want farms, so I make sure the lot isn’t any bigger than an acre in my area. Age of the property is the years that the seller has owned the home. I usually do at least four years. That’s about it for myself, and then I make sure that I’m targeting the zip codes that have active buyer activities. That’s a big one.

If you do all those things, your absentee owner list is going to be about 10,000 to 20,000. It might be a little bit less or it might be a little bit more depending on your territory. It’s a big list. I love this list because these are sellers that are usually landlords and they could have problem tenants. They could be ready to retire and they want to do a quick sale. Sometimes you get a landlord who owns multiple properties and they sell multiple to you at once. It’s a sweet list. I like it. I recommend it.

The Tax Delinquent List

The third list I like, if you can get your hands on it, is the tax delinquent list. I make sure that I filter that they also have to be absentee owners and there’s a reason. I’ve tested this. A plain tax delinquent list is people who owe back taxes. They haven’t paid their property taxes. They get on this list. What I have noticed is if they live on the property, they don’t care. They know depending on the county that they’ve got several years before the house is going to be taken away from them, so they’re living in it. They need a roof over their head.

When I add a filter that they also are absentee, that’s an indication that this is probably a home that they inherited or for some reason still have. It’s not something they’re taking seriously. They’re not like a professional landlord. Professional landlords keep up with their property taxes. This is probably something that they got stuck with at some point. They haven’t gotten around to selling it, but they can’t afford to have this thing because they can’t even keep up with the taxes.

WI 684 | Most Profitable Lists

Most Profitable Lists: You need that volume of people to receive your marketing for you to get the leads you need to get, get the offers out that you need to make, and get the deals you want to close.


It’s perfect for you to come in and say, “I’m a cash buyer. We’re looking for homes like this. Let me take it off your hands. Let’s do a deal.” I love this list if you can get your hands on it. The problem is certain counties report their tax delinquencies differently and some of the list providers have a tough time getting it. If you can’t get it from a normal list provider, then you’re going to have to go to the county directly, ask them for this list, and do some ninja data scrubbing to compile a good Excel form, because likely they’re not going to give you the list in Excel. They’ll give it to you in a PDF, so you’re going to have to figure out how to get that PDF into Excel. Maybe use some scraping tools or maybe find somebody who can do that for you on Fiverr, just some tips.

The tax delinquent list, from what I’ve seen, is usually around 3,000 to 5,000 records. It could vary depending on the area. If you notice that it’s low like 100 or 200, and your population is 1 million, even 500,000 population in the area, your list is incorrect. Your list provider cannot get tax delinquencies for whatever reason. That’s the indication. If you see that the list is too small, it’s probably because the list provider isn’t getting the data. It’s not their fault. It goes back to the county. That’s it.

Those are my favorite lists. Those are approximate numbers of how big the lists should be and you need to work those entire lists throughout. Don’t over stack them. Don’t try to make them smaller because you need to make sure you are marketing to a lot of people. You definitely need that volume of people to receive your marketing for you to get the leads that you need to get, the offers out that you need to make, and the deals that you want to close. It’s all about getting as many people into that sales funnel.

Let’s talk about where I get my lists. I get my list from a company called Batch Leads has several services. They have other things they offer. They have list stacking. They have a list stacker. I keep all my lists organized in there. The reason I love that stacker is because if you buy new lists from Batch Leads, they’ll know that you already have that record in your system and they won’t charge you, so I do appreciate that. It helps me save money, not re-skip tracing or repurchasing records that I already have.

Over the years, I’ve purchased so many phone numbers, so much data, and it does add up. Any way you can save money there is key. If you guys do want to save some money, I’ve got a discount code. My code, VIRTUAL, will give you a 50% off discount the first month and it also gets you a special skip tracing rate. Make sure you use my code.

That is it. I got super micro. I feel like I gave you a good outline of a small piece of this puzzle. This is a big puzzle. I like to look at any business as a machine, and there are all these different pieces to the machine. If one thing is off, the whole machine will break. It won’t function correctly. If you can put that in your head and think about your business as a machine and running diagnostics on your machine with a mentor or a coach, you will be able to figure out what is that small area of the machine that’s broken. If you make that tweak, everything is running smoothly.

This is one area. List size is a small component of the machine, but it is something that I see a lot of people get stuck on, struggle with, and don’t even realize that’s the problem. I hope I solved that problem if you were having it. I hope you got something out of this. If you loved this episode, please share it with your friends. If you want to learn more about my Virtual Investing Mastery coaching program, it’s Thank you for reading. I will see you next time.

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About Lauren Hardy

WI 684 | Most Profitable ListsLauren Hardy is a Virtual Investing expert and Real Estate influencer who owns multiple companies in the real estate industry including real estate investment, coaching, and software companies. She is also a Wholesaling Inc coach and co-host of the Wholesaling Inc Podcast. Her experience in the last decade has been focused on real estate investing and creating products and services to serve the real estate investing community. If you are interested in investing in real estate virtually, house flipping, or virtual land-lording, Lauren’s your girl.

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