Melvin Feller MA Looks at How to Leverage Your Real Estate Classified Advertising

Melvin Feller MA Looks at How to Leverage Your Real Estate Classified Advertising

Melvin Feller is known as “The Entrepreneur’s Mentor” because Melvin walks his talk. Melvin Feller has been there and done that and more importantly, Melvin Feller knows how to transfer the skill set for success. This is main reason that he has been the sought after coach to hundreds of small business owners, entrepreneurs, Realtors, Real estate investors and service professional internationally. Melvin Feller’s main talent is to show you how the step by step process to build and enjoy a successful 6-figure plus business while having a balanced life. Melvin Feller maintains an office in Texas. Melvin Feller is currently pursuing another graduate degree as an MBA.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

Classified advertising is one of the cornerstones of the Real Estate business. The classified ads are the place where many of us began to look for houses to buy when we first started out. I know I did. I opened the local newspaper and looked for the ads that hinted at motivation. This was something I had learned from a book and tape program I had purchased from a late night guru during a moment of weakness.

Unmotivated Sellers

I called the first few ads and soon found out several things about this method of procuring properties. The first thing I learned is when someone says they are a ‘motivated seller’ it means absolutely nothing. The people I spoke with who actually were selling their home this way were definitely not motivated (having a need to sell). The second thing I learned from calling the ads is that most of the ads that said ‘motivated seller’ were placed there by either Realtors or investors. The Realtor is just trying to pull in any and all calls for their ads and the investor is trying to do the same.

The bottom line is I kept going and called hundreds of ads over the next month. I was very diligent about it and shrugged off all the rejection. I finally realized that there had to be a better way to find the houses. That is when I realized that I needed to be the selling through the classifieds not the person trying to buy there.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

Classified Advertising for Investors

There is a great way to buy houses from the classifieds though. It is to get the truly motivated sellers calling you. That is by placing ads in the classified section of the newspaper letting people know that you buy houses.

Therefore, the first question you ask is.

“What should my ad say?”

My answer to that is simple.


Now the reason I print it that big is not to imply that you take out a full-page ad and spend thousands of dollars. It is merely to impress upon you that you have to get your message out, and your message is that you want to buy houses.

I often see people who get so caught up in making their ad perfect that they don’t ever get their ad in the paper. The bottom line is you have to say that you buy houses and that is it. The person who is looking at the Real Estate Wanted section is someone who is looking for people like you. The person who starts calling those ads for the most part does not care what they say. They just start at the top and dial until they find the underlying cause of. The main thing is to get your ad in the paper.

Fishing for Motivated Sellers

My father and I took fishing trips every year and I always had to have the perfect lure on my line and would change a dozen times a day. All the while, my father was catching fish with the same lure all day. He always told me you could not catch any fish if your line isn’t in the water! In the same spirit, you will not buy any houses without an ad in the paper! You will buy many more houses with an ad than you will without one. So just get something in there and make it better as you learn what works best for you. In the meantime, the most powerful thing you can do is to make a call and place that first ad.

Now, that being said, I will give you some pointers on your content. The main things I try to place in my ads are my hook, my service, their benefit, and a catalyst.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

Hooking the Seller

Your hook is something that you will use to make you different. It can be something as simple as a nickname or your hobby or anything. You just want something that people will remember and something that will make them want to call you first.

Many years ago, I became a father for the first time. I placed ads that said, “New Dad buys Houses”. I got incredible response from the ads. About every other person that called asked about my new arrival. Some asked if it was true. Others just asked about the baby. Still others talked about their first-born. Now you say what is the point. The point is that having your first child is a very happy memory that everybody remembers. The average person attaches a great deal of pleasure to the whole process of having their first child. Now, this person is looking through the paper and sees tons of houses that say “We buy houses” or “I buy houses” or whatever and then they see something different; something that they personally have anchored a great deal of past pleasure and happiness to, who do you think they are going to call in this time of distress?

Think about their situation. They are about to lose their most important possession-their home. If I were in that position, anything that made that call a little easier would make a huge difference. So, if you can think of a good hook that people relate pleasure to then you will have one step up on the competition.

The other reason you need a hook is just for credibility and differentiation long term. Nobody can tell one we buy houses ad from another because they are so similar, but if your ad is different enough that people notice it then you are in. For instance, there is an investor around here who places all of his ads like this: “Family Man Buys Houses”. He has that in all of his advertising. Now the person who needs to sell looks at the ads one week and sees all the ads but does not call. Next week, again they see the ads but do not call. It goes on like this for a while, and when they finally do call, they call the ad that they recognize from all the weeks of looking in the paper. Unless they memorized the number, they do not recognize most of the ads from each other because there is no hook, but they see “Family Man buys houses” and it stands out. First, they see that he has had his ad in the paper every week. This gives him credibility and he is a pro. Second, he has a hook that hopefully puts people at ease. He did not choose “Jerk buys houses” or “New Investor buys houses” but again something, that people attach positive connotations to- A Family Man.

Therefore, without beating this horse any further, get a hook. Make it positive and memorable.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

Service to the Homeowner

The next thing your ad needs to say is what you can do for the seller. Obviously, the ad will convey that you buy houses, but you want to add a little detail about what you are looking for. You can say many things:

  • All Cash Offers
  • Make Your Payments
  • Take Over Payments
  • Debt Relief
  • Cash in Hand
  • Pay top dollar
  • Quick Close
  • Close in 9 Days
  • Offer on the Spot
  • Guaranteed Offer
  • Solve Problems
  • We want to Help
  • Stop Foreclosure

In addition, you can put the situations that you are looking for in the ad.

Tired Landlord
Out of State
Lost Job
Bills piling up
Behind on payments
Need Repairs

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

These are not all of the things to put in the ad just some examples. You get the idea. The reason you put this is twofold. One you want to weed out the person who just thinks you want to pay him cash and top dollar for his house. You still get some of these calls, but it really cuts them down if you let people know in your ad what you are looking for. The second thing is that if someone is in one of these situations and sees it in your ad then they are more likely to call because the fact that you have dealt with their problem before alleviates a little of the fear of making that first call.

Lastly, you want to get the seller’s benefit in the ad. This is similar to your service, but it is like looking at your service from the seller’s eyes. It is a very important thing to do because if they see the benefit that they desire in your ad then they are likely to call. Some benefits include:

Get on with Your Life
Get rid of that unwanted Rental
Save your credit
Get a fresh start
Sell your house fast
Don’t make that payment anymore
Move by Friday
Cash to you now
No more tenants
No more Mortgage payments
Stop the Calls from Bill Collectors
Catch up your payments
Rebuild your credit

These are but a few. You can think of the benefits that you offer. You never know what a person is looking for. If your ad hits the benefit, they want and their need is strong, enough then they will be calling you shortly!

Call to Action

A Call to Action is something that invokes action. The catalyst is something I try to put in all my ads just to try to let them know they need to call sooner rather than later. Some good catalysts include:

Call Today
Its Not Too Late
Top Dollar if you call by?
Don’t Wait!
The longer you wait?

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA


One last thing. As I said earlier, many people are going to just start at the top of the list and work downward. Therefore, it is always helpful if your ad is at the top of the list. The first person to actually answer their phone will often buy the house. Therefore, you should begin your ad in such a way that you will be on top! Some papers place the ad near the top if you begin the first word with a special character like an asterisk or a dollar sign or any other special character. Others just do it alphabetically. You get the idea. Now that we have all the ingredients, here are some ads that I run weekly just so you see how it all fits together.

A New Dad Buys Houses! All Cash Offers or Take over Payments. Stop Foreclosure and put cash in your pocket. Call Today! 555–555–5555

$ELL YOUR HOUSE TODAY!!! Guaranteed OFFER. Close in 5 Days. All cash or Make your Payments. Top Dollar if you call by Monday! 555–555–5555

$top Foreclosure! Its not too late! I can save your credit. I solve problems. Foreclosure Specialist. Call Today.555–555–5555

Divorce? Relocation? Foreclosure? Tired Landlord? We love to solve problems! Call Today 555–555–5555

Where do I run my Ad?

Again, my answer is simple.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA


The more ads you have running, the more calls you will get from motivated sellers. I live in a suburb of a large city. There are literally a dozen local newspapers around the city, and one large metro paper that has a viewership of 1 Million people! Now where should I be advertising? The answer is in every paper I can afford. I was speaking with a friend the other day and he told me about a new investor who really decided to go for it. This person placed ads in thirteen papers! Now he had to pay for these with his credit cards. That is a scary proposition, but he was committed. He just bought a house that he stands to make $50,000 on after splitting the profits with a money partner! Now, I know most people cannot start out placing 12 ads a week, but you add more papers as you are able to afford it. In our area, there are three main types of newspapers. There is a Thrifty Nickel type paper, a large metro paper, and several smaller local papers.

The thrifty nickel paper is a great place to advertise because it is usually very cheap to place an ad but brings in some great calls. I get calls every week from the ad in the thrifty nickel.

The smaller papers are usually fairly inexpensive to place ads in as well. These papers are good especially if you want to specialize and buy houses in only one area.

Then there is the large paper. It is more expensive, but it is worth it. I buy houses all over town. If I can drive to it in under an hour, I will buy it. Therefore, the large metro paper is where I need to be. If you are going to go for it in this business, you have to be in a paper like this-if there is one close by. You will be losing houses every month if you are not.

Power of Consistency

There is one thing I would like to say about classified advertising. If you want to make it in this business long term, you must keep your ads running. I often see new investors having trouble and saying they are not getting the calls from motivated sellers. When I ask them about their ads, they invariably are running them inconsistently. I ask what does your ad say and they say well I think it just expired the other day. I need to call and renew it. You do not get results from one week of advertising. You do not get results from one month of advertising. You need to set up a campaign that you can sustain for several months. Consistency is the key. If your ad is there every week then eventually you will get the calls.

Real Estate Classified Advertising by Melvin Feller MA

Bang for the Buck

The thing you must do in the beginning is figure out where you get the most bang for the buck! You have to see what you can afford then way the options. It is better to run an ad every day in a smaller paper if you can only afford to run it sporadically in the larger publications. The bargain paper in your area might be an alternative as well. Just make sure you always have that ad running! In addition, the ad should be the length that offers the best rate. Often this is three lines. Therefore, you are wasting your money if you have a six-line ad with wasted space. You would be better off running another three-line ad in a different paper. Earlier I spoke in depth about what your ad should say. You do not have to say everything in every ad though. Just choose enough to fill three lines in each ad.

Testing Your Advertising

The last thing I would like to say about advertising is that you should always be varying your ads and trying to see what works best. Sometimes I run ads that focus more on pre-foreclosures. Sometimes I focus more on tired landlords or other times I just talk about selling fast and putting cash in your pocket. In any case, I run all kinds of different ads and I always ask which ad someone calls from so that I can find out what motivates people to pick up the phone! No matter what your ad says though, keep it running. Remember, you cannot catch any fish without having your hook in the water!

The last bit of wisdom I can give you about your classified ads is always run them with your cell phone number. Never, Never, Never run the ad with a voicemail set up to take the calls. You want to talk to the motivated sellers firsthand. In the large metro paper I spoke about earlier, there are often thirty to forty ads in the Real Estate Wanted section. This however is deceptive, because if you start calling the ads often four out of five of the ads is set up to be answered by an answering machine or voicemail. If you actually answer your phone in this business, you have the upper hand on seventy five percent of the people out there. Just answer your phone and get it under contract before the other person ever checks his messages.

Melvin Feller MA Business Consultant, Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Melvin Feller Ministries and MBA Graduate Student Candidate

Melvin Feller MA is in Texas and in Oklahoma. Melvin Feller founded Melvin Feller Business Group and Melvin Feller Ministries in the 1970s to help individuals and organizations achieve their specific Victory. Victory as defined by the individual or organization are achieving strategic objectives, exceeding goals, getting results or desired outcomes and a positive outreach with grace and as a ministries. He has extensive experience assisting businesses achieve top and bottom line results. He has broad practical experience creating WINNERS in many organizations and industries. He has hands-on experience in executive leadership, operations, logistics, sales, program management, organizational development, training, and customer service. He has coached teams to achieve results in strategic planning, business development, organizational design, sales, and customer response and business process improvement. He has prepared and presented many workshops nationally and internationally.