Frustrated with the fragmented state of real estate investor leads, longtime investor Keith Fiskum launched HomeAuctionLists.com in 2018 — fueled by record-level property data from ATTOM Data Solutions.
“It’s a unified platform to find on-market and off-market lead opportunities for real estate investors,” said Fiskum, who has been investing since 2003. “What I really was having difficulty with was finding leads in one area … there are just a lot of moving pieces that we wanted to centralize.
“The data was a little too fragmented to work with if you were doing more than one type of lead,” continued Fiskum, providing foreclosures, probate, absentee owners and high equity owners as examples of investor leads. “I would go to five or six different places to gather the information.”
Recorder, tax assessor and foreclosure data from ATTOM is helping to fuel the Home Auction Lists platform, although Fiskum noted that the property data is being phased carefully in to provide users with the optimal experience.
“(We) want to make sure we’re controlling the data and the customer service and the output so we’re not scaling too fast,” he said, noting the website is also rolling out geographies in phases, starting with Texas, Georgia and North Carolina, where he is based.
Data Fueled Leads for Investors and Others
Home Auction Lists provides several tiers of lead packages to investors, from just one county to an entire state, and investors can also set up custom lead packages, according to Fiskum, who sees use cases for the website’s offerings beyond just the real estate investor.
“There is so much data that you guys provide us,” he said, referring to the data from ATTOM. “Lawyers could use it. Realtors could use it to bring in new clientele. Auctions will be another opportunity. You’ve got the different exit strategies.”
Fiskum said the Home Auction Lists website is particularly useful for new investors who often don’t have large marketing budgets to acquire off-market leads. Meanwhile, good leads for those investors are few and far between on the multiple listing service (MLS) given scarce listing inventory and competition from owner-occupant buyers.
“If you are just getting started you are probably not going to put $5000 into marketing a month,” he said. “There’s a lot of new investors flooding into the market and we know that 80 percent of them are going to wash out in the first year because they don’t have enough leads or don’t have enough capital.”
By providing cost-effective off-market leads, the service will allow newer investors to replicate the strategy that Fiskum and other veteran investors employ repeatedly: buy low and add value.
“We’ve been able to force more appreciation. We buy at a discount and we fix it up for 15 grand,” he said, noting that properly done rehab allows investors to charge more for rent. “We take market rates to $800 from $650.”
Fiskum cautioned that off-market leads require more grit on the part of investors.
“It can take a little more hustle and grind to get these opportunities, but they are there, and they are more lucrative,” he said, noting that the Home Auction Lists platform will remove some of the work by allowing investors to quickly prescreen leads using property and neighborhood data. “The data is basically going to prescreen their leads for them. You can do it by neighborhood, you can do it by price point … there are so many criteria that can help you make this decision.”