Analysis Paralysis with First County

Hi, my name is Steve. I am new and thought a good way to introduce myself is to admit to some hang ups I am already experiencing and ask a few questions.

I am getting to the end of setup mode after a little over a week. I have a website, virtual phone and virtual mailing address done. The website is capable of taking submissions in response to mailings from website or mobile and email me the results. Most of this was pretty easy for me. I am in the tech industry and an introvert. So this was the easy part.

What is troubling me now is I no longer have any excuses other than to start sending out my first mailings.

I have been investigating counties to that end which has raised a couple of questions for me. I am getting stuck in the "picking a county" stage.

  • I look at some states like South Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine and Wyoming for example where I am sure there is a ton of vacant land but lower population centers. There are only a few cities that exceed 50,000 people in population in these states. I would guess that in states like these, there are probably some land that could be acquired within an hour of their bigger cities. The weather is a little harsher than the south which could be a deterrent on the selling side. And the low population may also limit selling desirability. When is too rural a concern when targeting a county and acquiring vacant land? It would seem not all cities > 50,000 are created equal. What should I avoid?
  • I am planning to contact some counties for lists initially. Mainly, to try that route before Agent247.
    • I realize I can ask for a Delinquent Tax List. But that obviously excludes a lot of opportunities that may not owe taxes. Is there a more broader list I should be asking for? Should I be requesting two types of lists? In the state examples above, I might find 0 in tax delinquent status. Can the county provide another list I should be considering?
    • For Delinquent Tax List specifically, I have found states are all over the place when the default time line is. Some are 5 years, I have seen some that are 15 years. When asking for this list, do you narrow the criteria to only properties that are closer to default? Or does that not matter regardless of the state's timeline for default.
  • Lastly, how much harder have you found it to acquire in a remote state vs something nearer to you? Should a newbie avoid anything they can't drive to until they get more experience?

Like everyone, I want to avoid getting a lot of deals on the buy side and then have trouble selling them. I feel like my county selection this week is pretty important to any early success I have. I have to admit, I am having a little analysis paralysis with my county selection(s). Primarily due to lack of experience on what makes a good county for me. I appreciate any responses.

Bonus question: Is there any value in contacting title companies in the counties I target even before I get a deal agreed to?

Thank you!

Fellow newbie here, but I can relate. Remember, don't assume that you will even be able to get the list you want from the county you want. Some counties will send it free of charge in just a few minutes. Some will not be able to differentiate between vacant land and land with improvements and you will be at a dead end. Some will charge too much and some counties will just never respond to your first request.

I can't speak to EXACTLY what county to choose (Seth has a couple articles on that, of course), but you will never get anywhere if you over-analyze at this stage of the process. You are trying to funnel hundreds of thousands of property owners to just those with vacant land, then narrow that to those who are delinquent with property taxes, then narrow those to the ones you can mail, then narrow those to the ones that actually respond to your mail, then narrow those... etc etc etc. You're looking for that 1 out of 1,000 and you need to cast a wide net and then just start sorting out what doesn't fit your criteria at each stage of the process.

Property owners who are behind on taxes should be more motivated to sell, right? So the county list should provide leads that are more motivated than AgentPro247 can provide. Do what you like with that information.

You have some great questions here. Some of them can be solved with a 2 minute phone call to the county. Some of them can only be solved when you start taking action. I too would like to learn more about some of the questions you've asked, but ultimately I think the most telling line of your post is this:

What is troubling me now is I no longer have any excuses other than to start sending out my first mailings.

If you'd like a kick in the behind to stop delaying and just start doing, this is it. Pick a few counties, email the treasurers asking for the list, and see what comes of it. I emailed 5 different county treasurers by 8 am this morning. 1 responded right away with the list (free of charge!). I got the list, scrubbed it, generated the mailer, and sent my direct mail to the whole list by 10 am. When the owners start calling me, I will then start to over-analyze the deals. Until them, I'm moving forward. If the rest of the county treasurers don't reply, I will follow up with a phone call.

Hope this helps!


@DanielC I would have to say, yep, it helps. I sent off two requests to a couple of counties this morning. Glad to know I am not on an island with my questions.


@DanielC @stevel Thanks for this thread. It helped motivate me to keep forging ahead this week even though I was feeling stuck!