Commercial Solicitation Issue with Direct Mail List

Hey Everyone,

I’m trying to get into land in my home state of South Carolina. Mainly because I’m most comfortable with an area I’m familiar with and that I could easily travel within to see property while I’m learning and getting everything figured out.

Unfortunately I’ve run into an issue rather quickly. After trying to obtain a tax list I was informed that using public record for commercial solicitation is illegal in SC. It comes with a pretty hefty fine and potential jail time for each count and is absolutely not worth the risk. My question is has anyone flipped land in South Carolina and been able to find deals within the confines of this law? Does anyone know if using data from a site like agentpro247 etc would be considered using public records for solicitation still or if that would be okay?

Ultimately I don’t want to get hammered because I’m breaking the law and I’m trying to play it safe. I may end up just trying to do deals out of state for the sake of not taking the risk. It seems I may have to speak to an attorney just to be sure I’m good before even getting started here.

Thanks in Advance!

@willh198 If memory serves me correctly, AgentPro247 doesn’t even provide lists for SC due to the no commercial solicitation laws. You can still look up specific properties and pull a property report, but SC counties are not available under their “farm” option for generating lists.

1 Like

@LindaH thanks for getting back to me. It sounds like I’m out of luck, and will have to try another state. I’m pretty familiar with NC as well so will likely give that a go. Still a bit disappointed as I’d at least like to find some good deals in my area for my own personal use at some point.

@willh198 If you really wanted to target SC, the other way is to get sellers to come to you by really trying to drive traffic to your buying website and getting them to fill out your form. Maybe ads or SEO that tries to target people specifically looking to sell land in SC. Then again, buying land out of state isn’t as scary as it may seem. Just depends on what you want to spend your time on.


@willh198 If you're a resident of South Carolina, then you may well have a huge competitive advantage in a market other investors are avoiding. It might be super lucrative to come up with a boots-on-the-ground marketing approach.


You both make good points. It might make a great market if I could come up with a winning strategy for bringing sellers to me. I appreciate the ideas, and getting my creative juices flowing! I really want to do a couple deals and get a bit of a feel for things and proof of concept before I do too much, but definitely a great idea when I’m ready to take that step.

@willh198 I'm running into a similar problem in Washington. Counties will not provide me a delinquent tax list with the owner's names if it is to be used for commercial purposes. They will provide it to me without the names, so I'm still trying to figure out if it would be ok for me to use the list without the names. But, yeah, kinda sucks having that be the first stumbling block right out of the gate! I am also hoping to start close to home for learning purposes.

Will H,

The Family Privacy Protection Act of South Carolina defines commercial solicitation as, Sec. 30-2-30 (3)" contact...for the purpose of selling or marketing a consumer product or service." I'm assuming this is similar to the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) similarly disallowing commercial solicitation. It is illegal to obtain a list for solicitation of sales or services, but there are exceptions. K.S.A 45-230 states that KORA "does not prohibit the use of list of names obtained from public record in order to try and purchase property from persons listed."

I could be way in left field here and am not a lawyer. I'm new to all of this and trying to learn. If I am wrong, please someone speak up before I send these postcards to Kansas and wind up in Leavenworth. haha


@Bloomfieldks Hi, curious if you were referring to Washington State or Washington DC?

@natejames77 Hi. Washington State.

@cmreece I saw that clause and tend to agree with you, it seems that it checks out and I should be okay. However, it does not specifically state that it is allowed. Specific businesses, such as insurance and financial services, credit unions, and educational instituations are exempted from the SC law but that is all. I think I will come back to SC at some point and just speak to an attorney before moving forward, but for now I’m going to focus on North Carolina. It could be a costly mistake if I’m wrong. Sounds like you’re totally fine in Kansas if it specifically states that!

Interesting topic as this seems to be a gray area that is very impactful to certain markets.

Question: Has anyone here discussed this topic with a traditional house wholesaler in South Carolina? Or even flippers/SFR investors? Precedent seems to give some clarity around gray areas and I would bet some of those guys have some very valid experience/opinions on this topic.

@SemperVirens We had this thread going awhile ago.

Building off of @cmreece’s reply, where he cited Title 30, Chapter 2, Article 1 from the SC Code of Laws:

(3) “Commercial solicitation” means contact by telephone, mail, or electronic mail for the purpose of selling or marketing a consumer product or service.

After I read that, my immediate question becomes,

Are we “selling or marketing a consumer product or service”?

We’re clearly not asking consumers to pay us anything in exchange for a product or service, but we are trying to elicit a response from them. “Selling” could be a bit subjective… but I think most reasonable people could agree that what we’re doing doesn’t quite fit that description.

However, even if we go out on a limb and assume for a moment that we are indeed selling something… what are we selling exactly?

Are we dealing with a consumer product? No.

Are we offering a consumer service? I suppose it depends whose definition we’re going by, but if we look at what Investopedia or Wikipedia have to say about it, it doesn’t even come close to what a real estate investor is trying to do with direct mail.

Our objective is not to receive money from the people we’re sending mail to. We’re trying to do the exact opposite.

I’m no attorney, but based on what I’m reading on the SC website (if you have the patience to pick through the statutes and decipher what it’s saying), I can’t see how any reasonable person would put what we’re doing into the commercial solicitation bucket. Not as SC defines it, anyway.


Hi, I’m new here and have been reading through a lot of threads while zeroing in on counties for my first mailing campaign. I know this thread is a little older, I was considering look at SC so I’m wondering if anyone here has found out any credible information as to whether or not a mailing campaign would be legal in SC?