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How to pull a water shut off list — Investors guide

Navigating the world of real estate investing often boils down to accessing the right information at the right time. One lesser-known yet invaluable resource is the Water Shut Off List.

Essentially, there are two primary ways to access this list: sourcing it from county records or connecting with someone inside the local water company.

This article will not only guide you through these methods but also introduce you to other niche lists and provide strategies on effectively reaching out to potential leads.

Let’s dive in.

Using Your County to Pull a Lien List

The beauty of local governments is that they operate on a foundation of records. Everything, from marriages to mortgages and, yes, liens, finds its place in the annals of county records. If a homeowner’s water service is shut off due to non-payment, the water company might go as far as placing a lien on the property. This is essentially a public notice that they’re owed money, and the homeowner can’t sell the property without settling this debt. For investors, this creates a golden opportunity.

So, how do you access this list?

Every county operates a little differently, but with a little elbow grease and determination, you can unearth the information you’re looking for.

First, locate the county’s official website. Many counties have modernized and have online portals that are treasure troves of public records. Search for terms related to liens, such as “lien records,” “property liens,” or “water liens.”

If you strike gold and find the list online, great! But if not, don’t get disheartened.

The old-fashioned route can be just as effective. Dial up your county’s recorder’s office. If they’re not the ones in charge of liens, they’ll certainly know who is. A quick chat with them can point you in the right direction, and they may even offer insights or tips on navigating the system more effectively.

Befriending Water Companies

In the dynamic world of real estate investing, sometimes it’s not just about what you know, but who you know. One such relationship that might seem unconventional, yet could be incredibly beneficial, is with your local municipal water company. Sounds odd, right? Well, let’s unravel the potential here.

Imagine having direct access to a list of homeowners whose water has been shut off. It’s like having a crystal ball that shows you who might be the most motivated sellers in your area. And while county records are a great place to start, if you’re aiming for the pole position in the race to reach out to these homeowners, going straight to the water company could be your fast track.

But, as with many things that sound too good to be true, there’s a catch. Getting your hands on such a list from the water company isn’t as straightforward as just asking for it. For one, you’re dealing with a bureaucracy, and secondly, there are privacy concerns and regulations that companies need to abide by.

However, if you can forge a genuine relationship with someone within the company, the doors might just open for you. A casual conversation over coffee or at a community event might lead to a valuable connection in the water department. It’s not about sneaky tactics or underhanded moves but building trust and demonstrating how your objectives align.

If a water company sees the repeated cycle of shut offs and potential liens, they too would prefer homeowners to find a resolution sooner rather than later. Your role as an investor or wholesaler, in this case, is to offer solutions that benefit everyone involved: the homeowner gets out of a tight spot, the water company reduces its list of non-payers, and you get an opportunity to invest.

But remember, genuine relationships take time. It’s not about a quick quid pro quo but mutual respect and understanding.

Other Niche Lists that work as well as Water Shut Off

The cons to a water shut off bill are:

  1. Hard to get
  2. Not a lot of contacts

In the wholesaling world, you need to have VOLUME of leads.

So here’s a list of other niche lists that are easier to find below (that you can easily use Propstream ( to pull).

If you don’t know what a niche list is, here’s a definition with a list below:

What is a niche list? 

A niche list is a targeted collection of specific property or homeowner data used by real estate investors to identify potential off-market opportunities. Investors use these lists to streamline their outreach and increase the chances of finding motivated sellers or unique investment opportunities.

Niche Categories:
1. Pre-foreclosures
2. Absentee homeowners
3. Tax delinquencies
4. Properties with code violations
5. Bank-owned properties (REOs)
6. Probate properties
7. Vacant properties
8. High equity homes
9. Owners with out-of-state addresses
10. Distressed properties in need of repair.

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Marketing to These Lists

Venturing into the off-market realm is a bold move for investors, often yielding opportunities that aren’t visible in the standard market. While having access to niche lists like the Water Shut Off List is crucial, what truly counts is how you act on this information. Reaching out to potential deals requires a blend of tact, persistence, and strategy.

Here are some tried-and-true marketing avenues to consider:

1. Mail: Craft a well-thought-out letter or postcard that addresses the homeowner’s potential needs and offers a solution. Personalizing your message can make all the difference.

2. Cold Call: While this method requires a bit more nerve, it offers immediate feedback. Make sure to be respectful, transparent, and clear about your intentions.

3. Door Knock: This face-to-face approach can be impactful. Being present, listening actively, and being understanding of the homeowner’s situation can lead to fruitful conversations.

4. Door Hanger: If the homeowner isn’t present, leaving a door hanger with your information and offer can be an effective way to get their attention and prompt a call back.

No matter which avenue you choose, always prioritize empathy and professionalism. You’re not just looking for a deal; you’re offering a solution to someone who might be in a tough spot. Approach with care, and you might just find a win-win waiting on the other side.

Negotiating with These Leads

Diving deep into the world of real estate investing brings one face-to-face with a variety of situations and people. One of the delicate aspects is when you encounter homeowners on lists like the Water Shut Off List. Remember, each name represents an individual or family, potentially facing tough times. They’re not just numbers or potential deals; they’re people with stories, hopes, and, most likely, stresses.

When you approach negotiations with these leads, empathy should be at the forefront of your approach. It’s essential to see the situation through their eyes. After all, they might be in a position where they have to make difficult decisions, possibly involving their most significant asset: their home.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Listen Actively: Before making any offers or suggestions, take the time to listen to their story. Understand their unique situation and needs.

2. Provide Genuine Solutions: It’s not about sealing the deal but finding a solution that addresses the homeowner’s pressing concerns. Whether it’s offering a quick sale, helping them find an affordable rental, or connecting them with resources to assist with their financial woes, be a problem solver.

3. Transparency is Key: Always be upfront about your intentions and how the process works. Avoid jargon and ensure they understand each step and what it means for them.

4. Stay Patient: These situations can be emotionally charged. There might be moments of hesitation, second-guessing, or even cold feet. Your patience and understanding can make a world of difference in making the homeowner feel at ease.

5. Forge a Connection: This isn’t about extracting profit. It’s about creating a win-win solution. The more genuine the connection, the more trust you build, making the entire process smoother for everyone involved.

Lets “shut” this with a summary:

In the realm of real estate investing, the Water Shut Off List represents more than just potential deals; it embodies real stories of individuals facing challenging circumstances. As investors, our approach should be rooted in empathy, transparency, and a genuine desire to offer beneficial solutions. While the mechanics of investing and negotiation are crucial, the human connection is paramount. By approaching each situation with care and understanding, not only can we foster win-win outcomes, but we can also make a lasting positive impact in the lives of those we engage with. In this intricate dance between opportunity and responsibility, let’s lead with compassion, ensuring that our legacy in the industry is not just about profits, but also about the people we’ve genuinely helped along the way.