Sell Your Land with a Neighbor Letter Campaign
A For Sale sign might be great for getting the attention of anyone passing by your property, but wouldn't it be great if there was a simple way to reach everyone within a certain distance of your property?
That’s exactly what you can do with a neighbor letter campaign. What do we mean by campaign? It’s an organized approach to sending out many letters at once to reach potential buyers for your land - without the process taking forever or costing much.
In this guide:
Why send a neighbor letter campaign?
People that already live near your land or own land nearby themselves are some of the most likely buyers of your land. A neighbor letter campaign will reach this pool of potential buyers with very few steps and little cost. For that reason, this should be one of the first things you do to sell your land.
The keys to this approach are:
using a data service to get a list of mailing addresses
using mail merge or a printing service to make printing the letters easy
How to get neighbor mailing addresses
Regrid is an excellent source of land maps and parcel data - including mailing addresses. To get started, you can find your land parcel by searching by address, Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN), GPS coordinates, or using the ‘Locate Me’ function.
Tip: Don’t have a street address, APN, or GPS coordinates for your land? Try searching Google Maps for any address or landmark that you know of nearby such as a neighbor's house or local store. Right click on an empty space on the map, and Google will bring up the county name, state, and zipcode of that location along with the GPS coordinates below. Click on the GPS coordinates, and Google will center the map on those coordinates and display them in the search bar. Copy and paste those coordinates into Regrid and it will bring up a land parcel map centered on your starting point.
This strategy can work with as little as a few neighbor letters, but typically you’ll want to cast a wider net. If you really only need a few addresses though - for example, maybe you’re trying to sell a landlocked parcel that only the immediately adjacent owners are likely to purchase - you can get them using a free account on Regrid.
Once you’ve located your land parcel in Regrid, click on the nearby land parcels you want to send mail to and copy the owner names and mailing address. If you’re sending more than just a few letters, create a spreadsheet with columns for the owner’s name, mailing street address, city, state, and zipcode. This will make it easier to do a mail merge or send your list to a printing company to prepare your letters for printing.
Expanding Your Reach
In most cases, it’s worth sending your neighbor letter campaign to a much wider audience. This is because people that own land near yours are among the most likely to buy your land - or know people who will - and because it’s relatively cheap to reach potential buyers this way.
Sending letters to a large number of neighbors works because:
- Neighboring owners are likely buyers
- Letters are cheap marketing
How wide will depend on your budget and the average size of land parcels in your area. If the parcels are relatively small, you might reach many other landowners with a radius of only ¼ mile. If land parcels tend to be much larger in your area, it’s not unreasonable to send letters to property owners within 1 mile of your property.
Tip: Aim to reach 100-500 property owners with your neighbor letter campaign.
Creating a Radius
You’ll need a Pro account with Regrid for this next step if you want to get neighbor mailing addresses without manually copying them as described above. As of writing, the Pro account is $10 per month and can be canceled anytime, so really your cost to get this powerful list of neighbor addresses is only $10.
To get started, select Draw from the toolbar menu and click ‘Draw Focus Area.’ This allows you to create any shaped area around your property to pull in mailing addresses to your list. To keep it simple, we’re showing the process to create a radius around your property, but in many cases you may want to create an irregular shape to include or exclude certain areas to mail to.
Starting from your property, you can draw a radius outwards of any distance by clicking on the circle icon on the left hand toolbar. The first point you click on the map will be the center of the your circle, then holding the left mouse button you drag the mouse outwards to enlarge the radius. Once you have the desired radius, let go of the left mouse button and Regrid will prompt you to save your focus area. You can name it something like ‘neighbors’ and click save and go to the area.
Getting the Addresses from Your Focus Area
Next, you’ll download a list of all the properties in your focus area which includes the owner name and mailing address. Click List on the left hand menu. This changes the view from a map to a list in spreadsheet format. Next, click Download to CSV in the bottom right hand corner. CSV stands for comma separated value and it’s a commonly used file format. You can open your neighbor list in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Each row of your neighbor list will represent one property. You’ll see that there are many columns of data for each property, most of which you will not need. To simplify the next step, you can delete all the columns except the owner name and mailing address.
That’s it, you have your list of neighbors to mail to. Next, we move on to writing your letter before wrapping up by combining the neighbor list and letter.
What to Say in the Letter
Keep it short and simple. It should fit on one page. The goal here is not to create an amazing sales pitch that will wow your neighbors. You just need to let them know that your parcel is for sale, make it easy for them to locate your parcel, tell them the price, and let them know how to contact you.
If someone is interested in buying and you’ve priced it fairly, they will contact you almost no matter what you write in the letter. If someone is not interested in buying, there’s very little you can say in a letter to change their mind.
Your letter needs to:
- Notify neighbors of the sale
- List the asking price
- Locate your parcel for them
- Tell them how to contact you
Structuring the Letter
Before you start writing your letter, this is a good time to skip ahead to Getting the Mail Out the Door. If you know you’ll be using a bulk mail company to print your letters, you can save some time by downloading the Click2Mail letter template before starting to draft your letter.
Start with the purpose of your letter - your land is for sale and you’re notifying nearby landowners. You can provide your reason for selling if you like, but it’s not necessary.
Include a brief description with what you know about the land. This should include at minimum the acreage, address if available, APN, and the price. You can include information about the zoning or any features you want to emphasize if you like.
Include an Image
They say a picture’s worth a thousand words and that holds here. You’ll be printing your letter in black and white, so you do not want to use a photo of the land for this letter. Instead, it should be an aerial map image taken from Regrid like the one shown here. The purpose of this is to show people where your land is located in relation to theirs.
The scale of the image should be zoomed out enough that people can locate it easily. For example, it’ll be easy to tell what portion of a road your land is on by including the nearby crossroads. If it’s too zoomed out though, the road names will be unreadable and your parcel will look like a tiny speck - not what you’re going for.
Make sure the image is large enough - you’ll be printing an 8.5 x 11 inch letter, so it’s not unreasonable for your image to take up ⅓ to ½ of the letter.
Conclude with your contact information. Providing more than one way to contact you allows people to use the method they’re most comfortable with. At a minimum, include a phone number, but consider including your email address as well.
Getting the Mail Out the Door
So far, you’ve compiled a list of mailing addresses and created your letter template, now it’s time to put them together and get your letters out the door.
You have two options for mailing the letters:
- Printing them yourself and addressing the envelopes by hand
- Sending your letter and list to a bulk mail company
Print Yourself for a Personal Touch
To do everything yourself, you would need to print the letters, hand write the mailing addresses on the envelopes, stuff the envelopes, and add postage to each envelope.
This can be tedious and take a fair amount of time - and surprisingly you will not save much money compared to having the letters printed by a bulk mail company. This is because the bulk mail companies have options to use much less expensive postage, bringing the total cost of a mailed letter to $0.75 per letter or less, which is not much more than the cost of a postage stamp.
The benefit of this approach is that people may be more likely to open a letter with a handwritten address on it. The inexpensive bulk mail letter described below comes in a double window envelope that looks more like a bill, and is clearly less personal (there are options to print handwritten fonts, but they’re not the same).
When weighing whether printing letters by hand is worthwhile, keep in mind that your neighbor letter campaign is likely to be just one part of the marketing strategy to sell your land.
Save Time with a Bulk Mail Company
If you decide you don’t want to address all your neighbor letters by hand, the alternative is using a bulk mail company to print and send them for you. There are many companies that offer this service and you can find them by searching in Google for “bulk mail service” or “direct mail service”.
One of these companies is Click2Mail. Their service works well for a neighbor letter campaign because they don’t have a minimum order size, their prices are good, and they offer letter templates that speed up the process of getting your letter ready to print.
To get started, create a free account by clicking New Customer.
Next we’ll create the letter template. If your letter is already in the Click2Mail template, you can skip to the next step. To find the templates, click on the Start Mailing menu, then select 8.5 x 11” letter under Personal Mailings. Scroll down until you find Layout Templates, then Select Address on Separate Page.
There are several formats available and Microsoft Word is recommended for most people. Clicking on the PDF button will download instructions for using the templates. You can copy in the text you created for your letter above into the Click2Mail template, making sure to follow their guidelines about page margins so nothing gets cut off.
You’ll want to change some settings in the left hand menu to match the letter template you selected and also for the most cost-effective letter. Under layout, choose Address on Separate Page. Envelope will be #10 Double Window. Black and White for Print Color. Choose Standard under Mail Class. You can leave the other settings as they are: print on one side of one page with white #24 paper. To the right of the settings, you can enter the number of letters to be printed to see the total cost for the order including postage. Click Start Job to move to the next step.
Now you’re on the order page where you see the details of what’s to be printed at the top. On this page, you’ll upload your letter in the Document section and your neighbor list in the Mailing List section.
After uploading your list, Click2Mail will ask you to match the columns in your neighbor list to the fields that they specify including Recipient Name and Address Lines. You’ll also enter a return address if you haven’t already. Once your Document, Mailing List, and Return Address are complete, you can click on Continue in the top right corner.
On the next screen, you’ll have a chance to view a proof of what your letter will look like. You’ll confirm that the proof is correct and enter your initials. From there, you can add the campaign to your cart and complete the checkout process. That’s it! Your neighbor letter campaign is complete.
Creating a neighbor letter campaign takes some time, but is one of the best ways to notify people that already own property nearby that your land is available for sale. Considering that nearby property owners are some of the most likely buyers for your land, a neighbor letter campaign also gives you great bang for the buck in marketing your land for sale.
Looking for more ways to sell land by owner? Check out 6 Free or Cheap Ways to Sell Land Without a Realtor.