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How to get unlimited mailing lists from your public records offices

Ken Elshoff

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Apr 21, 2015
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Durant, Iowa
Hi all.

Name’s Ken. I’ve been lurking here for years….but don’t really post much. I’m making a few random posts today to add some value to the group since I’ve gleaned plenty from you all over time.

I specialize in getting leads from public records offices. That might be your local courthouse, city hall, county offices, or state offices. That is, I get the government to release data to the public – often in the form of spreadsheets aka mailing lists.

Did you know that your local public offices and courts contain a goldmine of information – that you can get access to simply by asking?!

It’s true.

I’m a former government employee and worked on this stuff from the inside.

About 50 years ago the US government passed law called the Freedom of Information Act. Basically, it’s a law that says our government is supposed to be transparent – citizens can examine public government records anytime they want.

What Are Public Records?

Public records are those which are kept on file by Federal, State, County and City agencies.

Because they are publicly-owned, they are available for public viewing and use.

U.S. law specifies that members of the public may, at any time, walk into the public records offices and view all non-confidential data.

The same law specifies that you may submit a written request to have data sent via mail, email or fax. All you have to do is ask.

BUT…

You must ask the right office.

You must ask the right way.

You must ask for the right data.

You should also ask politely. You get more flies with honey….

Most citizens don’t realize how much valuable data is available through public records requests.

They have heard of “public offices” and “public records,” but few people are aware that they can easily acquire this information.

The information is there, waiting for you to grab it! You may have even been to these public offices or courthouses, but never known about the valuable information right in front of your eyes, invisibly hidden in plain sight.

This information is invisible to most people. Hopefully, it remains that way. You don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry knowing about this and beating you to the punch by grabbing these leads for themselves. This course will help you SEE the invisible leads sitting in front of you.

Priceless data for your business. Readily available in open-to-the-public offices in your own town, city, county or state. Priceless, Invisible Leads—right in your own backyard!

It was there all the time.

“Close your eyes, and tap your heels together three times.”.

Then, open your eyes, and keep reading. I’ll show you how to get these invisible leads.

Example: In one county, they require everyone who owns a dog to pay $3 and get a dog license. I contacted that same office and requested that they give me a list of ALL the licensed dogs in that county. They complied and gave me a spreadsheet with 86,000 licensed dogs in that county. Can you guess who I contacted to sell that list to?

….anyone who needs a mailing list of dog owners to which they can market their products or services: dog walkers, groomers, doggy daycares, and of course veterinarians.

What is a Public Records Request?

The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law which ensures that the general public has access to U.S. Government records.

Transparency means any citizen may submit a request to their government to acquire access to open records. Keep in mind, FOIA is designed to allow citizens access to Federal records. As a real estate professional, you need local information.

Each state in the U.S. has the right to create its own FOIA laws. Your state’s FOIA law may be named something like:

· Right to Know
· Open Records Act
· Open Public Records Act

In addition, there are FOIA laws that apply at the county, city, municipality and school district level. Whatever the name of the law or the level of government, the intent of the law is the same. FOIA laws exist to give citizens access to information and public records.

Public records requests are submitted every day by citizens, community action groups, journalists, and even nosy neighbors.

So, what type of lists can you get from your local offices? Here are a FEW examples….

CITY LEVEL:
--Code violations aka houses that are failing apart (great for real estate investors seeking fixer-uppers)
--All Dog permits: Great for anyone who wants to sell products or services to all dog owners in the city

COUNTY LEVEL:
--Divorce filings: (great for real estate agents and investors who want houses to buy/sell)
--Assessors: (Great for locating data on all properties in the county)
--Permits: Construction permits, swimming pools (great for anyone selling swimming pool supplies or services)
--Tax delinquent properties (great for real estate investors who want high-probability leads)
--Delinquent public water accounts (great for real estate investors who want high-probability leads)

STATE LEVEL:
--Licenses: Lists of all Real estate agents in the state (great for anyone selling products or services to real estate agents and brokers)
--Marriage licenses: great for anyone selling products or services to brides-to-be

Got any questions about getting prospecting lists/mailing lists from your local government offices?

Post them here and I will answer them!
 

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ironman150

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Speedway Pass
Jun 22, 2017
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Sure, where would you go to get a list of the owners for property that is 2 years behind on property taxes?
 
OP
OP
Ken Elshoff

Ken Elshoff

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Apr 21, 2015
53
148
130
40
Durant, Iowa
Here is a sample request I sent to the office where they collect dog permits.


Hello xxxxxx.

I am requesting an electronic copy (Excel preferred) of the list of all Dogs registered in XXXXXX County.

I further request the records be sent to me via email to XXXXXXXXXXXX@Gmail.com or, in the absence of an electronic copy, mail to: (Address)

Providing the information on CD-ROM is also acceptable.

I further request that this list include the following:


1. Dogs name
2. Dogs Sex
3. Dogs Age
4. Breed
5. Owners Name
6. Owners Address (Street, Township/Borough, City, State, and Zip)
7. Color of Dog

In the event one or more item/s above is/are not readily available, please provide the data which is readily available to the extent possible. If additional items are readily available please provide them as well.

If there are any fees for searching, copying or mailing the records, please let me know before you work on my request.

I am NOT requesting these records for commercial reasons.

If you deny all or any part of this request, please cite each specific exemption you think justifies your refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available under the law.

Please contact me for further questions or clarification.

Sincerely,

Name
Address
Phone
 
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OP
Ken Elshoff

Ken Elshoff

Bronze Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Apr 21, 2015
53
148
130
40
Durant, Iowa
Sure, where would you go to get a list of the owners for property that is 2 years behind on property taxes?
You would go to the county tax assessors office (sometimes its called the tax collectors office) and request ALL properties that are tax delinquent. Then, once you get the list, sort down to those who are more than 2 years behind.

Try using a template like this:

Date

Agency Head [or Freedom of Information Act Officer] Name of Agency Address of Agency City, State, Zip Code

Dear Mr./Mrs.

Pursuant to the __________________ (City/County/State) Right to Know Law, I am requesting information from the______________ County Treasurers/assessors Office.

I am requesting an electronic copy (Excel preferred) of the list of all county tax delinquent properties in _________________ County. I further request the records be sent to me via email to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@Email.com or, in the absence of an electronic copy, mail to: Bob Smith, 123 Main Street, Nowheresville, Ohio 12345. Providing the information on CD-ROM is also acceptable.

I further request that this list include the following:

1. Parcel ID (Standard parcel ID if available as the identifier)

2. Address (Street Number, City, State, Zip) of each parcel

3. Owner Name (Full)

4. Owner Mailing address (May be same or different from Tax Delinquent property address)

5. Total Amount of tax delinquency each parcel

6. One row (record) per parcel

7. Earliest year of delinquency and total years in arrears.

In the event one or more item/s above is/are not readily available, please provide the data which is readily available to the extent possible. If additional items are readily available please provide them as well.

If there are any fees for searching, copying or mailing the records, please let me know before you work on my request.

In order to help to determine my status for purposes of determining the applicability of any fees, you should know that I am real estate investor/agent and am seeking to use these records for business purposes.

If you deny all or any part of this request, please cite each specific exemption you think justifies your refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available under the law.

Please contact me for further questions or clarification.

Sincerely,

Your Name Your Address

Your Email Address
 

becks22

90% coffee, 10% everything else
FASTLANE INSIDER
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Speedway Pass
Jul 6, 2016
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Upstate NY
Good write up. + rep
I search public records daily, you can get loads of information if you know how to get it. Understanding the legal system is critical. For example, in NY where I am, most of the records are stored at the County level, not city or town level. The County Clerk usually has tons of information available. Be nice to the clerks and usually you get get anything you want.

Edited to add other type of records you can get:
Criminal records-- what I mostly do
Civil records- judgments, liens (tax liens, mechanics liens, etc), lawsuits (good to check on potential vendors/ clients), divorces
Birth/ Death Certificates
Licenses
Sex Offender Records
Business Corporation records

Not usually public:
Driving Records-- not usually pubicly available unless you're like me and have a license to do so. A hollywood starlet was murdered by her stalker when he found her address through DMV records so ever since then DMV records have been more secure.
 
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