How One Small Business Owner Successfully Scaled With A Fifty-Eight Cent Postcard

direct mail marketing

The Newest Super Tool For Surplus Fund Managers? The Mailbox

“58 cents and $83,000 – you do the math, that’s a pretty good ROI.”  

Patrice Starks laughs, the warm presence of someone so wholly dedicated to the empathetic helping of others reverberating off the screen, her kindness seeping through the digitized pixels and positively infecting every inch of space around us both.

For someone so authentically passionate about aiding people in getting back on their feet, it’s hard not to feel proud of the goodness coming her way.  

And for Starks, that passion boils down to one word: restoration.

restoration {n}: an act of restoring or the condition of being restored - renewal, revival

If there’s one thing she’s hyper-focused on – it’s reviving the hope so many have lost when their homes are taken out from under them.  

Surplus Funds And The Journey To Restoration

“There’s just something about the greater good that I am serving,” Starks notes – which is a tremendous understatement given what she and her organization have been able to do in eleven short months. 


January 20th marks exactly one year since Starks left her corporate job.

“The right person made me mad,” she explains. “I turned in my resignation…I didn’t have a Plan B so this has to work!”

Spoiler alert: It did. And then some.

Starks now leads Legacy Audit & Recovery, a Dallas-based, family-owned equity auditing firm that specializes in serving clients nationwide who have recently lost their homes due to foreclosure.

What many of these clients may not know, is that they're owed refunds from the sale of their foreclosed properties and that they only have a brief window of opportunity to claim these lost dollars.

These unclaimed funds are called surplus funds, and they make up the difference between the original amount owed on the property and the price of sale at public auction.

“If a home sells for more than the debt owed, then that difference belongs to the original property owner by law,” Starks emphasizes. “A lot of people just don’t know about it.”

These foreclosure sales have equated to $1.2 billion in surplus funds for homeowners since 2016, which means Starks needed to figure out a way to reach more clients much faster

Enter: PropertyRadar

Now She's Scaling With A Little Help From USPS

Just a few months ago, Starks decided to try a new approach in order to reach more eligible homeowners: direct mail.


Think Direct Mail Is Outdated? Hardly.

Direct mail marketing refers to physical marketing or promotional material that is sent through traditional postal mail.

That's right. Your friendly neighborhood mailman may just be the one to unlock your next phase of growth. 

Starks has certainly seen it happen. 

Utilizing PropertyRadar’s Marketplace, she's able to easily design, print, and ship her very own postcards to prospective clients – notifying them of potential eligibility for surplus funds.

To be exact, on December 18th, everything fell into place. 

“I took a list of 40 and did a simple mail out, 58 cents a piece,” she explains. “Over the holidays, that turned into four leads, which is going to net me right at about $83,000.”

And with PropertyRadar tackling the heavy lifting of the distribution process, reaching more former homeowners and providing more help just got a whole lot easier for Starks.

“It’s one less thing I have to worry about,” she explains. “Because my card is now saved…anytime I download a list, it’s about four clicks, make sure I got enough money on my account to pay for the postage, and it’s done.”

“It’s probably gonna make me lazy, 'cause that’s just way easier than picking up the phone and calling people.”  

Skeptical? Let's Clear The Air. 

While PropertyRadar isn’t the first to leverage direct mail marketing – we're certainly the ones revolutionizing it.

Not only can you build customized audience lists right from your keyboard, you can also effortlessly automate the entire process to scale your outreach in monumental ways.

Save time, effort, and many, many headaches by setting up your own personalized system, so whenever a new lead matches your customized list’s criteria (say, recent foreclosures in your area), direct mail is automatically sent straight to the homeowner without you lifting a finger.

Magic? No. Simply innovative marketing that you should seriously consider.

“It has certainly leveled up my profitability in just one try,” Starks admits.

Worried your promotional mail will get tossed out with the trash? Think again. 

Research states that 80-90% of direct mail is routinely opened, compared to only 20-30% of email. Postcards (like those Starks has sent) are the most effective form of direct mail, boasting a response rate of 5.7%.

A bonus?

Personalized direct mail campaigns show a 135% increase in response rates over campaigns that are not personalized (good thing we make that piece easy). 

Still not convinced?

The average success rate for direct mail marketing? An impressive 31.49%.

“Can you just imagine making $83,000 a month? I hadn’t thought about it like that this time a year ago, but that is quite amazing,” muses Starks. “I set that as the gold standard…it has become a huge part of my outreach and marketing mix, just because it’s effective.”

How Innovative Tech Connects Starks To The Homeowners That Need Her Most

“I think my greatest asset is that I’m nosy,” Starks laughs heartily.


Once tied to a sleuthing process divided between running through free subscription services, outsourcing, and manually combing through court records and foreclosure She has something better. 

Lead generation software that effortlessly taps into over 40 million foreclosures nationwide – productively pairing Starks with the former homeowners who need her right now.  

“I was introduced to PropertyRadar and was overwhelmed with all of its capabilities,” she explains. “It’s my right hand.”

PropertyRadar seamlessly places the power of public records into the pocket of the consumer.

It allows customers, just like Starks, to quickly narrow their search with detailed filtering and personalization, equipping them with the technological tools necessary to build customized lists of properties and people that need them most.

With this power to narrow her search so quickly, Starks is able to act fast.

Really fast. 

A Powerful Story Of A Bright Future

“Imagine going through divorce and foreclosure at the same time.”


It’s a compelling story of one of Starks’ early clients, a woman in the midst of separation and losing her home simultaneously – a horror for anyone, let alone someone supporting young children.

“Her house was the first property up for bid on the block that day,” Starks explains. “It sold at 10:15. I got the email and I was on the phone with her by 10:20.”

But for someone in the midst of suffering, such good news can be met with skepticism. The woman asked Starks if her proposal to assist her in recovering these unclaimed funds was a scam.

It was not. Just the power of restoration at work.

“Your house sold for $182,000 more than your debt that was owed,” Starks recalls telling her. “So, after the legal fees come out, whatever is left is yours.”

Starks was 15 minutes away from the potential client at the time and offered to meet. But the woman needed some time to think on it.

Thankfully, she called Starks back the next day, they met at a nearby Starbucks to sign the paperwork…and the rest is history.

“The check came on Friday, October 13th,” Stark says smiling. “We went back to that Starbucks. Sat at the same table where we signed the agreement...I'm getting emotional thinking about it!"

“Seeing someone’s life change just that drastically from homeless and divorced, with small children, to having $164,000 to start over with, is amazing.”

And that’s putting it lightly.

“It’s like Christmas every time I do that for somebody.”

Keep Growing? Starks Plans On It

Confirming that she’ll continue to leverage direct mail and PropertyRadar to find those who need her most, Starks remains grateful for her position to support the most vulnerable – all while creating a lasting impact on her community.


“I’m a four-time cancer survivor,” she notes.

“And in 2017, I was given 90 days to live,” she smiles, throwing her hands into a shrug. “I’m still here! And part of my mission for the time I have allotted here is to help as many people as I can.”

“To go through the devastation of losing a home is just demoralizing, it’s difficult, it’s hard, it’s all of that." And for hundreds of thousands of families across the country, this reality means an abrupt stop to life as they know it. 

In the first half of 2023, there were over 185,000 U.S. properties with foreclosure filings, a steep increase of 13% from the same time last year.

Foreclosure can easily mean homelessness and uncertain next steps for those already struggling.

But it doesn’t have to.  

That’s where Starks comes in.


Driven to serve and always willing to go the extra mile, she gives away her personal cell phone number and gets close to the clients she works with.

Why? It’s all part of her empathetic approach that has helped her get this far.

“I try to build credibility, and relationship, and authenticity with everybody I speak with,” she explains. “It’s hard for me to stay away and just be a consultant because these stories are so endearing that I consider these people almost family.”

One such story?

A young man serving in the military at the border whose father is homeless, having not known about his foreclosure.

“So I’ve become part of their family. Helping to facilitate getting him off of the street and getting him care,” noting she’s waiting on the final papers to come through so she can give the family a total of nearly $172,000.

But Starks isn’t stopping there.

From that point, the focus is to “get him into an assisted living facility and get his son back on the frontlines with the military.”

Going above and beyond is simply what Starks does. And she leverages PropertyRadar every step of the way to make it happen.

“Consider me your brand ambassador,” she exclaims laughing. “It’s definitely been a game changer for me.”

“I am in no ways Oprah Winfrey, but – you know - she has her favorite things, so in my illustrious eleven months in this business, I have built up a list of favorite things, and PropertyRadar is one of those.”

And if she wasn’t doing enough good already, Starks makes time to help those in similar industries coast to coast on particularly tough cases.

shutterstock_2383624417 (1)-4

“I have another colleague in the group who has been working on a case here in Dallas for two years, getting nowhere,” she notes. “Twelve days [and] we had a check for them for $25,000 using PropertyRadar.”

Offering business development training and resources on how to get "unstuck" for people new to the surplus funds and recovery niche is just another way Patrice shows commitment to training those following in her footsteps.

From marketing to mentorship, she hosts a number of opportunities to partner throughout the calendar year. Interested? Reach out to her directly for details.

In the meantime, for Starks and the powerful force of restoration, the horizon is bright.  

“I am set to have had a million dollars…flow through my company this first year,” Starks adds.

And she’s just getting started.

Want to learn more? 


Get started now with a free trial, and leverage PropertyRadar's powerful interface, seamless search capabilities, and generate thousands of new leads on buyers, sellers, and properties to kick-start your sales this year. 

Get Started →


Start discovering new opportunities using public records data today.

Try It Free Schedule Demo