The Door Knocker: What They Are, Why You Need Them

May 4, 2022

Lauren Wells



As a non-performing note investor, inevitably there will come a time when the borrower is not responsive to your servicer and you would like to confirm occupancy status on the property. In these instances, you may want to send a “Door Knocker” to the property.

What is a “Door Knocker”?

A door knocker is an individual who visits a vacant note property to confirm occupancy status. This can be done in many ways, but most commonly it is done by knocking on the front door and ringing the doorbell.

Door Knockers are TRAINED representatives whose purpose is to:

  • Confirm Occupancy
  • Make right-party contact*
  • Deliver documents

*In some instances, when making right-party contact, they may even facilitate a “hot transfer.” This is when they get the servicer on the phone to speak with the borrower.

When to Use a Door Knocker

Door knockers are used when attempts to make contact with the borrower have been unsuccessful after 3-4 weeks. The most common scenario is after acquiring a loan and it has been transferred to a new servicer. Why is this the case? How many times have you gotten a letter thinking it was a statement and just threw it away?

Why Use a Trained Door Knocker?

A Door Knocking Company will have agents who follow strict instructions to remain compliant with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The agents understand the basic, yet critical, concepts of professionalism and respect.

Furthermore, keep in mind that these individuals are putting their lives on the line by approaching a stranger’s home to inquire about a debt they may owe or inform them that their lender wants to talk with them. They have no idea what lies when they pull into the driveway or knock on that door. You must ensure that your field agent is safe.

Why Use Door Knockers vs. Mailing a Certified Letter

Using a door knocker is more formal and allows for face-to-face communication, demonstrating that you are serious about contacting them. Also, a door knocker is putting eyes on the property and can provide you with photos and advise you of the condition of the property. When utilizing a door knocker, be sure you use a provider who provides you with a comprehensive report.

What is in a Door Knockers Report?

A report from a qualified Door Knocking company is highly informative. The report includes photographs of the property, the property condition and occupancy status. If the door knocker is unsuccessful in making contact, they may contact neighbors to confirm if the property is occupied and by who. 

In the last report I received, the property was vacant, and the agent provided seven photos. The typical photos are street view, front view, address verification and proof that the letter is posted to the door. The door knocker was able to learn how long the home had been unoccupied by speaking with a neighbor and obtaining details. This data is important because it forms part of your overall plan for managing this asset and only sending someone to the property will provide this insight.

BONUS: Things to Consider When Sending a Door Knocker

If a request was made for the field agent to visit the property at a specific time and call a specific phone number to reach you, they will do their best to accommodate you on your request. However, if your servicer is not available to take the call or the borrower is not at home, it is not the door knocker’s fault. Although most businesses will make at least two attempts to contact the borrower, if the borrower is not home or does not answer their phone, the agent is unable to do much more than leave a sealed letter attached to the door. The field agents will usually only leave a company-provided generic letter. The best practice is not to put any confidential information in this letter or make the letter sound threatening. Put yourself in the borrowers’ shoes; would you be happy to find correspondence taped to your door which contained confidential information or, better yet, a threatening letter? Remember that you can accomplish a lot more by being professional and polite than by being harsh. As they say, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Where to Find a Door Knocker?

If you require a professional door knocker, reach out to us and we can provide you information about a reputable door knocking firm.

We hope this article gave you the basics about door knockers. Visit our podcast to learn more about the ins and outs of mortgage note investing.

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