I used to think if you weren’t fighting for every deal then, somehow, you weren’t really earning it. And that meant my property flipping efforts were a true uphill battle every single time. Looking back, I want to pull my hair out. What was I thinking?
Back then, I’d scour an area for what I believed were great deals, often, fighting tooth and nail to get my hands on that property—think, intense seller negotiations, lengthy back and forths and, sometimes, concessions that didn’t thrill my real estate agent. But, from my perspective, I was getting these fantastic properties and, usually, I was getting them for solid prices and flipping them for a couple of bucks. I was making money and I was happy about it. And things went on that way for quite a while.
Then a switch flipped—then I saw what I’d been missing. Sure, I was growing my business, but every single deal was a battle, from the minute I engaged seller leads until they finally—FINALLY—handed over the keys. I was making money, but it was exhausting and time consuming. Why couldn’t these sellers see that I was doing them a favor? I was buying their house—I was solving their problems! And I was doing it quickly, easily and respectfully. Why didn’t it feel that way?
Why Motivated Sellers Matter
And then I met a different kind of seller. On the surface, they looked the same as all the others I’d worked with, but once I got deeper into the purchase process, I realized I was dealing with a totally different animal. This time, I was dealing with a truly motivated seller. They were forthcoming about issues with the property, and acknowledged that those hiccups would likely impact the final sale price. They happily accepted my first offer—a reasonable but very buyer-friendly price. They were willing to let my contractors walk through the property any time—they even put a lockbox on the door at one point. And when it was time to wrap things up, they were fine with a two-week close and getting themselves packed up and moved out on my timeline.
It was like lightening struck. What was I doing with these high-touch sellers who couldn’t see the value in me or my business? Working with a motivated seller took a fraction of the time and helped me make significantly more money on that next flip. It was perfect—perfect for me, perfect for my business and perfect for the seller.
As a real estate investor, motivated sellers are the lifeblood of your business. These sellers will make the earliest steps in your deals—the actual acquisition piece—infinitely easier. Because motivated sellers are motivated, they’ll be willing to bend over backwards to make sure the deal gets done. From being open to price negotiations to being flexible with closing dates to helping streamline all of the pre-close steps, motivated sellers want and often need to sell. And that means they’re just as invested in getting this deal done as you are—maybe more.
So the big question: how do you find these engaged, agreeable and primed to sell homeowners? There are lots of ways—and most are very simple and very straightforward. Focus on these tactics to help engage the best and most motivated of the bunch. Because the more of these deals you can scoop up, the more income potential and the fewer headaches you’ll have going forward.
#1. Offer Cash—And Make It CLEAR
While cash is always king in real estate investing, motivated sellers need to sell so, to them, cash is even better than king. Because these sellers can’t or don’t want to slow their process at all, the thought of waiting on a buyer to shore up bank funding can be painstaking—they just want to get the deal done and get it done fast.
Bigger than that, though, many motivated sellers are sitting on a property with some major issues—issues that, in some cases, could keep a bank from turning over the cash. If a bank appraiser feels a home is worth less than a buyer is paying for it, it could send the deal into a downward spiral. If a seller is scared that could happen, cash deals start to look even better—and, chances are, they’ll negotiate big time if a buyer is willing to go that route.
If that’s your plan, make it clear. Tout the fact that you buy houses for cash in your Craigslist ads, bandit signs and other external communications. When you first engage a seller lead, make sure they know you’re a cash buyer who can manage a quick close. This will automatically show you’re a legitimate investor and that you have the means to get the deal done. The results speak for themselves—sellers are more engaged and manageable from go, and you’ll likely wind up with a glut of leads coming straight to you. Once the word gets out, you’ll be a first call for many.
#2. Buying Properties “As Is”
Number two is, in many cases, just an extension of number one. Why are people afraid their properties will appraise for less? Because they’re in need of some serious TLC. That’s where you come in—you’re going to do some major rehab work on the property anyway, right? So you’re probably much more willing than the average retail buyer to accept a property “as is.” And that’s music to a motivated seller’s ears.
Just like you mention you buy houses for cash in your marketing and lead generation outreach, be sure you also add the fact that you’ll buy “as is.” It’s as simple as explaining you buy ANY house in ANY condition for cash—and explaining it very succinctly, since we all know people have zero attention span.
Knowing that you won’t be scrutinizing their property and demanding a host of concessions will instantly reframe your conversations with sellers, and make those first few steps that much easier and that much more productive.
#3. Drive For Dollars
While it’s not a perfect method, I know lots of real estate investors who have had good luck simply driving for dollars. What does that mean? Exactly what it sounds like—they literally hop in the car and drive through neighborhoods they’re interested in. When they see a house with a “FOR SALE” sign or, even, a house that looks visibly distressed and unkempt, they hop out and leave a letter in the mailbox or under the front door. The letter simply explains that they’re a real estate investor and that they buy houses as is, for cash. It also includes simple next steps if they’re interested—a website to visit, a phone number to call or an email address for any inquiries.
Some investors I know will even take things a step further and knock on the door, introducing themselves to the homeowner and explaining their business. Are some doors slammed in their face? Absolutely. But do they often engage and, even, convert a seller prospect into a great deal? No doubt.
It’s not a perfect system but, done right, it can yield solid results. Often if a house looks abandoned or not cared for there’s a reason. The seller could be in pre-foreclosure and not know what to do next, they could have inherited a home that they can’t take care of, or they may have already left town—in any of these scenarios, you’ve likely spotted a motivated seller. Get to them first and you could have a great deal on your hands.
Your Next Step: Find The Motivated Sellers
Motivated sellers are one of the best finds in real estate, hands down. Focus on finding and engaging motivated sellers and you’ll close more deals more quickly, and make more money from those deals. What could be better?
We’ll talk motivated sellers—where to find them, what to say to them, how to craft high value deals with them—at the Nick Vertucci Real Estate Academy (NVREA). It’s a key piece of the business and one that can’t be oversold. If you know how to fill your pipeline with these homeowners and get them to close as fast as possible, you’re going to have a serious leg up on the competition. Besides that, you’re going to have a more seamless and, more often than not, a hassle-free path to close. And what real estate investor isn’t craving that right about now?