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15 Questions to ID Motivated Sellers FAST PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Butler   
Friday, 26 February 2010 20:10

How to ID Motivated Sellers Fast

Here Are Your Questions. It’s important to ask them in this order because you’re gonna ask questions many folks would label private and confidential. There’s a method to my madness here in developing rapport with your seller. It allows them to feel comfortable with answering sensitive private questions:

1.)    Name and Phone Numbers. Make this your number one question because cell phones seem to drop calls at the most inopportune time, like right now. Get the phone number they’re calling from first and blame it on the cell phone, they’ll understand. Later during this same conversation, get as many phone numbers as they can think of or remember. Get their home phone, cell phone, work phone, pager, etc.

2.)    Source: Ask how they found you. Most investors ignore this question. Not only will this help you track your marketing or advertising, but it will also immediately identify any existing relationship from someone who recommended you. This could put you in the driver’s seat setting the stage for immediate loyalty. Perhaps you bought their neighbor’s house or their uncle’s and they were happy with your results.

3.)    Address and Cross Street. Ask for the address and the nearest cross streets. Keep asking the cross streets until YOU can identify the neighborhood or part of town that rings a bell with your noggin. Don’t confuse this with specific driving directions. You’re simply trying to locate the area quickly on your local mental  map. It doesn’t matter if you use landmarks, grocery stores on major streets, just something to give you a quick idea what end of town this property is located.

4.)    “ASKING Price”: Ask for the sale price of the property along with how they got their sale price. They may use a tax assessment, a recent appraisal from some kind of recent refinancing, or a relative or friend who’s a real estate agent.

5.)    Vacant: Is the property vacant or occupied? If occupied, who’s living there? This will also be helpful in identifying a motivated seller.

6.)    “Tell Me About Your House” This is one of your most powerful statements. Keep in mind, you’re in the people business. It’s so much easier to create deals when you have a motivated seller who likes you. Folks love to yap. This is how counselors make a living. People who have problems go to a shrink to “vent” and verbalize their problems. They get to talk about it, get it off their chest, and they feel better. Amazing. Do the same for your seller. If they really are a motivated seller, they’ll bump their gums a lot on this one. Don’t cut your seller off and force them to answer “Yes, No, 3, 4, etc.” Let them talk and they’ll like you better. Remember, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use it. When you say “Tell Me About Your House” the seller will ramble on and on and on….

Here’s the information you should be able to capture while they’re responding. (This prevents you from asking them a bunch of Yes/No questions):

·         Number of Bedrooms

·         Number of Bathrooms

·         Square Footage

·         Year Built

·         Style – Ranch, 1 story, Cape Cod, etc.

·         Construction – Brick, Siding, Wood

·         Garage -  #, attached, detached.

·         Basement, Crawl, Slab

PAIN: There’s a very painful component involved with asking a seller to “Tell Me About Your House.” It never fails. They always tell you how much they’ve done and were planning on doing. BITE YOUR LIP and let them ramble on about this stuff. IT MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD because you’re listening. They’ll tell you about all the stuff and material they’ve already purchased and have stacked up downstairs or in the garage. You must have patience. You’re not taking notes on this part…. Just listening.

7.)    REPAIRS: Ask the seller what repairs are needed. Sometimes they get confused and try to revert back to all the wonderful things they’ve done. You must be a tad bit firm here and explain what they’ve done is nice; however, you must ask them straight up “If I buy your house, what repairs must be done?” If they answer “nothing” follow up with “Doesn’t it need paint and carpet?” If they need a little help here, ask them about the roof, electric, plumbing, kitchen, bathrooms, windows, doors, furnace, and air-conditioning. Jot notes on items you suspect may need updating.

8.)    “Why are You Unloading this Property?” Don’t ask them why they’re selling this house. This one powerful question should immediately identify whether you’re dealing with a motivated seller. The word “unload” is very powerful and it communicates immediately you expect a deal. If they frown, back-peddle, or say they’re not unloading this house, you may not have a motivated seller. Many common reasons involve settling estates, divorce, job loss, medical tragedies, downsizing, moving to assisted care facility, job relocation, family growth, and more.

Two additional powerful phrases in this arena:

“Do You Need Top Price or a Fast Sale?”

“Do You Need Any Money or Just Want To Get It Out Of Your Name?”

If your seller has a reason such as trying to sell in order to buy another home sometime soon…. Odds are, your wasting your time. But don’t trash this information now. Save it and follow up with them in a month or two. They may become motivated later.

9.)    IDENTIFY THE OWNERS: Ask who owns the property. This may seem elementary, but many investors have wasted days, not hours, dealing with friends, in-laws, out-laws, and even helpful neighbors of the real owners. Most of the time, only owners can sell a property to you. Why not make sure you’re dealing with the right person in the first place.

A real eye opener in my state involves married folks. Odds are you’re gonna get a married couple getting divorced and one party owned the house BEFORE they got married. This same person honestly believes it’s their house and they can sell it on their own without their spouse. Unknown to them, they must have their soon to be ex-spouse sign off on the deed to properly sell the property even though their name is nowhere on the deed. This sometimes makes them madder than a mashed duck. So if your state is similar, and their reason for selling is a divorce, you should ask about the ex-spouse’s involvement in the sale up front.

10.)            Liens / Encumbrances / Mortgages: You must position yourself to make the seller comfortable by asking questions in a manner that’s not offensive to them. Don’t start off by asking them how much they owe. Ask them who gets their monthly mortgage payments. It’s implied it’s ok to have a mortgage on their house.

If they hesitate with this question, tell them you’re not asking them for their account number or any personal information. Tell them you have relationships with some lenders and mortgage companies and it could be a big factor in your decision to buy their property. That’s pretty easy and not very personal. If you fire them a question of how much do you owe, they’ll usually immediately retreat telling you “it’s none of your business.” When this happens, you might have shot down all of the rapport building that occurred during the “tell me about your house.” Asking the lender’s name is a baby step forward to getting the information gracefully.

* how much is their monthly payment?
* does it include taxes and insurance?
* interest rate, fixed or adjustable?
* When did this loan start? (with this info you should be able to ball-park the balance if loan is current)
* “How Many Payments Behind Are You?” Do NOT ask “Are You Behind?” The first question implies it’s ok and acceptable to be behind on your house payments. The second question sets the stage for the seller to be perceived as not being responsible. Nobody wants to be called something bad. If they say they’re 3 months behind… DOUBLE IT. Always double the numbers of months behind on payments as a starting point. You can even ask them “You say you’re 3 months behind, could it be 6 months?” Surprisingly, they’ll usually say “yes.”
* Now you can ask “How much do you think you owe to XYZ Mortgage Company?”
* Repeat the same for a 2nd position mortgage and even 3rd position mortgages and loans. Remember, some sellers consider refinancing a 1st mortgage results in their 2nd mortgage. This can be frustrating at times.

The purpose of asking these questions is to allow you the opportunity to pre-screen and quickly identify not only a motivated seller, but your ability to make a marginal deal into a very good deal. Many homeowners now have very low fixed rate interest loans making very good “subject to” opportunities for you.

For example, the property involved may be exactly the kind of property you desire and your seller may already have a 2 year old, 30 year, 4.0% fixed rate loan in place. This might be right up your alley. Caution: buying property “subject to” existing loans usually allows lenders the opportunity to call the entire note due and payable with the sale of the property. In other words, the lender could choose to make you pay the loan off in full or foreclose on the property.

This isn’t meant to terrify you, only to inform you of the risks associated with certain strategies. Learn how to properly and successfully use the “subject to” technique with minimal risk in the Jumpin’ Loans course.

11.)            How long have you owned this house? Is an easy question to help verify the integrity of their information without leaving your desk. Most towns now have public records available on the internet. Use it to your benefit.

12.)            Listed with a Real Estate Company? If yes, how long has it been listed? This speaks for itself. If you’re licensed, you’re probably forbidden from talking directly with the seller since they’ve hired an agent to represent them. If you’re licensed you should ask this question and not try to ignore or play “ostrich” because you’re held to a higher standard as a licensed professional. No big deal, just call their agent and work with them.

13.)           Would You Consider Owner Financing? Sets the stage to get them thinking about it even if they say no now. Most of my super deals involved seller financing.

14.)            Do you have other properties to unload? You may stumble onto a retiring investor or someone expecting to sell other properties in the  near future. Most things are cheaper when you buy in bulk. Consider a package deal.

15.)           “If I offered you all cash in 2 days, what’s the least amount you can accept?…(their answer).. is this the best you can do?” Memorize this one. If you’re dealing with a motivated seller, they’ll ALWAYS reduce their price from the beginning of the conversation. I’ve had as much as a 50k drop during the first phone call. It’s very important to get their sale price at the beginning and use this question at the end.

With this information captured correctly, you can now pre-screen and identify a motivated seller FAST and cut through the bull. If you know your market and you feel an opportunity, you can make arrangements to see the property to “verify” the information learned on the phone.

If you don’t know your market, get on your computer and check it out or call a real estate agent. Know your market is a must to operate effectively in your town. Sharp investors identify an opportunity with this information because they know their market.

Former Police Officer, Mike Butler is an incredibly successful Real Estate Investor who has helped thousands of students put their real estate investing business on autopilot.

Following Up with Motivated Sellers Can Make You Millions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathy Kennebrook   
Friday, 26 February 2010 19:49

Let me ask you a question; are you properly managing your prospects? Are you taking the time to follow up with the sellers who didn’t initially accept your offers, or the sellers you still need to make offers to? Did you know that you are leaving thousands of dollars in potential income behind if you aren’t following up with sellers? One of the easiest ways to make a fortune in the real estate business and gain the advantage over your competition is to take the time to follow up with motivated and semi-motivated sellers.

You’ve already got the seller in your pipeline, you’ve already done the marketing and spent the money to find this person, now all you need to do is to follow up with them until they either sell you their property or tell you to go away. How much simpler could it be?

There are two types of sellers we are going to follow up with, those we’ve already made offers to who haven’t accepted our offer and those who have not made any decision after our initial contact with them. Quite often, you will need to make multiple contacts with sellers before their situation changes and dictates that they sell their property to you. If you stay in touch with these sellers, you build credibility with them and when it comes time to sell they will contact you first, even if they have been contacted by someone else in the meantime.

There are a lot of investors in the market these days, and most of them have a very limited knowledge of how the whole follow-up process works, not to mention the inability to create successful deals. What they don’t realize is that many of the sellers you will be dealing with have a variety of problems they aren’t sure how to solve until they are contacted by you. Some of those may include divorce situations, estates or health issues where there may be emotions tied to the property. With these sellers it may take a little longer before they make that final decision to sell.

Most of your competitors will simply throw these potential deals in the trash when they don’t get the property under contract after the initial contact or offer is made. I have made deals many months after the initial contact with the seller was made simply because I took the time to follow up. Not only did I build credibility with the seller, but now they like me better and trust me more than the next investor who may come along.

These are the types of sellers I will place in my follow-up system and follow up with at least every thirty to sixty days if not more often. I have made thousands of dollars on deals other investors would simply have thrown in the trash because I took the time to follow up with a semi-motivated seller.

In addition, with the help of a fellow investor who is also a software developer, I now have an incredible software system that does all the work for me. It reminds me when I need to do my direct mail campaigns, it reminds me when to follow up with sellers, it has a section to track potential buyers and build a buyer’s list, and it keeps all the information on the properties stored including a photo.


Best Kept Secrets To Get More Motivated Sellers Contacting You PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kathy Kennebrook   
Thursday, 25 February 2010 16:34

What every Investor Needs to Know To Get a Flood of Motivated Sellers

Getting motivated sellers to contact you first is essential to any successful Real Estate Investor’s business. A truly motivated seller is the key to a good deal; the more motivated the seller, the better the deal. You will find very quickly, as I did, that you will be able to buy a lot more houses at much better prices if you target the right sellers. You will also get the terms you want when the seller contacts you first, especially in some of today’s really hot real estate markets. You’ll want to target the kind of sellers who truly need to sell as opposed to those who just want to sell, including those sellers in pre-foreclosure.

Marketing to sellers is also a numbers’ game.  The more motivated sellers you are able to locate, the more motivated sellers you will have contacting you, and the more opportunities you’ll have to make good deals. The secret is in learning how to find the truly motivated sellers.

Whom exactly are you going to be marketing to? Motivation comes in many forms. Sellers need to sell for a variety of reasons. Some reasons have to do with the sellers themselves, such as age, health status, job situations, personal situations, financial difficulties, change in family size or change in marital status.

Other reasons might have to do with the property itself, such as an estate, a property that needs too much work, or a property that has been vacant for a significant period of time. This would also include land lords who have simply had enough of tenants damaging their properties over and over again.

So how do you find these sellers and how should you market to them? The best way I’ve found to do this is by using at least three to five different marketing strategies at all times.  One of the multi-pronged marketing approaches is the proper use of direct mail to reach these very motivated sellers. You always want to be reaching your market in a variety of different ways to draw the highest number of motivated sellers to you.

The BIG secret to effective direct mail campaigns is to use them over and over to the same potential sellers. As you will quickly discover, given time, almost every potential sellers’ circumstances change and make them more ready to sell.

I also find that these mailings are very residual. These potential sellers will hold onto your direct mail pieces until their circumstances dictate that they contact you. The amazing thing is that when they are ready, they will contact YOU first.  They probably have not had any contact from anyone else, because usually their properties are not being actively marketed.

Since they are not being actively marketed, there is virtually no competition for these deals. And… if you take the time to actively follow up with your direct mail campaigns and with your sellers, these sellers will contact you first when they need to sell, even if they have been contacted by someone else in the meantime.

This makes it even easier for you to make a good deal. In addition, during the time you have been mailing sequentially to these potential sellers, you continue to build credibility with them. This will give you a significant advantage over your competition, since these sellers feel they already have a “relationship” with you.

The biggest part of the secret is to find the sellers who really want to sell. I use different direct mail campaigns to successfully locate several types of motivated sellers. The best way for you to build your business quickly is to use a number of different methods to draw motivated sellers simultaneously.

This can best be done by locating mailing lists and refining them to meet your specific criteria, and then mail to them over and over, cleaning your lists as you go. I find that I get the best results by mailing to my lists at least every sixty to ninety days. This is very easy to do if you implement a follow up system which will help you to track your mailings and your deals.

You’ll also quickly discover that different types of direct mail pieces and lists work better in some parts of the country than in others. Some of these lists might include mailings to out of state property owners, burned out land lords, military transfers, estates or pre-foreclosures. These are all sources of highly motivated sellers.

Be sure to give your potential sellers several different ways to contact you such as mail, e-mail, fax, phone and a website. The more ways you give these sellers to contact you, the more of them will contact you, especially when you make it more convenient for them by giving them several ways to reach you. This way they can contact you in the way that is the most comfortable for them and at their convenience.

When you learn how to get motivated sellers contacting you and then learn how to purchase properties using a number of different methods, the possibilities become almost endless. If you use several different methods to get motivated sellers contacting you, you will have more opportunities than you can even imagine. You get to pick and choose the deals that you want to do!  Because you get to pick and choose the deals you want to do, you can also pick the exit strategy that most suits your needs, such as wholesaling, renting, selling or lease/options. There is no other marketing strategy that gives you this much control over your deals.

In addition, in today’s market, since so many folks are focused on pre-foreclosures, there is a whole other market of sellers who need our help as well, like divorces, estates and probate, military transfers, burned out landlords and Spanish Speaking homeowners. These are just a few of the types of sellers we need to be concentrating on to create great deals, including those that come with owner financing.

Using direct mail campaigns to market to motivated sellers and developing a “cookie cutter” system to accomplish this is one of most affordable, reliable, and effective ways that I know to build your business quickly and have more qualified motivated sellers contacting you than you will be able to handle.


Kathy Kennebrook is the Marketing Magic Lady. She shows investors and students around the world, how to generate an upper six figure income by mailing a handful of letters throughout the year to highly selected targets by knowing exactly what to send them, who to send them to and exactly how to deliver it.The secrets that she is discovered will increase your business several fold if you implement them and make it easier for you to find the highest number of motivated sellers with the least amount of work.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 19:30

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