One of the key skills you’ll need to learn as an investor is how to structure deals. When you get really good at this, you’ll be able to pull some real magic tricks out of your hat and profit from deals that other investors wouldn’t touch because they can’t figure out how to make it work. I’m not there yet…I’m definitely still in the learning stages. I spent my first year in real estate investing only making offers on bank owned properties, but once you deal with private sellers it is an entirely different ball game. In fact, I’ve dealt with lots of rejected offers from private sellers over the past several months. Sure, sometimes the sellers simply aren’t motivated enough, but I also have to consider how I can structure and present my offers in such a way that I can increase my number of accepted offers.
In case you’re in a similar boat, I thought I would share a few tips that I’m putting into practice that I’ve received from my mentor as well as fellow investors with several more years of experience under their belts working directly with home owners:
#1: Always provide a written offer
It’s easy to think that you’re saving time by giving sellers verbal offers, but frankly everyone likes to “see it in writing.” Regardless of whether you think your offer will be accepted or not, put the offer in writing and allow the seller a chance to review it and give it due consideration.
#2: Remember cash isn’t always king – give options!
In the beginning, all I would make are low cash offers thinking “Cash is king, right?” Well, yes and no. It can be king for some sellers, but not for others because it really depends on the seller’s situation. Be sure to give the sellers options. If you ask the seller some key questions (e.g. how much is owed on the property, why they are looking to sell, what they plan to do with the money after they sell) you will be able to determine what types of deal structures could possibly work. For example, your written offer can include a few different options:
- “Subject to” (liens remain in place and you take over the payments)
- Seller financing
- Combination of “Subject to” and seller financing
#3 Consider an option contract
If your intent is to assign the contract and the seller just doesn’t seem to want to meet you at a number you’re 100% confident with, consider an option contract at the sellers price and just go out there and see if you can find a buyer within the option period (get at least 90 days). There’s no risk! If the seller’s price is completely unreasonable, you don’t need to waste your time….but if its just a little bit too high for your comfort level, go ahead and get that option agreement signed and see what you can do with it.
#4 Consider a partnership
My mentor gave me an example of a deal he did where there was substantial equity in the property but the home needed a lot of work. After a rehab, it was going to be an excellent home to sell to a retail buyer. What he did was set up a contract with the seller and they agreed to rehab the property, market it, sell it, and split the profits. The seller paid the mortgage and carrying costs while the rehab was completed and they both made a nice profit when the property was sold. A win-win for everyone.
#5 Always follow up
Persistence pays. Even if the offer is rejected now, the seller may have a change of heart later. Be sure to follow up a few months after you’ve made the offer and check in to see how things are going. I’m currently working on a deal with a seller I made an offer to back in November! This is more common than you’d think. Don’t miss out on deals because of a lack of follow up.
I hope these ideas are helpful. If you have others, please do share in the comments below!
Image credit: Icky Pic