Why Deadlines Will Save You Time and Hassles

by | BiggerPockets.com

Want to learn how to save time and headaches when dealing with sellers? Well, the other day I was working with an investor who mentioned to me that he just couldn’t seem to close the current deal he was working on. It was a perfect subject-to deal, and the seller seemed pretty motivated, however, whenever it came time to sign the contract the seller delayed and said he needed more time to think about it. This had been going on for a month and a half.

So what did I tell this investor to do? I told him to give the seller a deadline. I told him to call the seller up and without sounding pushy, tell him the following: “Mr. Seller, this is John with ABC Realty. I just wanted to let you know that my supervisors told me we will need your decision whether or not you want to sell the house by Monday the 24th. We are looking at several properties right now and by the 24th we are going to purchase our latest batch of properties for the time being. So, please let me know by the 24th if you would like to sell your house to us. After the 24th we will be unable to assist you”.

A Deadline Works Every Time

I’ve seen too many investors spend months “playing games” with a seller trying to get them to sign a contract. They could have saved themselves a lot of hassle if they would have given the seller a deadline early on. When I have a half-motivated seller I give them a week to sign the contract. I don’t want to waste any more time with a person than a week… they’re either going to sign or not.

Now, I know a lot of you reading this are probably afraid of all of the deals you’ll lose by giving people deadlines. Here’s what you do: Let’s say you gave a seller a deadline and it passed without you getting a signed contract. Well, in 30 days from now just call or send a letter to the seller and let him know that your company is getting ready to buy some more properties and does the seller want to sell at this time.

What If a Seller Calls After The Deadline?

Also, a lot of times you will have a seller call you right after your deadline and they’re finally motivated and want to sell. You can do two things. You can let them know that you’ll make an exception for them and then go ahead and sign the paperwork and buy the house. Or you can make them sweat it out. Tell them that your company won’t be buying any houses for 30 days and that they will be first in line at that time and you will call them then. Or you could have them sign the paperwork and you don’t put your signature on it for 30 days.

It all depends on how much you have going on and also if the seller has been difficult or not. I’ve gotten some difficult sellers who missed my deadline and I made them wait (I was also very busy at the time). The people who you make wait, often become super-motivated and you can end up negotiating a better deal for yourself and getting them to pay closing costs, reduce the price more, etc.

Don’t spend another minute without giving sellers a deadline. Your time is valuable and should not be wasted on flaky sellers who may never sign a contract.

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. Deadlines are quite helpful, I make sure to keep them on all of the contracts. That way I can put things into the calendar and keep myself organized knowing that is the latest day that something will happen.


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