5 Things Never to Say to Any Seller

by | BiggerPockets.com

Most of us will inevitably have to speak and interact with sellers, again.  This can be a nerve racking time for both you and the seller(s).  Whether you are just starting or an old pro, we all feel the butterflies from time to time.

Don’t let inexperience sabotage a potential slam-dunk deal.  It is too easy to let a seemingly harmless comment permanently damage your relationship with the seller.  People have all sorts of personality style, speech patterns and humor levels; being respectful and learning these will help you relate better to people.

Let’s cover some common things that investors say or do that you shouldn’t:

  • Being too honest – Yes you should always be honest with everyone, but walking through a property pointing out every flaw will not earn you points with the seller. I remember walking through a property for sale and laughing jokingly at the terrible paint job in one of the bedrooms.  It turns out the seller’s daughter, who had passed away years before, had painted the room herself.  Needless to say I felt like a jerk and the rest of the time I spent there seemed uneasy.

    The property will always have more sentimental value to the seller than to you.  No matter the condition, stay professional and never look down at a sellers’ living conditions.  The sellers need a friend now more than ever.  Acknowledge the defect, account for it, and move on.

  • You’re not going to get that price – People typically do not like to be told that they can’t or won’t get something.  It is important the sellers know you have their best interests in mind, and that you’re not just trying to make a quick buck.  If the seller is asking way too much for their home, tell them by being honest and tactful.  Tell the seller the current prices your company is buying comparable properties for in the area. If you haven’t yet bought a property make up a reasonable, but low price as an example to the seller.  Try suggesting that the seller list the property through a Realtor, this instantly establishes a bond of trust because you are giving the seller an outside alternative to you/your company — plus, you can already assume the seller won’t call a Realtor because they need a fast sale.
  • I can definitely do that – You always have the best of intentions when promising a seller something, but issues may always arise. Try to always under promise and over deliver.  Sadly, in the past, I have done the exact opposite!  It is hard to regain trust with anyone when you agree to a certain price or terms and can’t deliver.  Until you write a contract use words like; “this sounds doable”, or “I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting this done.”
  • I have all the answers – Unless you know everything about everything (no one does), you will never have all the answers.  Often when we first start investing, we dread being asked a question we can’t answer as real estate can be confusing.

    What will happen if you do not have an immediate answer to a seller’s question?
    You may think that you’ll be laughed at, called a fraud and ran out of town!  

    Of course not.  

    If the sellers know you are passionate about helping them, you don’t have the answers to every question.  Say something like, “that’s a great question.  I am curious about that myself.  I’ll get that answer for you within the day.”

  • Take it or leave it – Some investors tell sellers to “Take it or Leave it.”   It is easy to develop a rapport with sellers if you end up following these investors to the door.  While “take it or leave it” gets your point across, it leaves no wiggle room for the seller.  When you lock yourself into 1 or 2 firm offers, you cut the seller off from giving you feedback; you may have been only be a few cents away from finalizing a great deal.

As real estate investors, we tend to look at properties just as numbers on a balance sheet. How much cash can we make on this deal?  Try to always remember that the house might still be a home.  Be a friend to the seller, stay professional, and make the sweetest deal you can.  You will be surprised how these little tricks can help you close loads more deals.  Plus the positive word of mouth advertising will be priceless.

Profitable investing everyone for 2010!

– J. Fed

About Author

John Fedro

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a 4-bedroom mobile home inside of a pre-existing mobile home park. Over the next 11 months, John added 10 more mobile homes to his cash-flowing portfolio. Since these early years, John has gone on to help 150+ sellers and buyers sell their unwanted mobile homes and obtain a safe and affordable manufactured home of their own. Years later, John keeps to what has been successful—buying, fixing, renting, and reselling affordable housing known as mobile homes. John shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the stories of other successful mobile home investors he helps on his blog and YouTube channeland has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest here and on other prominent real estate podcasts, authored a highly-rated book aimed at increasing the happiness/satisfaction of average real estate investors, and spoken to national and international audiences concerning the opportunities and practicality of successfully investing in mobile homes.


  1. LeJon Ratchford on

    I can not agree more. In my area there are many who have lost employment due to companies shutting down or leaving the area. My primary goal is to help my clients and inform them that I am aware of what is happening and I will do my best to help, try to be a friend. Hopefully they will see I really do care and not trying to make a easy dollar at their expense. Great Thread!

  2. I can tell ya I’ve been caught saying to the seller that I can do something in particular and then immediately saying to myself, “Why did I just say that”

    I think these are great points even for seasoned investors who at times have to humble themselves and remember, they’re not the Trump 🙂

  3. I’ve seen a lot of investors, wholesalers in particular, refuse to budge on prices. A lot of the out-of-state investors get taken advantage of because many wholesalers create their own market. Recently spoke with an investor who was convinced that 3 bed / 1 bath homes built in 40’s-50’s were easy to retail exit in prices $50’s – 70’s. I thought, “maybe during the subprime boom”. We live in a much more negotiable age. The “take it or leave it” crowd should definitely stay home.

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