Conquer Language Barriers While Talking with Motivated Sellers

Conquer Language Barriers While Talking with Motivated Sellers

3 min read
John Fedro

John Fedro has been actively investing in individual mobile homes since 2002 and in parks since 2016. Additionally, he’s been assisting other mobile home investors since 2006.

Investing since 2002, John started in real estate accidentally with a four-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. Like almost every long-term investor, he’s made more mistakes than he can count. John discusses many of them on his blog and YouTube channel, where he shares his stories, experiences, lessons, and some of the experiences of other successful mobile home investors that he’s helped.

John has written over 300 articles concerning mobile homes and mobile home investing for the BiggerPockets Blog. He has also been a featured podcast guest on BiggerPockets and 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.

John now spends his time actively investing in individual mobile homes and acquiring parks. He focuses on enjoying his time and partnering with other investors around the country to grow their own local mobile home cash-flowing portfolios and reputations.


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In this article let us talk about the common objections and possible strategies for you to implement when you find yourself speaking with a hard-to-understand sellers of factory built housing or traditional real estate.

The end-goal of every real estate endeavor you perform is ideally for you to create a value and profit. The output (I.e. the action, diligence, marketing, appointments, offers made, etc) you put forth daily is simply the necessary effort needed to close consistent mobile home transactions. Use the strategies and techniques below to help communicate your message of intent to each seller about purchasing his/her property.

Identify the Common Language Barrier

What languages are you running into when you are calling sellers? Bring clarity to your business and next do something about this gap in communication. Bottom-line is the seller wants to sell and you want to buy. Past this hurdle there is money to be made.

Ask for a Close Relative to Help Translate

Many sellers that may not have experience with the local language may have a local relative (I.e. sibling, child, grandchild, neighbor, or parent) living nearby or in the same home to help translate. Use the sentence below to ask a Spanish speaking seller if there is anyone nearby that speaks English, or visa-versa in some areas. This is just one popular example of this translation.

  • Spanish to English: Is there anyone nearby that speaks English?
  • English to Spanish: Hay alguien cercano que habla Ingles?

Hire an Hourly Translator

One option you may choose is to hire a translator that speaks the language you require and works per minute or hourly. This can be either someone that you know such as a multilingual friend, colleague, classmate, or stranger from Craigslist. Ideally you will be able to call this person most hours of the daytime via 3-way phone conversation when needed.

Outsourcing the first phone call to a foreign seller to obtain property info and seller info can be an even simpler method to gather seller information. With just a small amount of preparation work you can have a translator trained to make cold calls to sellers. Once you identify a hard to understand seller simply forward the seller’s phone number and any available info to your translator. The translator should be prepared enough to gather data on behalf of your investment company.

During this call between the seller and your hired translator the following information should be identified; the seller’s asking price, reason for selling, repairs needed, reason for selling, length of time on market, park information, loan information, and additional home information. Based on these answers you can have your translator set an appointment for you to come see the home and meet the seller face to face.

For a face-to-face meeting the seller should have a family translator present. In my experience this is common and easy to arrange. Set your appointment for a few days away if needed for the mobile home seller to secure a family or friend translator that is available. Family or friend translators are always the best for intimate settings.

Work with a Multilingual Partner

Network to find a local investor that speaks the language you need from a translator. Negotiate with him/her to partner with you on occasional deals that require his/her linguistic-expertise. If the market population is Hispanic have this new part-time partner teach you in Spanish how to say, “Hello my name is _________.  My Spanish speaking partner’s name is _____________ and he/she will call you back soon. Thank you. Goodbye.”

Speak in Basic Chunks

If the seller does understand a moderate amount of your language then proceed to get the basic information of their property over the phone.  Ask “simply worded” questions such as;

  • Repairs?
  • Age?
  • How much is monthly payment to park?
  • Location or Name of Park?
  • Asking price?
  • Will you accept payments?

Speak to Sellers with Intent

If you can have a complete crystal clear conversation with a seller than feel free to doddle and make chit-chat. However when you are speaking directly with a seller that can only moderately or less than moderately understand you be brief and be ready to set an appointment to make a deal or pass.

Make sure to Treat Every Seller with Respect

Sellers of every language are saying to the World that they want to speak with folks that can solve their housing problems. Do the extra work to speak with these sellers and create value. Create the deal and make this win-win transaction happen to create profit where other investors will simply give-up. If you are willing to do more than the “average investor” you’ll likely have different results than the “average investor.” – Get it!

Do what you love daily,

John Fedro
Photo Credit: ohhector