Top 3 Things to Say to Lose a Motivated Seller

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Much is speculated, written, and geared towards the effort to attract motivated sellers. They are, after all, the holy grail for real estate investors. Whether by third party or direct efforts, getting an edge on an opportunity is not only potentially profitable, but critical as inventory shortages continue.

So what’s the best way to screw it up? Here’s the Top 3 Things you can say to a motivated Seller to lose them as a lead:

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1) You Don’t Need to Do Anything Today

When the phone rings, the person on the other end is in a mindset to take action. This window may or may not stay open, and is often times volatile and easily swayed. Family members, friends, or other internal voices may cause their mindset to shift in another direction, which may be away from you.

Although you can never force anyone to make a decision, being confident in your sales approach and negotiations increase your chances of getting a contract signed, or at least setting an appointment in the very near future.

Least of all, send them to your website (or Facebook page, etc) – something to have them remember and be able to reference you. And by all means, collect their contact information to be able to follow up with them.

2) Call Me Back When Ever You’re Ready

Linking to #1, not being steadfast in trying to have a seller take action can be costly. However, not all deals are made on the first phone call. This arises quite a bit especially if you are making outbound calls to homeowners and lead sources.

But, this is a perfect opportunity to create rapport and trust. If they’re at least open to talking, and don’t request I take them off my call list, I say something to the effect of “Thanks for your time today John. It sounds like you are taking action to find a solution before it’s too late, which is smart. But, like many things, I’ve realized that not all things work out how we plan, right? Mind if I follow up with you to check in and see how things work out for you in a couple weeks? I always like to make myself available as a Plan B should the (loan mod, loan from relative, etc) not work out. Sound good?” I then proceed to tell them how I will follow up with them, and then actually do so.

And don’t worry, expect them to be irritated at times when you follow up. Often times it’s the persistence that lands you the lead, though, since you become the friendly go to source while they are trying to figure out Plan A on their own.

3) Sorry, I Don’t Do That

You’re a wholesaler who buys at 75% of market value minus repairs, plain and simple. But, these pesky Sellers with barely any equity and low interest rate loans keep calling you for help. They may be great candidates for Subject-to selling, and not even know it! But, it’s up to you to help connect them with a more fit resource who knows how to properly structure the deal.

Recently I had a motivated Seller contact me about selling land, and I had to apologize and let them know that wasn’t what I normally purchase. However, I reached out to a couple contacts I knew did and presented them with the deal. Although it wasn’t something they were interested in, outsourcing to other investors is a great way to make referral income or even wholesale the deal to them.

Just because it’s not your bag, doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t want a grab at it! And since you have about 100,000 friends here on BiggerPockets, there’s no excuse to reason that you don’t know someone who might be interested in your lead.

Lastly, if there’s no deal to come of a lead, and especially if there is, always ask if they know of anyone else that could use your services. That alone could earn you deals, save you thousands in marketing, and give you a leg up on the competition. Just like in life, sometimes it’s not the things we say, it’s the things we don’t say or ask for that cause us to lose out.

What rookie mistakes have you made that cost you a lead? What other things can you think of that chases away a motivate seller?

Photo: peasap

About Author

Tracy Royce

Tracy (G+) is an Arizona Short Sale Realtor, Investor, Rehabber, and Foreclosure Expert. She also is an avid blogger, vlogger and consultant on all things Arizona Foreclosures.


  1. Sharon Vornholt

    Great ideas Tracy.

    If it is a lead that I just can’t use myself like land, I always pass that lead on without any strings.

    I sent a lead over to a friend today that was in an area that I won’t buy in. It’s just too rough. I don’t know if he will be able to use it, but the poor seller is ready to have a nervous breakdown because he has so many fines from the code inspectors. He will actually give the house away just to get out from under it. Even then, it just might not be a deal; too much work and too many fines.


  2. John Thedford on

    Good article. How many times has someone been offered a deal and procrastinated? How many times has a seller been REALLY motivated and someone puts them off for a day or two only to find they signed a contract with another buyer. Why give a seller time to think, up the price, shop for other buyers, etc? One of the best deals I got was going to look at a house late in the evening and had to drive an hour to go look. The seller stated she had about 17 people wanting to look (go figure, she was priced 25% under market), and I informed the seller I didn’t have time to look the following morning when other investors were scheduled. This got me in that night. I had a signed contract an hour later. If I waited, it would have been gone. You snooze you lose!

    • This is a big one, John. Recently I was closing a deal and (of course), there were a couple things at the last minute that needed to be done. It was something that the other party was responsible for, and the day before closing I had repeatedly requested the items. It came down to us texting late at night and he said he didn’t want to bother his clients and get them out of bed (?!?!?) People like you and I would have, gambling having a grumpy buyer or seller vs feeling uncomfortable to ask. The next day the clients, closing company and I just took control and made it happen. Although they weren’t the sellers of the property, it still goes to show that you have to streeeeeetch your limits of comfortability sometimes and push. Otherwise, someone else will do what you’re not willing to, or NOT do what you’re willing to and let the deal fall apart. Thanks for sharing!

      • John Thedford on

        I hope I didn’t mess up, Got a call from someone sounding very motivated to sell. Set appointment for tomorrow. Asked them to reserve talking to anyone else until I get first look. They agreed. The property was listed, then expired, now relisted. Seller states the agent will waive commission if they sell it themselves because they want to buy a larger house and the agent is good with that. Seller states they are in a hurry to buy due to rising prices but must sell their current house to have the cash. This is sounding like a good scenario. If putting it off one day kills the deal I will let everyone know what NOT to do:)

  3. Always enjoy you posts. Here’s a related dilemma.

    A buy sell for an investment property is signed with private (hard money) financing. Doesn’t come together so we propose seller carry-. They express favorable interest but request the drop dead date for contingencies be extended a few days more.

    Push for original date , extend through following week or tighten the deadline a wee bit.

    This relates to your #1: You don’t need to do anything today

    Working through two agents unfamiliar with seller financing. What would you do?

    • Thanks for sharing page. My advice is to find a title/escrow/attorney (depending on what state you’re in) that does understand this type of transaction REALLY well and you and the seller set it up with them.

      The agents are a lot more likely to listen to a title company that can assure them the transaction is legal, well structured, and they have assurance, rather than you trying to convince everyone. I can’t tell you how many deals I’ve had where they agents don’t quite “get it”, but are willing to stay in the deal because they see that it’s OK by the title company/sellers, and simply they want to get paid as well! Hope this helps.

  4. As always a great article Tracy. #1 is a biggie for me. As a matter of fact i lost a decent deal two weeks ago because my competition was more aggressive than me. It is a fine line between being too aggressive and not aggressive enough.

  5. It was a property that had gone through probate and two sisters were the personal representatives. I had met both of them but worked with only one of them after the meeting and there were two other siblings that were unhappy about the amount I offered. There was an appraisal, comps, repair estimates and everything else that can be used to determine purchase price available to the sellers. The sticking point was another brother. I would call the sister I was working with every week trying to see what I could do to. I talked with the brother. I matched the other investor’s offer(s). He (my competition) simply was more aggressive with the other sister. He caught both sisters and the brother at the right time when they were ready to get the deal done. The sisters were frustrated with the brother so I could have, and the other investor was, very persistent and the sisters and the sisters didn’t mind because it was the brother holding things up. I should have understood the situation better. The gentleman that got the deal is very good at what he does and buys a lot of houses. I’m just grateful I am able to secure enough deals to keep me busy.

    • This is a big one Gary, and takes a lot of experience to know how close to this line you can dance. However, what might feel too aggressive (for you) may actually be what the seller needs at times, ie, someone that is real with them and doesn’t sugar coat the situation. I’ve never been one to be able to use “Boiler Room” tactics, but pushing it a little sometimes does help. Although it seems like you are grateful for the amount of deals you are doing, it sounds like perhaps there is some room for improvement here? (how’s that for keeping it real!) What do you think this other guy did differently that you TOO could have done to get the deal? Nothing worse than priming someone for a close only to have it go to someone else. What’s that cost us, say 10,20,…30,000?

  6. Good points Tracey. My acquisition manager always tries to answer the calls live where many let them go to voicemail and I think they lose that opportunity and in many cases you get one shot. I like your way of helping them even if it something you don’t do. Helping solve their problem whether it is you or someone you know is a great way to do business and add credibility.
    Good Job

  7. Good post Tracy. I’ve found the best way to halt a motivated seller is to miss their call. Then I don’t have to worry about what I’ll say to mess it up because it’s hard to get them to answer the phone when I call back.

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