Reading Between the Lines: Understanding Your Real Estate Buyers and Sellers

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Welcome back,

As real estate investors we often have to be quick when it comes to reading people and making decisions about our buyers and sellers. While it is necessary, in this author’s mind, to be caring and honest with people you are dealing with it is also warranted to protect yourself from loss of time and mental energy strain when dealing with the public.

I heard a quote that says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” What a perfect quote for this article. Below are a few examples to be aware of that can show how people really feel without them telling you anything. It is true that, in most cases, actions speak louder than words when it comes to conveying people’s real feelings and traits.

The examples below are not based on any scientific data and are only this author’s opinion based on a decade of investing. If you disagree or would like to add any examples for us all to learn from please comment them below.

Keep both eyes open during your first few meetings or phone calls with potential buyers or tenants. Your B.S. detector should be on high alert during these times. When dealing with buyers and potential tenants they “should” be on their best behavior with you. Be aware of over friendly or disrespectful attitudes, profanity, and worst of all excuse-syndrome.

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Let’s break down these behaviors…

Over friendly or disrespect attitudes from buyers and/or potential tenants:  A buyer or potential tenant should have the idea in their mind that this is a business relationship. If you are being called sport, champ, boss, buddy or pal I advise to quickly correct this before moving forward. Ideally a yes sir/no sir or yes ma’am/no ma’am attitude should be used by your clients. Please note that this casual attitude is not a good or bad thing, however it may show a lack of respect for you and your role as landlord and seller.

Profanity:  Street slang and profanity can tell you a lot about a person. If, on your first occasion, your applicant is using slang towards you or using profanity in front of you towards others or their children then be aware this will only get worse. While using profanity or common slang does not solely group a person as definitively one way or another it does show a lack of respect for your role as landlord or seller.

Excuse syndrome:  Be on the listen for a victim mentality and excuses in your future buyer or tenant. If you hear excuse after excuse then be prepared that this will only continue when trying to collect your monthly payments from these sellers.

No call, No show:  Buyers and sellers are finicky and wishy-washy. If a seller or buyer has not called you back concerning your offer they have given you an answer already. A no call often means these once interested parties are likely no longer interested in your home or purchase offer(s). This may not always be the case however it is likely best to continue looking for new leads while following up with these folks periodically. Realize that the action of the seller or buyer not returning your call is their answer of avoiding you.

Note:  When dealing with buyers I do not typically give more than 2 calls with 2 voice mail messages concerning my attempts and reasons for calling them. When dealing with sellers or other lead sources for purchasing homes I am more persistent and will usually follow up until I hear a response. This is because I want to stay on the front of these peoples’ minds. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Related: I’m Not Just A Number! The Art of Knowing & Understanding a Seller

In The End…

You will constantly be learning and be required to choose paths throughout your investing career. Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of character traits that you do not wish to have a relationship with in the coming years. In my business and professional life a trusted and experienced investor-mentor has significantly help give experience advice and helped reduce my stress when it comes to handling others.

Love what you do daily,

John Fedro

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. Good article, John. I agree with you that there are important signs regarding manners that should tip you off. Although, you can’t always judge a book by its cover–sometimes you do need to read a few pages in the first chapter.

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for commenting. Well said about judging a book by it’s cover. Often times someone’s past is a good indication of future outcomes you can expect.

      Talk soon,
      John Fedro

  2. Jorge Caicedo on

    excellent article…I can’t tell you how many wholesale deals I lost b/c the buyers changed their minds almost at the last minute and w/ little or no explanation…Finicky, indeed

    • Hi Jorge,

      Thank you for commenting and reading. I am glad to hear that throughout all the B.S. that some buyers give you are still here working hard and making this business work for you. Keep it up!

      Talk soon,
      John Fedro

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