Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice

2 Tips to Help You Land That Great Deal — Even if it Looks Like a Goner

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

Doing deals is a marathon, not a sprint, and it requires perseverance. Just because a deal went under contract or off the market doesn’t mean you lost it. Many times the deal comes back, but ONLY after you stick with it until it actually finally closes.

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I remember clearly one of my house flips: the seller was older and looking to divest himself of his rental property which needed work. But his greed got the better of him, and he hired an agent to sell his house, wanted too much money and couldn't sell the house. He switched agents and tried again with the same predictable result. Then the tenant moved out, and the sudden loss of income gave him the necessary motivation to reconsider.

I had stayed in touch with the owner, and I called him every couple of months to see how he was doing. Finally he called me and said, “Let’s do a deal. But I want all cash and no hassle!” That turned out to be one of the best deals I’ve ever done. But the entire process took about 9 months!

Stories like this abound. I was speaking with Chris Urso on a recent podcast, and he had a similar story. Chris is a successful multifamily investor with several hundred units under management. He said one of his best deals came back to him after it had been under contract TWICE before he got it.

Related: Here’s the Worst Real Estate Deal I’ve Ever Done: What’s Yours?

Another investor friend of mine told me a story that was incredible. He was interested in a piece of land to re-zone as commercial and to develop. He made an offer but was overbid. The closing fell through, and then something happened between the seller and the listing agent that resulted in a lawsuit, which took TWO YEARS to resolve. He had stayed in touch with the seller, and once the dust settled, they did the deal, and he got the parcel 20% below his original offer price.

The lesson: Stick with the deal until it closes. Because it ain’t over til it’s over.

Here are two practical tips for “sticking with it.”

Tip #1: Keep Records and Notes of Your Deals

I often can’t remember what I did last week, let alone a deal I looked at a month ago. To combat my memory fatigue, I keep all of my files in a Dropbox folder (you are using something like Dropbox, right?). In that folder I always have a file called “Notes.doc” where I record my analysis, site visits and interaction with the seller or broker.

When the deal is a little more complex (like for apartment buildings), I even create a recording of my analysis using my deal analyzer (using Jing, a free desktop recording tool). When it comes time (like 4 months later) to crack open the deal again, I watch that video first to quickly get me up to speed.

Tip #2: Schedule Regular Follow-Ups With the Seller or Broker

Add to your calendar the next time you should follow up with the seller or broker about the deal. Depending on the situation, I would do this every 2-4 weeks. Perhaps alternate sending an email with a phone call.

Related: The #1 Reason Newbie Investors Fail to Close Deals (& How to Fix That)

Your goal is to stay informed, but also to be front-of-mind with the seller so that if something changes (like the closing falls through), you’ll be one of the first people they will call.


Don’t ditch a deal just because it’s under contract. Keep careful records for each deal and stay in touch with the seller or broker until it actually finally closes. If you make this part of your investing discipline, you are sure to reap HUGE rewards.

I’m sure you have some stories — so let us know about a deal that came back to you after it seemed like a goner!

Be sure to leave a comment below!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Replied over 5 years ago
    Awesome post, yes perseverance does pay-off. I currently have a wholesale deal under contract for a lady I have been following up for 4 months. Yes, following up is magic. Thank You.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks Ilhan …
    Daniel Ryu Investor from Irvine, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I like the tip about using a calendar to follow up. I also use a task manager that allows for ‘repeating’ tasks so I can set up the task to repeat every 2 weeks/ 3 weeks/ etc. Great article as always!
    Ria Lamb Investor from Machiasport, Maine
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks – your article was very timely. I just had an offer in on a property and it was turned down flat by the (very unreasonable) seller. Since the property has been on the market for over 4 years, you article gives me hope that if I keep in touch with the seller, he may eventually come around.
    Michael Blank Rental Property Investor from Northern Virginia, VA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Yup, keep watching the deal, you never know!
    Andrew Cordle from Alpharetta, Georgia
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I’m a big fan of the never give up mentality. Awesome post!
    Ruth Gebrewolde Involved In Real Estate from Pinole, CA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thanks, for a great article.
    Randy E. from Freeport, Florida
    Replied over 5 years ago
    It seems every one of my deals fall in this category. I spent 25-years in a sales career, so my follow-up skills and attention to deal are excellent; however, real estate agents, not so much! I will never understand why agents don’t keep “on deck” clients for deals that fall through, but they don’t. So it is incumbent upon the investor to ensure all deals are managed properly. My last deal was an REO on the beach that had multiple offers. As asset managers invariable do, they took the highest offer — regardless of the terms. Mine was the only all-cash offer, but it fell 35K short of the highest offer. Well the highest offers kept falling through, so I submitted four subsequent offers over a six-month period with the same result. After the fifth offer died a miserable death, the bank called me directly and asked me to raise my offer $5K, which I did. I got the deal and a brand new HVAC unit (w/air handler) that was installed 30-days prior to my offer being accepted. So perseverance does pay off…