Day in the Life of a Wholesaler: How to Find Sellers, Negotiate Deals & Assign Contracts

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Everyone wants to know how this wholesaling thing works and how exactly to assign a contract. I will try to explain in detail as much as possible in this article.

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The Wholesaling Process

Finding Motivated Sellers

The first thing you need to do is find a motivated seller. If you can master the art of finding motivated sellers, you will always be in business. You can find motivated sellers multiple ways, including direct mail, websites or billboard ads. To keep this simple, let’s say you do a direct mail campaign by buying an absentee owner list through a list broker. You then upload that list to a mailing company, who will mail out a letter or postcard to the property owner.

You start to get calls, and let’s say out of 27 calls, one caller is extremely motivated. You then set up an appointment with the seller. The seller tells you that they want to sell house now because they can no longer afford taxes. They tried listing with a real estate agent and have had no luck after 2 years. Now they are getting letters from the city threatening to take the house due to taxes, and they just want out.

Related: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Wholesaling

Negotiations & Obtaining a Contract

You know the After Repair Value (ARV) on the house is $100k. An end buyer aka a cash buyer would want to be in that deal at no more than $70k. After walking the house, you then make an educated guess that it needs $20k in work. You then offer the home owner $35k, and you guys go back and forth with negotiations and decide on $43k. At that point you sign a contract with the homeowner for $43k. You also tell the home owner you have to get your money partners in the house to approve the deal. So the home owner gives you a key to vacant house.

Marketing to Buyers

Now that you have contract, you need to put this property in front of buyers. You go to the Marketplace on BiggerPockets and post the deal. You market the deal for $50k. You get 3 calls from buyers wanting to see the property. You get all 3 of them in the house at the same time (or different times; whatever everyone’s schedules permit). Two say they will think on it, and one says, “Let’s do it, but can you do $45k?”

Assigning the Contract & Closing the Deal

You go back and forth on negotiations again. Then you guys settle at $49k. At that point you will assign him the contract by giving him the original contract and assignment contract, which is a separate contract. Now, the reason you show him the original contract is because he must see exactly what he is being assigned, meaning terms and conditions. Also, your assignment of contract should have a non-refundable deposit; for this example, we will use $1k. He gives you a check for $1k written out to your title company or real estate attorney, depending on your state. Some states close deals with attorneys; others use title companies.

Once you have the earnest money deposit, contract and signed assignment, you then can drop those off at your title company or attorney to start title work and schedule a closing date. Typically it takes 10 days, but could take shorter or longer. Once the title search is complete and everything is good, you will then have “Clear to Close.” Once you have Clear to Close, you being the wholesaler do not have to show up to closing. Now remember, you had the house for $43k, and then you assigned the contract for $49k. So that means you will be picking up a check for $6k. Once you get check, do not go and blow the money. Please reinvest it back into the business and stay focused on your goals.

Related: Introducing: The BiggerPockets Wholesaling Calculator (and Cash Buyer Reports!)


That is the process of wholesaling in a perfect world when every things goes smoothly. I will say that everything goes smoothly about 30% of the time. The other times, it’s always something; it could be the seller taking a month to accept your offer, the buyer flaking out, or my favorite, title issues. I personally tell people to get ready mentally to take on all the challenges we face as investors. That way, you won’t give up when the first thing goes wrong. I knew a guy who did his first mailing campaign, got a home run deal, was set to make $35k on the assignment and had a buyer lined up and everything. And he came to find out that the title had 3 mortgages on it. The bank said the seller still owed on the property, leaving the house upside down.

Just remember, things happen — but don’t quit.

About Author

Nasar Elarabi

Nasar El-arabi has been involved in real estate for 12 years. During those 12 years, Nasar has wholesaled houses, rehabbed properties, build new properties, created a buy-and-hold portfolio, and flipped land. Nasar identified early in life he wanted to have his own business. Fortunately, because of parents who instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him, he was able to build a seven-figure business after being terminated from his job in September of 2012. Nasar has gone on to become a successful real estate investor in Charlotte, NC. Nasar has over 100 videos on YouTube and runs a blog at


  1. Stephen S.

    I always love the idea of wholesalers finding viable, do-able RE deals and bringing them to me. I buy the house, the wholesaler gets paid, I rehab and rent the house. We all live happily ever after. The wholesaler then finds more nice deals and brings them over. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    That never seems to happen. Instead wholesalers brings me deals which don’t even compare to something I can buy every day off the MLS. About a month ago a guy called me (emailed) and said: You own two houses on this street – I got you another one; this is great.

    So I drive over and look at the house. It’s run down and shabby but I can make it fly. I know quite a lot about houses which is how I know that what the owner and her douchebag boyfriend are telling me about the property are substantially nonsense. Whatever. They do repeatedly tell me that this particular house is the best deal in the world. The girl inherited the house from her now-dead father and they have to move closer to where he has his psychic/massage business and need my cash to do that.

    All is well and we all eventually come to agreeable terms. Happy days, right?

    Sure; until it comes to light that the now-dead father had gotten all kinds of work done on the house under deferred-payment plans for old people. And then had never even started paying the payments after the deferred-payment period ended. With the result that the outstanding debt was over 120% of the purchase price.

    Thank you Wholesaler!

  2. Gordon Cuffe

    nice article. I just wholesaled a deal to a buyer who obtained bank financing. The bank was ok with the assignment of contract. The buyer had to put down 25% and the bank financed the rest. I have never seen where a bank finances a house where there was an assignment of contract involved. Have you?

  3. I’ve got an idea that should spark some debate! I think you need to team up with a Realtor and I’m going to tell you why.

    Something strikes me as weird, because you are saying, “you might get 27 calls from sellers and one might be motivated.” As a Realtor, it seems to me that they are all interested in selling, but why can’t you help them.

    Apparently you not a Realtor, because that could be a lot of listings.

    I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in every state to sell Real Estate that you don’t own, unless you are licensed and have a marketing agreement a.k.a. listing agreement with the owner, so now you are breaking the law.

    Here is how a Realtor can help:
    First and foremost, I can keep you out of jail!
    Second, I can get you more money on the Flip side
    Third, I don’t need to make money off of your deals, since you are feeding me so many listings
    Fourth, I need to do CMA’s for all my listings, so I’ll do them for you at the same time
    Fifth, You don’t need a Real Estate license, since you are working with me, so you can avoid the ethical issues associated with Wholesaling (see explanation below)
    Sixth, I might pay for some of your mailing expense, if you are committed to using me and I’m getting enough listing leads from you.

    Here is some detail about how a Realtor can help you:

    You Stay Out of Jail:
    What happens to your deposit money, if your investor bails out on you at the closing table? Do you still close on the house? I’m thinking NO. That’s risky business, since you seem to be betting that these people don’t know your breaking the law when you try to sell a property that you don’t own. Would it help to have an agent, so you don’t go to jail? Teaming up with and agent solves a lot of problems for you and keeps you out of jail, but what if you are an agent?

    You Make More Money $$$:
    You know that your Investors want the house before it is going on the market, because they want to avoid the competitive bidding. They know what will happen to the price, if the house goes on the market, so you can leverage that to get them to pay you top dollar.

    You Avoid Ethics Violations:
    If you are a licensed Realtor, then you have an ethical dilemma. Using your example: 6% commission that a Realtor might charge on $49K is $3K. In your example the seller paid $9K for your services, or over paid by $6K. In addition, a Realtor would produce a higher selling price, because of the exposure, so the house might have sold for $53K. That’s ($6K + $4K) or an extra $10K in the seller’s pocket.

    Wholesaling can blur a lot of lines, both ethical and legal:
    a) You need to have a Real Estate License and a marketing agreement in order to offer property for sale that you don’t own, so a Wholesaler should be a licensed Realtor, but
    b) Realtors have a code of ethics and we are required to tell people our intentions on our first meeting with the prospect. We have a form called the “Customer Information Statement” that gives us four options: 1) Buyers agent, 2) Sellers agent, 3) Disclosed Dual Agent, 4) Transaction Broker and we are required to disclose our intentions when we first meet with them. Disclosed Dual Agent, might be a good option, but then they need to sign a Disclosed Dual Agency form to give up their rights to representation and you still need a marketing agreement a.k.a. Listing Agreement.

    So it seems that a wholesaler is breaking the law, if they are not licensed or they are licensed and need to disclose their intentions otherwise their ethics are questionable. Licensed Realtors are also required to disclose that they are licensed.

    Should I choose to represent myself as a Seller’s agent, then I have a fiduciary relationship to get my client’s top dollar for their property and the only way to do that is to market the property to all prospective buyers. Not as a pocket listing for my own personal gain. Again and ethical issue.

    I would partner up with a Realtor, if I was wholesaling.

    • Curt Smith

      your comment about being illegal to wholesale is only true in a few states, Ohio being the most notorious, Oregon I hear, probably a few others. Otherwise, advertising to assign a contract is legal, advertising a “house” is not in Ohio and marginal else where. It is legal to assign contracts even in Ohio, you just can’t advertise a “house” and address. An odd twist. Just advtise you have a contract to assign in zip code 123456.

      Jeff Watson is a expert Attorney who interviewed the Ohio state RE board.

      • You are in a Gray area. I’d be worried if I was you. It only takes one smart seller to turn you in. Or one angry buyer that isn’t happy with the house you sold them.

        I just had a wholesaler try to sell me a house with 3 under ground oil tanks, LOL.

        He was telling me what a great deal it was. $150K in a $200K sub-division.

        I called the listing agent and he didn’t even have a contract on the property yet and his is showing me the house.

        This is shady business.

        • Phil Bach

          Like any business, there’s a lot of shady scumbags and people who don’t know what they’re doing – realtors included.

          A good wholesaler can be invaluable for an active investor.

    • James Green

      @Drew Cifrodelli, I don’t know what market you are in, but in my market (DC,MD,VA) wholesaling is perfectly LEGAL. In fact, I’ve met tons of realtors who wholesale also. They all state in their contracts that they are RE agents, but they are not representing anyone, but investing for their own personal business. I work with a Realtor who also wholesales & his broker is ok with it.

      I’ve also met RE agents who have no idea what wholesaling is & when I ask them do they have any cash buyers as their clients it’s always no.

      I do refer my dead leads to a realtor, but now I’m looking at lease options as another strategy.

  4. Troy w.

    Man….this article is real…as a matter of fact I had a buyer, a prominent attorney in the DC area that called me the day she received my letter. I remember like it was yesterday…it was a Saturday May 2, and we just went to closing on Aug 1st.

    So some deals are not as quick, and as long as you keep pumping your marketing….your pipeline will keep having deals coming in, even those that you may have forgotten may come calling/texting back saying they want to deal.

    • John Hamilton

      Hi Lee,

      Great question! If you don’t ind, I’ll add my two cents.

      You should start with your MAO. Your best offer. Then, figure out how much you can take off that price and start the negotiations. Hopefully, you end up at your MAO or less.

      For example, I know my MAO is $50,000. I feel that I can start my negotiations with $45,000. That way, when you end up with your $50,000 asking price, the seller feels they were able to talk you up closer to what they had in mind.

      Some folks wait for the seller to name a price, sometimes the wholesaler makes the first move. I like being in control, so I would make the first move. If the seller said there price was $70,000, no you have to talk them down $20,000. With that much gap, you will be hard pressed to make your case for the difference. At least with you making the first move, they know where to go from there and asking for $70,000 just isn’t going to happen.

  5. Phil Bach

    Good point about the 1 in 27 callers actually working out. Most people will call in wanting retail or even above retail lacking any knowledge of the market, because “Zillow says my house is worth $200k!”

    • Hi Phil,
      I’m still trying to figure out why a wholesaler would let so many leads drop on the floor and not team up with a Realtor to recoup some of, if not all of that money they spend on mailers. I know it’s illegal for me to give commission to an unlicensed person, but I can pay for marketing, I can pay for leads and I can pay for office help.

      Essentially, I could probably create a great source of revenue for a wholesaler or at least minimize their cost of doing business. Any wholesalers want to explain why they don’t team up with Realtors?

      It’s all about leveraging your activities!

      • Jay Johnson

        Hey Drew,

        If more Realtors offered that option to a wholesaler, I think some wholesalers would do that. It’s hard to find an investor-friendly Realtor. A lot of investors tell me that they can’t get a Realtor to focus on the investing side of real estate and, bring them good deals. An investor with 20 rentals, and wanting more, cursed Realtors the other night when he called me looking for a deal. He said he can’t find one worth a bleep to find him deals. When I told him the area I may have something in soon, he said it was out of his investing area. Then, as soon as I said well, ” I have a Realtor who could ” I didn’t get to finish saying it before he started cursing Realtors and, saying ” That’s alright, I’ll find something on my own.

        • Hi Jay,
          Realtors teaming up with Wholesalers has a lot of advantages. Here is another one. Teaming up avoids the whole “conflict of interest” issue that Realtors face when trying to help investors.

          Investors don’t seem to realize that they are asking Realtors to break the code of ethics. I don’t know why any investor would want to do business with an unethical agent, but it seems they are trying to breed them. Investors can say that Realtor’s aren’t investor friendly, but Investors refuse to sign Buyer Agency agreements, so they are not Realtor friendly either. Realtors have an obligation to disclose their intentions at the time when they meet a client. Wholesalers don’t have this disclosure issue.

          I can disclose that I work for the Investor (buyer), if I have a buyer agency agreement. Otherwise, I work for the seller. Herein lays the conflict; How do I get a good deal for an investor, if my job is to get the best price for the seller?

          Teaming up with a Wholesaler avoids the whole issue, because the Wholesaler doesn’t have a Code of Ethics and they don’t have to worry about loosing their Real Estate License or paying fines to the local board.

          Wholesalers can find a seller who doesn’t know what their property is really worth, so they can pass the savings on to the investor and get their cut. I bring deals to investors regularly, but very few bit, because the spreads aren’t big enough for them.

          Investors need to have an expertise, or a specialty. They need to be able to add value, not just through money at a problem. Personally, I think some investors need to run a tighter ship and develop a niche’ for properties with certain types of problems. (Fire damage, Mold, Toxic waste, Oil Heat conversions, Subdividing lots, Adding second floors.)

          Investors need to do a steady stream of business, if they want a Realtor to commit that much effort for the small commissions that we earn. The Realtor might make ~$600, from a $40K transaction. Think about it. Most investors are looking for properties in the worst areas were the prices are the lowest, the sellers are distressed and the houses have the most problems. What a great deal for the Realtor, LOL.

          Again, I think teaming up with a wholesaler makes a lot of sense. Realtors maximize the retail ARV for the Investor and Wholesalers, minimize the acquisition cost.

        • Jay Johnson

          Hey Drew,

          I don’t have any problems with what you are suggesting. I have a good relationship with an investor-friendly Realtor but, from what I hear, a lot of Realtors don’t want to do the buy side for a cash buyer but, they will do the sell side when the flip is ready for retail. . I know you have to make a lot of low offers on a lot of properties to find a good deal. I think here, Realtors get a flat $2k fee no matter how low the price. That’s what one investor told me who does a lot of bidding on properties with agents attached.

        • There’s only one minute detail that the $2K flat fee doesn’t resolve. It’s the ethical issue that the Realtor faces because, (in New Jersey) we have to disclose who me are representing. I can represent the buyer, if I have a buyer agency agreement and I tell the seller that I’m representing the buyer.

          Problem remains that most investors reject the deals for one reason or another, so now I need to shop the home around to other Investors, but I don’t have a listing agreement, so I cannot do that.

          Now I have to go back to the Seller and say, OK that Investor didn’t work out, but I can bring others into your property, if you sign a listing agreement. Otherwise, it’s illegal for me to show the property without their permission.

          Now, If I had a wholesaler as a partner, we could submit and offer and I could list the property for sale at the same time. This would enable the Wholesaler to get Retail prices for the property on the open market, while locking in a spread for the Wholesaler and a commission for the Realtor.

          As long as the seller signs a Dual Agency Agreement with the Realtor.
          I’m interested to here from more Wholesalers about this idea.
          Please poke some holes in it.
          Why doesn’t this model work?
          Why don’t Wholesalers team up with Realtors?


        • Jay Johnson


          You’re going to have to offer that to a wholesaler, if you haven’t, and see what they say. If it plays out like you say, I can’t see why a wholesaler wouldn’t. To be able to profit from leads you would, normally, throw away and, have access to the MLS would be a good deal. However, if a wholesaler asks a Realtor to do this and they say no, you can’t make them do it, so, you would just keep doing business the way you have been doing business.

          If you get a wholesaler to try this out with, make a post and tell us how it works. You might create a new model for Realtors and investors.

  6. Randy (RL) Williams

    Hey I really love reading your posts. I know blog posts are generally only a synopsis of the story… I am in a position where I need the book!

    Have you or have you ever thought of writing a book on wholesaling? Also do you know of a good book on wholesaling? I need to learn about all the little things involved in the process. The ins and the outs, the dos and the don’ts. We all know the devil is in the details… I need those details. Or do I?

    Am I just telling myself that in order to keep from going out there and actually doing something? Perhaps it’s only the fear factor gluing my feet to the floor and my hands at my side. Maybe I just need to kickstart myself and dive right in with my limited knowledge. But I did that once before after taking one of those real estate seminars many years ago which actually did land me a no money down duplex and put money in my pocket at closing but ended up being a financial disaster due to my not being knowledgeable to capitalize.

    So great post keep em coming!


    • Nasar Elarabi


      I dont want to self promote but since you asked. lol I have written a book on wholesaling titled “Flipping houses like burgers” its on Amazon. However please search bigger pockets for the topic wholesaling. All that information I complied in my book could be found on bigger pockets for FREE.. Hey man if you know what to do then just get started.. Take action thats the most important thing. As first as the financial disaster it happens.. I lost 7k on my 1st flip years ago. You win some you learn some.

  7. Enrique and Melissa S.

    Thank you Nasar we appreciate this article as we are interested in starting in real estate and have learned a lot from this very informative piece you have written. We are looking for different ways to start in real estate and did not realize how many avenues there were until the blessing we have received to have found such a wonderful site like this one. We are learning so much and want to thank all for taking your time to help others. This is our first comment so bare with us haha. Hope we all help each other succeed and I wish everyone the best success.

  8. Dan Mortimer

    I really liked this. Very well done. As someone who has considered using wholesaling to fund other real estate deals, this really cleared things up and explained the process very well, even if it’s an ideal situation. Thanks again for sharing this!

  9. Bil Casimir

    Before you get to excited about finding motivated sellers, I suggest you find motivated buyers that pay cash, build up your list with at least 25 to 50 cash buyers, then put your deals on FB in your local real estate section and other areas.

    • James Green

      Yes, build your buyer’s list first. You really don’t know if it’s a deal unless you have buyers. Low numbers don’t make it a deal, if the deal is in an area where cash buyers are not interested & I don’t mean war zones either.

    • John Hamilton

      I don’t totally disagree with your point. However, if you can negotiate a deal that would make another investor take notice and buy, your job is done.
      Basically, the same old cliche, build it, they will come. In our case, wholesale it (and wholesale it right), the buyers will come.

      It doesn’t hurt to start marketing for buyers letting them know you are a wholesaler and will be getting some deals very soon. I’ve done this on BP and already have a list of 6 or more. It’s also better to understand their criteria, so you have the perfect fit when you finish your numbers, even before you negotiate. Telling a seller you already have the perfect buyer in mind will surely tickle their ears. However, follow through and make sure your buyer can perform. It doesn’t hurt to have another investor or more waiting in the wings in case the current buyer
      balks. You don’t want to leave the seller hanging.

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