Real Estate Investing Basics

How to NOT Look Like a Fool When Caught Off-Guard While Investing

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Mobile Homes, Real Estate News & Commentary, Landlording & Rental Properties, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Marketing
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In most situations, you will not destroy a deal by not knowing the answer to a specific question or how to react. Still, being caught off guard can sometimes make us look silly in front of others and lose confidence. While confidence comes from experience, confidence also comes from knowing what to say when you don’t know what to say.

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Why is This Important?

Sellers, buyers, and other real estate individuals will look to you for knowledge, reassurance, and answers.

So, what should you say when you don’t know the answer to a question? Usually, it’s a good bet to respond with something like:

  • “Great question. I’ll have an answer for you within 24 hours.”
  • “I don’t believe so, but give me 24 hours, and I’ll call you back and let you know.”

These answers will give you time to call another seasoned real estate investor, partner, or mentor to find your correct answers. Be confident and upbeat when letting people know you will find out an answer and give them a call back. This shows professionalism and that you are a problem-solver. It is not a crime to not know every answer to every question. Be confident in quickly telling people one of the two statements above and move the conversation along.

Related: 10 Habits to Adopt if You Want to Become a Real Estate Investing Legend

Answer a Question with a Question

  • “What would you do?”
  • “What would you use?”
  • “When would you prefer to close?”
  • “How would you fix this and why?”

These questions can be asked in certain situations when you are asked your opinion. You will likely be talking to somebody who is more experienced or knowledgeable about the specific topic you are discussing. Ask your questions in a genuinely curious and confident manner.

For example, a handyman may ask you what type of lumber you would prefer use to fix a certain repair. In this case, you might respond by asking, “How would you fix this and why?”

Need to Stall?

  • “Let me look over my numbers and get back to you within 24 hours.”
  • “Let me talk to my partner and get back with you within 24.”

Both of these statements may be good to start wrapping up the conversation. It is better to change the topic or politely exit from a conversation rather than feel pressured or bullied to make a quick, emotional decision.

Ignoring the Question

This author believes that there are no foolish questions. Still, there are questions designed to start an argument or fan the flames of an existing fire.

Example: After walking through one of your properties for rent, a potential renter gives a particularly negative verbal review about the home because he/she hates your carpet and paint color choice. He/she asks you, “Why would you choose such ridiculous and stupid interior colors?”

The question above is a good example of one you may ignore. You can likely follow it up by asking if the seller has any additional questions about the home or telling them to feel free to make you an offer by calling back any time. It may be best to keep a blank expression on your face, versus a happy one, after you are asked a rude question.

Keep in mind that you do not have to spend time with anyone twho does not respect you or your property.

Controlling the Conversation with Questions

Chance favors the prepared. Before these meetings and appointments, understand and list:

  • Your goals for the meeting
  • The questions you want to ask
  • The image you want to convey
  • Possible if/then scenarios
  • What you will say to end the meeting

Example: You are about to have a walk-through appointment with a new handyman or contractor. Before the appointment, mentally walk through arriving at the home before the handyman arrives. Visualize you both the meeting and walking around the home talking about all the exact repairs you wish for him/her to fix. Aim to get all your questions about experience, licenses, referrals, advice on specific repairs, turnaround times, upfront costs, how you want to pay, and much more answered.

Related: Why Hiring People Smarter Than You is Key to Growing Your Real Estate Business

Still, remember, controlling the conversation with questions may come off rude if you do not allowing the other person to ask questions or you’re not contributing to the conversation.

Get Back on Track

You may not always stay 100 percent on topic with all clients, but these phases and questions above can be a lifeline if you’re not sure what to talk about or say next. Remember that you can almost always call people back if you have any follow-up questions or instructions. At appointments and meetings, understand your goals. Aim to complete these goals, remain professional, and move on with your day. If you find a conversation getting off topic, pull it back on track in order to answer your questions and move on.

What other tips/suggestions did we miss to help when caught off guard?

Please comment them below.

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...
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    Adam Schneider Flipper/Rehabber from Raleigh, NC
    Replied over 2 years ago
    John, Very good article (as always). Along the lines of your theme, it’s helpful to gain an understanding about questions….knowing why the other person is asking the question will help to guide the response direction.
    Henry Lazerow Real Estate Agent from Chicago, IL
    Replied over 2 years ago
    Great advice John! Always better to come back with the correct answer at a later time.