How to Find Viable Home Sellers Eager to Make a Deal Work

How to Find Viable Home Sellers Eager to Make a Deal Work

2 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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Where are the truly motivated home sellers with viable deals? What methods are there for finding and connecting with them? What really works today?

The Myths, Challenges & Headaches of Chasing Motivated Home Sellers

Finding and closing motivated house sellers isn’t always as easy as the gurus make out. There are plenty of guru courses, books, podcasts, YouTube channels, seminars, and boot camps promising to give newer real estate investors the secret to finding and signing contracts. You’ll absolutely find some nuggets and tips among the thousands of dollars to be spent on these programs. You’ll learn all about direct mail, yellow letters, door knocking, cold calling, buying lists, using a new software program, or blasting high volumes of low ball offers through real estate agents, right?

Related: Targeting Sellers With Direct Mail: How to Cast a Wide Net Without Losing Precision

These paths can all work. Some can work very well, depending upon your market. However, they can require more work and investment than most realize. Those who expect a free ride will find this is a bit of a shock to the system. You have to be ready to hustle. You have to be ready to work through a lot of “no”s to get to a “yes!”


For example, we’ve found that really focusing on a targeted area and being willing to invest in three or four rounds of mailers works. We pull the lists, dig into the data, constantly improve on the postcards, and even mix in personally written letters. Sometimes our area will get a mailing from another investor. But that’s usually a one-time thing, and they’re gone. We are in the property owner’s mailbox and their pile of mail all the time. Who do you think is going to get the deal when they are ready to sell?

A Better Strategy for Connecting With Motivated Sellers?

While holding the potential for a few golden nuggets, the methods of connecting with sellers we already mentioned have one common flaw. That is that they often aren’t connecting investors consistently to ripe, ready, and viable sellers who are really motivated and eager to make a deal that works.

How about flipping that equation on its head and focusing on property owners and sellers who do want to deal? Auctioneers and banks and lenders with REO properties are motivated sellers. They are actively looking to sell. How about inbound marketing with lead generation sites and Google/Facebook/Bing ads targeted to owners that are actively hunting for a buyer for their property? How about building and expanding your network of referral agents, which can refer in warm leads ready to deal and trust the recommendation for you as someone who can help? How about working with other investors who already have the hot live deals, but need cash partners to close on all the deals on their plate? Overall, it comes down to numbers.


Related: How to Transform Motivated Sellers Into Great Real Estate Deals in 3 Simple Steps

You will get some people who aren’t really serious about selling today. They are just testing the waters to see what their property might sell for. Don’t waste your time with these folks. No true professional should. Most of the time, they are only hurting themselves by listing too early.

Still, if you do the work and make the investment, you will find others who are truly motivated. Maybe they have to move out of the area. Perhaps the Board of Health is all over them about making repairs. Or when it comes to banks and firms, owners could be forced to get property off their books due to regulations and capital requirements. These are the points where you come in to get a good deal and solve their problem.

Any tips you’d add that you use to find truly motivated sellers?

Let me know with a comment!