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

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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!

About Author

Sterling White

With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling currently manages over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $26MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments and single-family homes. Through the company he co-founded, Holdfolio, he owns just under 400 units. Sterling was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single-family investing and apartment investing to wholesaling and scaling a business.


  1. Eve Flood

    Sterling I completely agree with you! There are many motivated sellers and it’s just a matter of facilitating the deal, turning them into a win-win for all parties involved. Unfortunately, it requires a cooperation mind set instead of a competition one. Networking is a key, better yet, working in a master mind is imperative!
    I’d like to join teams and help to connect the dots.
    Thank you so much Sterling for sharing.

  2. Courtney Merricks

    @Sterling White, Great article… Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to write such a well needed article. I just asked an investor in Baltimore last night the very same question on how he was finding most of his deals. The answer he gave was very simple, “Direct Mail”. Reading this article this morning just confirmed what I need to be doing more of in order to find motivated sellers. Question, if a bank is the seller, but the property isn’t listed, how do I find out if they are motivated to sale that particular property?

    • Sterling White

      Great question. I personally do not pursue those bank owned properties that are not listed especially if it’s a big bank. If its a local bank you can give them a call and ask for details & mention you’re interested in buying the property on their books.

      Hope that helps.

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