Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice

When’s the Right Time to Approach Potential Home Sellers?

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
227 Articles Written

One of the biggest challenges for real estate investors today is finding deals. If you’ve tried hitting the streets and the internet to hunt for deals, you may have run into a lot of dead ends. Either homeowners say they aren’t interested in selling, at least at reasonable prices, or they have already sold. So, when it the best time to connect with potential home sellers?

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There is a wide variety of seller scenarios out there. There are aging and financially struggling homeowners with distressed homes. There are amateur house flippers who have run out of money or who have miscalculated their numbers and the demand and can’t sell. There are heirs who have just lost family members and are inheriting property. When is the optimal moment to approach these owners to offer to buy their properties? 

Related: 6 Tips for Negotiating Your Maximum Allowable Offer With Sellers

Owners in Need of Selling

As simple as it sounds, the right time to approach an owner is when they’re in need of selling. Still, many investors completely miss the messaging and fail to connect. Or they simply confuse their own perceived need with the needs and wants of the owner. The easiest time to connect and close is when an owner is actively looking for help, is serious about taking action, and is realistic about the outcome. That can be achieved with good outbound, inbound, off and online drip marketing funnels.

Smart investors can close this gap event further with better data. You can now use Facebook and lead list providers to hone in on specific life milestones and trends. For example, advanced marketers can progress with couples who recently got engaged through to their wedding to the point where they start their search for a new home. Other ways to spot ripe home sellers may be by targeting expired MLS listings, price drops on listings, or old “for sale” signs that are finally replaced with new ones.

Related: The Top 3 Ways to Find Motivated Real Estate Sellers

Understand What Sellers Care About

When connecting with these property owners, investors need to know what their value proposition is and to align that with what the seller cares about most. You can talk about price, foreclosure, and repairs all day long when trying to get an owner to sell, but if what they care about most is finding somewhere for their family to move to, you may be completely missing it. Close this gap by listening, taking the time to put yourself in their shoes, and even investing in building the relationship in advance of actually getting to the point of drafting a contract. The transaction may not happen immediately, but it is bound to happen in the future if you stick with it. If you are in the industry for the long haul this is fine, but do not ignore opportunities to go for the close.

If a seller is not ready to sell or is not motivated by any means, then carry on. There are plenty of deals out there to be had; you don’t want to focus your time and energy on someone who does not want to part with their property. Just keep them in your pipeline—because anything can happen. An unmotivated owner can turn into a seller in an instant. This will be your time to capitalize and solve their problem.

How do you find motivated sellers in your real estate business?

Let me know with a comment!

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.

    Account Closed from G, L
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Great post Sterling! Glad to see it’s not only my problem, it is a common one. I have a lead too, but just don’t know how long to stick around, and when to move on. The owner is in a care home, and none of the children have power of attorney, but they realized, the house is only a problem for them. Would really like to get the house, but it is not possible without one of the children becomes a POA. Any advise on it?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 2 years ago
    You should be able to go directly to the owner on this. The person on title is generally the decision maker. That is the person you want to speak with. Hope that helps.
    Yingchun Li Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Listening to the sellers and hear what they really need. If they are not in a big rush, so they will not drop the price much. Always follow up the potential sellers.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Calvin Wellington Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, Indiana
    Replied about 2 years ago
    Nice work! I noticed in your bio that you are training for a world record. May I ask what record?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 2 years ago
    The worlds fastest fireman’s carry.