If I have found a property that I like and looks like a good deal. Then I do some homework on it. OK so after that, is it best to play dumb with the seller and ask them questions that sound like I am a regular buyer or someone who has done their homework?
For example should I ask: "If you don't mind telling me, is there a mortgage on the place and for how much?" When I can obviously tell that they got a mortgage for $200k only 2 years ago by looking online. Or should I pose it like "I know there was a mortgage taken out for this much on this date when it was bought. If you don't mind telling me, how much is remaining?"
Obviously thats not the only question I have, but should I present ALL my questions so the seller thinks I know less about their property than someone who has done their homework, or should I present myself as an investor that has done his homework and may know more about the property than the seller himself? And if so, is there the possibility that this will scare the seller into not wanting to deal with me?
It's always a must to do your homework. When talking to a seller, you main goal is to build a relationship and come across as a person who is going to help them by buying their home. If you start going into facts you know about such as the mortgage balance, etc. you will come across the wrong way. Number one thing... Listen, listen, listen to the the seller and solve their problems. If you can do that, you will get the deal and you both win.
You should approach every transaction with the mindset that you're trying to develop a win-win solution for all parties. You're not trying to out smart the other party. And they shouldn't be trying to out smart you. Just be honest with them. If they have a realtor then you just talk to the realtor. Let them find out all the question you have on the place.
That is a very excellent point.
I didn't mean to make it sound as if I wanted to try to outsmart the person. I just was asking which way would make most sellers more comfortable. Well thanks for all the advice guys, this should help. :)