On my way home from work I walked by a small mini "FSBO" sign and decided to walk afar off and contact the owner by text, since my phone doesn't have voice recording. I saved the conversation and wanted to know if I asked the right questions and spoke to the owner in a normal "I'm a buyer" context rather than a "I'm an investor" context. What questions should I have asked, what questions shouldn't I have asked, also to note recently the sign was taken down and I saw a mini u haul next to the owners town-home. I guess they found a buyer, if so then i'm glad she won't have to worry about the mortgage anymore and can move on; ok so here's the conversation I had with the owner through text messaging. (my personal thought's in parenthesis)
-------- Saturday (7/11/15), 5:34pm ---------
Me: Hello, I saw you're sign at the corner. May I ask why you're selling and for how much?
Owner: $199k, upgrading our home
Me: You just want to move, am I correct?
Owner: Yes. are you interested in buying or are you a realtor?
Me: I'm not a realtor but i am interested. How soon are you trying to move? :) (trying to keep it friendly and cool using smiley faces, not sure if it worked LOL!)
Owner: No rush, just when we get the right offer (not-motivated, got it, well ..... eeek!)
Me: Ok ......... are there any repairs that you think needs to be done that i need to be aware of?
Owner: No, it's in really good shape, there are pictures on zillow if you want to check them out. (ooooh, so she's been to a realtor?)
Me: LOL! ok cool, I was just about to ask you that. :) is you're price negotiable? (not sure if the LOL!'s worked either LOL!)
Owner: slightly but not much
Me: What's the least you'll accept.?
Owner: $196k (divide by .70 = $137,200 - $10k rpr - $20k pft, compared to comps = NO DEAL)
Me: Ok .... do you still live there.?
Owner: Yes we do
Me: If I wanted to move in soon, how much would you accept now, that will be enough for you to move.?
Me: You still there?
Owner: $196k is the lowest we are prepared to go now.....just put on market and getting slot of interest.
Me: Oh ok, ...... you recently went to a realtor am I correct.?
Owner: No, no realtors. ( you just said you put it on market.?, hmmmm ...... ok!)
Me: Oh ok, ....... is the home in you're name?, I just want to make sure i'm buying from you and not someone else.
Me: May I ask what's you're first and last name?
Owner: I'm not comfortable with these questions.
Me: Ok, i'm sorry i just wanted to know how to address you in these texts. Is it ok if I have you're first name.? :)
Me: Ok Brenda, my name is Octavia :). You told me that the home is in you're name so I assume that there is no mortgage on the home that's on record. am I right.?
Owner: No, we have a mortgage, it's in my name
(so how does one have the deed in their name yet owe $$ to the bank?, I checked to confirm that the home is in here name, it is but how is there a mortgage on it also, doesn't the banks name also have to be on the deed or does she owe money to someone else.? )
Me: Oh ok, what source helped you determine how much you're house is worth.?
Owner: Sales comparable's
(for some reason, I think i'm speaking to another investor, unless home owners have gotten more smart at discovering their homes current worth and is trying to get as much as they can off it, makes sense.)
Me: Ok, ...... is it ok if i asked what bank you have a mortgage with and how much you owe?
Owner: i'm not providing that (I'm not even sure if I should have asked that)
Me: Ok, it's ok :), I was a bit hesitant on asking you that due to it being too personal. i'm sorry :). Is you're price enough to pay off the mortgage at least.? (smiles, smiles and more smiles, keeping it friendly. LOL!)
Owner: Of course
Me: Will you accept any type of flexible payment.?
Me: Ok, ....... so you want $199k for you're home based on comparable sales but will accept $196k that will be enough to pay off you're mortgage which is great. Also you still live in the home and is in no hurry to move out and will not accept any flexible payment that would be enough for you to move out. Am i correct with everything.? :)
Owner: Yes (what do you guys think so far.?, of course i just kept ooooon going)
Me: Will you accept partial payment now and the rest later.?
Owner: No (Thanks for confirming to me you're previous answer)
Me: Ok, i'm going to check a couple of things based on the info. you helped me understand and i will contact you if I want to go ahead and buy you're home.? is that ok.? :)
( I felt like i lied when I said this, because I don't have money to buy it, yet I do want to live in one of the town-homes in the sub-division the owner lives in, yet my goal of course was to wholesale it but also practice my speaking .......... or texting skills to try and not sound like an investor.)
Me: Ok cool, oh and one more thing, if i contact you back and decide to go ahead and buy the home home. How soon will it take for you to move out.?
Owner: About 30 days
(so if I had one week to move out of my place, I would have to stay in a hotel for you to be ready to move out around the same time it takes for the money and everything else to go through ................................................ a realtor and title .............................. right!)
Me: Ok then, it was nice talking to you Brenda and i'll check out the home and how many bedrooms and baths and such it has from the zillow website. :)
( I did and what I saw was the result of a possibly lazy home owner or realtor, 1 picture of the home, last year, nothing else ................................................. very motivating LOL!)
------- THE END! --------
Thanks guys for you're constructive criticism, advise, tips and any other comments you want to leave me regarding this. Sure will help me out a ton on understanding better what i did wrong, what I can improve on and what should be done next time.
I would not have told someone who had contacted me by text where my mortgage was and how much I owed on it. I wouldn't tell my neighbors how much I owe on my mortgage!
I would have told you my first name, but not my last name. I don't think it is asking too much, but I get why they wouldn't share that over a text.
I would not have asked much of this over text to be honest. Texting isn't the best way to handle the initial conversation. If your phone doesn't have voice recording, get a google voice number - they are free.
As for the mortgage vs owning the home in their name, I think most retail sellers would consider their home to be theirs in their name even if they have a mortgage.
I do think the repairs question was a good one, as well as why are they moving. But to keep pressing after you have figured out there is no room for profit was a waste of your time and hers.
I would recommend phoning in the future. Asking less personal questions, a first name is fine but why do you need to know if they will be able to pay off their mortgage? With all the phone scams out there now, people wanting personal information, I might just hand up on you if you called asking me all these questions.
Also, whenever I am selling, I am always asked What is the lowest you will take? I hate that question. I usually counter with What is the highest you will pay? And to ask before you have even seen the house? I just don't think that is a first conversation question.