How to approach owners with negative equity?

5 Replies

Hi guys,

I am just starting my career in real estate as a Realtor and I am looking for the best strategies to get leads.

I have also started to do door-knocking in Encino, CA. I approached someone last week and it turned out that this person has a $183,000.00 negative equity. Should I follow up with her and let her know that I can get the house sold so she can benefit from the current market trend that is slowly starting to shift? Is it a good idea to approach/target owners with negative equity? Can you motivate them by suggesting to go through a short sale before they default on the property? what are the downsides of going after this type of properties?

Thanks for your input!

Hello and welcome to a great part of this site Christophe!  That might be the only place in California to make a reasonable offer.  A negative equity property can take a long time (like a year) to close on and you usually do not find out into just days before closing you may be told "no". Other than the massive paperwork you might not know where you stand for 60 days.  getting to even talk to a decision-maker can be difficult.

You might wait until the seller gets more motivating with a pre-foreclosure letter and you might be able to make that go away by your offer that includes bringing them current at a highly discounted price.  You can try to make them a proposal now but I don't think they'll do anything until they get that pre-foreclosure letter. 

You might be better off waiting and regularly touching base so they remember your name at that critical time.  They may make a decision to sell before that ugly letter arrives so keep in touch and hope they remember you when whichever time comes.  Having such a large amount of negative equity and they could call you before that mean letter if you feel positively about their market value that can be more appetizing with a decent offer over their high negative equity.

Good luck to you!

It’s going to be a short sale.  You need to team up with someone experienced in short sales, it is not a “learn as you go”’ll screw up people’s lives by stumbling through it, making many mistakes.  Understand, many will do nothing until it is too late.

I second that. Find another agent that is very profficient with short sales/ foreclosures and work that side of the business amongst other sales too.

Thanks for your answers guys! I will try to team up with someone from the office to help me go through the process. 

As far as following up with the owners would you recommend to go and talk to them directly or regularly send them flyers and marketing materials (recently sold brochures, market reports etc...) to keep in touch with them? 

As far as pre-foreclosure, do you guys use a specific script to motivate the owners?  I know there are a few properties that are going through this process right now so I would love to approach them and go door knocking soon.

Hello again Christophe!  I would suggest that you talk to all owners personally and have a positive excuse each time to help them remember you.  Be distant but firm on your responsibilities and intent to be a purchaser.  Always continue your education and keep current on what's going on in your area or your subject area, or both.  Take care and continue being brave.  Best wishes!