Seriously, Just Ask!

7 Replies

It appears that I may have accidentally found myself in the middle of a sociological experiment.

Six months ago I bought a primary residence for my wife and I.  As I looked from the top of the driveway down at the 1.25+ acre lawn my attention was drawn to the 20 year old ridding lawnmower in the garage to my left.  I didn't own a mower so I immediately decided to write in the offer that the mower would convey.  Flash forward to the spring and I realized that it ran exactly like I feared it would, like a 20 year old piece of junk.  After two cuts I decided that this wasn't going to work.

I bought a new mower and as only one will fit in the garage I parked the old one at the head of my driveway with the intention of putting a "Free" sign on it.  That was around June 1st.  Today is July 28th and I must admit, I still have not bought and put up that damn sign, all though I did post it on craigslist and that has to count for something, right?

The other day I was melting into the seat of my new bad as John Deere as the Maryland sun ripped me to pieces when my neighbor Bill stopped by and said "hey, what are you doing with that old mower"  I said, I know I could sell it for parts for $50 but its been out here for two months and the wife is getting pissed.  I just want it out of here so anyone who wants it can come and take it. He said "seriously? Two of our neighbors have asked me about it. They said they know someone who does small engine repair and they want the mower".  I told Bill that I just wanted it gone and that I was surprised no one had knocked on me door or left me a note expressing their interest.  I then took the key off my key ring, put in the ignition of the old mower and said, "here, tell them they don't even have to come talk to me.  They can grab this thing in the middle of the night for all I care, as long it gets gone, the wife will be happy and happy wife = happy life."

That was two days ago and as I pulled into my driveway today I was both shocked and pissed off that the damn mower was still there!  However, this got me thinking.  This is the difference in mindset between a real estate investor and the average person.  If I lived across the street and saw a potential gain by acquiring that mower then I would have immediately walked up the driveway, knocked on the door and taken possession of the mower.

I then started to think of all the opportunities lost by real estate investors because of questions unasked. I attend at least one REIA type meeting a week and I constantly hear investors make excuses for not asking simple questions that can significantly benefit them. These are things like: "Mr. Seller, If I could assume your current loan or do a subject to deal then I could increase my offer price. Would that interest you?" or "Mrs Seller, I can give you all of that $80,000 now but don't you think it would be beneficial for me to give you some of it now and the rest in the form of a high interest monthly payment?" These are just two of the questions I have recently asked that have turned duds into deals and raised my profit margin. You will never know what a seller is willing to do if you don't ask!

So, what if these two separate members of my community who have an interest in the mower simply walked up my driveway and knocked on my door?  Well, they would be pushing my trash and their treasure down the road moments later. Is a distressed property with a motivated seller any different?   

What an awesome post!!! I am especially encouraged by the fact that when you stated that you were surprised they didn't just walk up to you and inquire about the mower, I felt the same way! Why wouldn't you just ask! That is truly a great mentality to have, knowing that hey this can work if both of us work together to achieve a win-win solution for all! Excellent post and thanks for sharing!

@Jason Hatfield Epic advice. And excellent observation. 

I know for a fact that some of the best deals I've come across have resulted from asking questions that I would normally be uncomfortable asking.

This is a noteworthy example of how stepping out of your comfort zone is the ONLY way to become a successful RE Investor. 

I commend you for writing this.
We can all sit here and research, learn, listen to the BP podcast, etc. all we want.
But it all comes down to courage. That includes asking thought provoking and actionable questions

Nice post, @Jason Hatfield .  You're so right about this.  If you want something you have to go out and ask for it.  The world is not going to place things in your lap.

And yes, I think it's a little nutty that someone who wanted the mower watched it sit at the end of your driveway for two months and in all that time they never walked up the driveway to ask you about it.

Thank you Jon & Meghan.

As for the mower, I book down and listed it in craigslist at 9:00 last night.  By 8:00 this AM I had eight responses, three of them being from the same person. I might want to make my next post about persistence because guess who drove away with the mower at 10:00 AM?  Yup, the guy who had emailed me three times

Originally posted by @Jason Hatfield :

Thank you Jon & Meghan.

As for the mower, I book down and listed it in craigslist at 9:00 last night.  By 8:00 this AM I had eight responses, three of them being from the same person. I might want to make my next post about persistence because guess who drove away with the mower at 10:00 AM?  Yup, the guy who had emailed me three times

 Great story and well said.

The power of asking is truly incredible! 

Thank you for the narrative and lesson Jason!

My best deals have been the "crazy" question or crazy idea deals. While more often they fail than pan out, the ones that do pan out have been incredibly lucrative.

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