Hi everyone, as I am getting ready to start sending out yellow letter I have a couple of questions.
If I don't have good handwriting would it really have a negative effect on my results, I was going to hand write all of the letters.
What should I write in the letter, is there a script I should follow?
Should I get a google voice number so when people call they don't call my real number? And should I make a voicemail so if I can't pick up they will still know something about me, and if I were to make a voicemail what should I say? Or does google voice not allow you to make a voicemail (I'm not sure because I've never used it before).
And if I can pick up the phone should I follow a script, what should I say in that script?
1. If you have handwriting that isn't very legible, you should consider using a handwriting font that mimics real handwriting if you're going for that authentic feel to the letter
2. Keep the message short. Something along the lines of explaining who you are, what your intent is, how you can solve problems, etc. Really, you can just Google "direct mail scripts" and go from there
3. Yes you should get a Google Voice number and set up a voicemail.
4. Not really a script to follow. You don't want to sound like you're reading from a card. Just make some bullet points and seek info. You want to use the phone call to qualify or disqualify the person calling. By this I mean you want to find out if they're willing to sale, what price they are looking for, the condition of the home, do they have equity in the home, are they experiencing life events that would lead them to sale (you don't want to ask this directly, but listen if it is mentioned).
There's a book called Flip: How to Find, Fix, and Sell Houses for Profit by Clay Davis and Rick Villani that has a chapter all about direct mail and scripts. Excellent read. Hope this helps.
Thanks @Bob Okenwa ! I can't print out special fonts as of now because I can't spend money on printing a lot of letter, do you think that me handwriting my letters will negatively effect my results though? My handwriting is a little bad but it's still legible.
You can usually download fonts for free on the internet, and an inkjet printer usually isn't more than $30 or $40 these days. Not sure what your budget for direct mail is or how many letters you plan to send, but if it's just a handful of letters, then you can write it. If it's anything more than that, you should really consider printing as the cost of time is just as, if not more, important than the cost of money. Unless your handwriting is illegible, I can't really say what kind of effect it'll have. I know everyone doesn't write with the beauty of calligraphy, but you want to make sure your message is able to be easily discerned.
@Bob Okenwa thanks for this advice, I might buy a printer to do this, but I have a question. Will the printer print properly on the lines of the yellow paper that I would put in the paper, or would it print messed up?
I don't know. I've never done it. Try this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HQQ6MTfzlbJPu2H6XrFXeVIZwcD7AmBV2iduKn5M2bc/edit. Otherwise, just Google "Yellow lined paper template" and go from there.
@Michael Kantar Im gonna have to disagree with the 'no script' approach. Do you think academy award winning actors just wing it as to sound more natural? Nope, they have a script that they rehearse over and over and over again until it can be spoken with the right inflection and timing.. so write out your script, and read it out loud..over and over again. Write down every question you think a seller might throw at you, and write out your rebuttals.. and then practice those too. Good luck man!
Ok thanks@Bob Okenwa you were a great help!
@Lloyd Stanton thanks for the help! What should I put in this script? Also what is your stance on the handwriting versus the printing, especially since my handwriting isn't the best?
@Michael Kantar With the exception of having a physical ailment that prevents your ability to print carefully, if you can't figure out how to slow down and write in clear language - you're going to run into substantially larger challenges : ) This really should not be an issue worth expending you energy on.
You can just Google yellow letters and call script, there is hundreds upon hundreds of examples. Most of them are relatively the same. Simple.
Of course you should get a number with a voicemail. "This is Michael Kanter. Thank for reaching out, please leave a message and I will return you call as soon as possible."
Now by script, if you mean word by word what to say - that doesn't exist. Now, if you just mean questions that you need to ask on the call, 100% you need a script. There about 20+ questions you need to work into the conversation, and sellers rarely cooperate and answer your question. Honestly, if I don't have my script in front of me, no way I'd remember all the questions. Here's an example: I was talking to a seller the other day, I was caught off guard away from my PC so didn't have my script. We got to chatting about various things, by the end of the call, I realized I forgot to ask about the remaining debt . . . It's easy to get distracted when you're having a human conversation.
What is your concrete plan to execute on the leads? That's where I'd really be spending my time on . . . You can set this other stuff up in a couple hours.
I didn't mean no as in have no script at all. I meant that he shouldn't expect read directly from a card when talking to a live person over the phone. You cannot account for all the variables that go on in a conversation with a stranger. If you have some bullet points lined up and things like that and a general reference of what to say, then great.
Thanks everyone I will get some templates online, buy a printer, get some scripts, and ok ready to go thanks to you guys! Once again thank you everyone!
Hi @Michael Kantar . There have been many posts and discussions about this subject here on BP. Try searching the forums and I am sure you will find many posts that may be helpful.
It looks like everyone here gave you some good answers, but one thing I would add is that I agree with that fact that you should have a script that you practice. Get someone to roleplay with you and rehearse the script over and over again, until you have it memorized. You want to be able to pick up the phone when it rings and know exactly what to say, what questions to ask and how to determine if you have a motivated seller or not without having to think about any of it. You need to have your script internalized so that you feel and sound confident on the phone. If you sound shakey or uneasy you wont get very far.
See these other discussions:
And here is a full questionnaire that you should be familiar with:
Motivated Seller Questionnaire
A motivated seller questionnaire is the simplest and most useful tool for screening motivated seller leads. The motivated seller questionnaire is especially useful for screening real estate leads and sellers that come through blanket marketing methods like bandit sign marketing, flyer marketing and other more specific real estate lead generation methods.
The single most damaging mistake made by beginner real estate investors is not being selective enough about who they spend money, time and effort dealing with. The sample motivated seller questionnaire (and explanation paragraphs) on this page will equip you to avoid this common newbie mistake.
If you're new to wholesaling or creative real estate investing, you can save yourself a whole lot of mental and financial anguish by asking a series of two or three questions to help you decide whether to deal with a property seller or not.
The information you gather from a well crafted motivated seller questionnaire can also help you determine whether the property in question is worth investigating further, regardless of what you find about the urgency of the seller's situation.
The section below will take you through a shortened sample form and discuss each section in detail.
- Full Name
- Home Phone
- Work Phone (maybe fax also)
- Spouse Name (if any)
- Email Address
- Property Address (For Sale)
- How did you find us?
- Who helps you make major life decisions?
The reason you must capture this information as soon, as quickly and as completely as possible is because the phone line can cut off, or the seller might waver temporarily at the beginning of the contact process and you want to make sure you can get in touch with them somehow if that happens.
Although the property address might seem out of place in this part of the questionnaire, it's there so that you can do some preliminary due diligence research on the property. The last question is to help you monitor and track the effectiveness of your various marketing methods and tools...it can also help give you a preliminary idea of how motivated the seller is.
For instance, people who contact you through bandit signs will tend to be more 'out of options' than people who contact your newspaper or yellow page ads.
Screen for Motivation
- Is property currently on the market?
- If yes, how long has it been listed?
- Why are you selling?
- Have you listed your home with a real estate agent?
- What is your plan if your house doesn't sell?
- Do you have any written offers yet?
- Who lives in the property right now?
These are some of the types of questions that will help you determine what stage of motivation (read: desperation) your seller is in, and whether they've really thought through what their options are...
It's what you do here that starts to differentiate the ethical wholesaler from everyone else. If people have other reasonable options, an ethical wholesaler begins to educate them on those 'better' options, right about here. You might be shocked when they come back to you anyway... because the convenience of dealing with you as someone they now trust is 'better' to them than getting top dollar for their house.
- Are your mortgage payments current?
- In the process of divorce or separation?
- Downsizing? If so, why?
- Job relocation pressure?
- Pre-foreclosure notice received?
- Potential problem with co-owners? (Divorce, probate, business, etc)
- Property habitability issues due to severe property damage?
- Other need for fast and immediate lump sums of money? How much?
The questions in this section cut to the heart of why a property owner might run out of options to sell their house the conventional way. Many of the solutions you have to deliver to get substantial discounts on property would have to be solutions to headaches that nobody else (including the seller) wants to tangle with.
If you can't find any compelling problem in this section, you should seriously consider moving on with your life by referring them to some sort of service provider that might be more appropriate for them. 'Service providers' could include real estate agents, accountants, attorneys or even a non-profit organization like NACA-Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (not that they don't have their issues).
Property Inspection Report
- Property style: (duplex, rambler, Victorian, Spanish style, etc.)
- Square footage
- Age of property
- Neighborhood Quality scale
- Property damage report (Roof, Foundation, HVAC, electrical, plumbing)
- Any other improvements needed?
This section is about the physical condition of the property and to a certain extent, the neighborhood. Motivated sellers screening involves knowing how to ask open-ended probing questions about the property, to get more accurate and time-saving answers.
For example, instead of saying, "How is the roof? Good? Bad? Ugly?", you should ask instead, "When was the roof last replaced?"
Some landlords and property owners will call you assuming they can scam you into overpaying for their property...these may be motivated sellers later on, but at the moment, they're not worth dealing with and your screening process needs to be able to flush them out.
- Asking Price
- Mortgage loan balance
- Any 2nd mortgage on property?
- Lenders for 1st (and 2nd) mortgage
- Interest rates on outstanding loans
- Are loans fixed or variable? What are loan terms?
- Do you have all your loan papers accessible?
- Are there any other liens or debts on your properties?
- If yes, do you have lien papers?
- By how much are you behind on your mortgage?
- Have you been sent a foreclosure date? What date?
- How much rent per month? Proof? (if rental property)
- Any non-rental income from property?
- Any HOA (Homeowner's Association)? How much are HOA payments
- How much for PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance)payment?
- Utilities costs (Gas, Electric, Water) for the past 6 months
This part of your motivated seller questionnaire gives you the information with which you'll be able to decide whether the property needs a short sale, whether seller financing is an option, and how to structure a deal or an offer that can work for both you and the homeowner.
You'll also need this information to properly market the house to your investment property buyers.
If you're a new real estate investor, I hope you arm yourself with the information on this page to work out win-win-win solutions for your sellers, your buyers and yourself.
Motivated Seller Questionnaire Red Flags
The power of the motivated seller questionnaire is that it helps guide your interview process, and gives you a framework to make the screening as conversational as possible (In other words, it's a script, without the mechanical sounding words and phrases).
It helps you in the 4 following ways:
- Avoid Outright deception by prospective property sellers
- Properly screen your inbound leads for seller motivation
- Helps screen out irritable, irrational, potentially psychotic people you should never, ever deal with
- Helps you build rapport with target ideal candidates
- Supplies information to help structure your deals
Avoiding Outright Deception
I've had a property owner tell me "..All the house needs is less than $5,000 dollars in repairs, and it's ready..." on a house that clearly needed so much work ($35,000 to $40,000 dollars) that no buyer or agent had ever called him back.
Better Motivated seller screening
Being a successful real estate wholesaler is a matter of alignment. Your services are only appropriate for a small segment of the property owner and investor buyer markets, and you have to make sure that you deal with the right people only. Being a successful real estate investor or wholesaler starts with not being shy about asking all the questions you need to get the answers you have to have.
If you're dealing with a motivated seller and you're too squeamish to ask all the questions required to build the required rapport and ask all these questions, you'll definitely regret it down the road and it may be too late then.
Avoiding the Almost-Insane Customer
I really apologize to you if you're one of my sensitive readers, but you'll find out if you really want to go out there that some people are really emotionally maladjusted enough to be considered almost-crazy.
Every landlord or homeowner that I've ever regretted dealing with came with warning signs at the very beginning of the communication process; warning signs I should have heeded. There's no amount of money worth the hassle you'll get by dealing with someone who's going to lie about what you said, lie about what they said, change their minds 2 or 3 times a day, and then run off with your money! I hope I've said enough. Do as I say, not as I did.
Building rapport with sellers
This is one of the most under-estimated aspects of making money in real estate. All other things being equal, having a nice rapport with the seller can mean having a 120 day settlement term rather than 5, greater flexibility to inspect, or show the property and countless other details that can make or break your deal. Having a seller information script that you can use in your initial conversation goes a long way in helping you build that rapport.
Be careful to use a conversational (but authoritative) tone when going through the information gathering process using the motivated seller questionnaire.
What determines whether you have a wholesale deal, a short sale, lease option or Seller financing (Subject-to) deal?
The structure of financing currently on the house, the mortgage balance, the sellers other financial assets, and so on!
If you don't have these pieces of information, no fancy real estate deal analysis software being peddled by the real estate money gurus will help you.
On the other hand, if you have all that verified financial and house payment information from the seller, you can do all the real estate deal analysis you need on a paper napkin and be successful.
What's the moral of this story?
Your motivated seller questionnaire can help you land a deal and being squeamish about asking the questions on the motivated seller questionnaire, is probably a sign that you should look for one of the thousand other ways to make your fortune. Good luck!
Free eBook from BiggerPockets!
Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!
- Actionable advice for getting started,
- Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
- Learn how to get started with or without money,
- Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
- And a LOT more.
Sign up below to download the eBook for FREE today!
We hate spam just as much as you
Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community
Basic membership is free, forever.