Finding motivated sellers (my list)

138 Replies

Hey guys, over time I have taken lots of ideas from BP on finding motivated sellers. I compiled a list and am sharing it back with BP members. Enjoy!

Hey guys, over time I have taken lots of ideas from BP on finding motivated sellers. I compiled a list and am sharing it back with BP members. Its nothing new, just my list.... hope it helps a new person out.

1. Tired landlords
a. List of eviction court attendants
b. Mailers to Out of state landlords
c. Mailers to Landlords who own more than one property with back taxes
d. Mailers to Landlords who own tax delinquent multi-family properties
e. Buy a “leads list” of landlords from: (

2. Mailers to Property owners whose assessment went way up this year
3. Mailers to Properties that were owned by known investors who went out of business
4. Mailers to out of state landlords/Owners of multifamily houses
5. Mailers to Tax delinquent homeowners
6. Place “We Buy houses” flyers/business cards at unemployment offices….a lot of people there could be having trouble with their homes and may need a solution
7. One-page Flyers posted on bulletin boards at large stores
8. Mailers to Vacant land owners (only in specific areas where development is ideal)
9. Using Craigslist to find sellers:
a. Post ad that states, “We Buy houses”
b. Send emails to craigslist ads with apartments for rent (the emails go to landlords who may be looking to sell, or buying more properties)
10. Mailers to specific zip codes (preferably low income neighborhoods) asking if they want to sell or know someone who does
11. Mailers to People getting divorced
12. Mailers to Divorce Attorneys who can refer clients to us
13. Mailers/emails to FSBOs
14. Send mailers to expired MLS Listings
15. Post ad on We buy houses
16. Send mailers to properties purchased between 3k-20k within last five years (owner might be wanna-be flipper who did nothing with property)
17. Send mailers to estate Executors/Administrators
18. Send mailers to Estate/Probate Attorneys (consider having my attorney send letter, business cards to Estate attorneys because attorneys always open mail from other attorneys)
19. Bandit signs: We buy houses
20. Big Baller marketing: TV, billboards, radio ads
21. Send mailers to Out of state owner who have owned for more than x years (more than 30 years, so you know its free and clear meaning they will be more flexible with sales price)
22. Send mailers to Building code violators
23. Send mailers to Health code violators
24. Send mailers to people facing foreclosure
25. Purchase leads lists of folks who inherited homes
26. Send mailers to people making double payments (bought a new house, REALLY want to sell old house)
27. Target people who have been transferred (job) and must sell NOW
28. Target people with medical problems / health issues who cannot keep their houses
29. Target who own vacant homes
30. Target people who are having financial chaos of any sort
31. Target people who are 30-60 day late on mortgage lists
32. Send ads/ mailers/business cards to Credit Repair Agencies & Credit Counselors
33. Target HUD/VA Foreclosures
34. Send mailers to people arrested for violent crimes (going to prison for a long time)
35. Send Mailers/ads/business cards to Realtors
36. Send mailers to employees who have been laid off (ie “corporate downsizing” in the news)
37. Networking with other investors, ACRE
38. Locate list of section 8 approved properties—send mailers to the owners
39. Post Newspaper classified ads: We Buys houses
40. Send mailers to Properties with liens: Mechanics Liens, HOA Liens, Tax Liens
41. Contact sales people at new home subdivisions (their clients will want to sell their OLD houses) (or place signs near new home subdivisions that say "Sell Your House Fast" with your phone number….they will want to sell their old house ASAP)
42. Contact mortgage companies; they may know of people wanting to sell their old house/last house
43. Hire bird dogs (sometimes even through craigslist “help wanted” ads)
44. Send mailers to Bankruptcy court listings
45. Send advertisements, business cards to Accountants and CPA Firms: They have clients with financial problems where an investor can be of help.
46. Send ads, mailers, business cards to real estate attorneys
47. Advertise using Apparel with Logos: Hats, T-Shirts, Golf Shirts,
48. Send to anyone getting their car repossessed: If the car is going the house isn’t far behind.
49. Send ads, business cards to carpet cleaners: Many of their customers are preparing a house for sale.
50. Consider sending mailers to charitable groups/churches: They frequently receive gifts of real estate, but they’d rather have the cash
51. Send ads, business cards to City & County Inspectors: Code violations and red tags. (If you develop a reputation of buying distressed properties and improving them, you become an asset to the
52. Community)
53. Send ads to Large Employers (HR departments): Let them know you buy properties because if they need to transfer an employee, they don’t get stuck carrying the house. This can be good for renting
54. executive properties for short-term transferees, too.
55. Place ads on boards at Nursing & Retirement Homes: Frequently residents need to sell a house.
56. Consider placing Door Hangers on target properties: You can also use pre-printed post-it notes to leave messages at target properties. Be sure to advertise on both sides, you can even sell the back side
57. and recover your advertising cost!
58. Send mailers to addresses having Garage Sales: Are they moving?
59. Send mailers to Hair Salons/Barbers: A social hub! Lots of talking going on during haircuts!
60. Send mailers, ads, business cards to Insurance Brokers: Policy changes from owner occupant to landlord or vacant house coverage.
61. Recruit Mail Carriers to notify you of vacant properties
62. Send mailers to Owner of multiple properties (target them to offload portfolios)
63. Post advertisement in PennySaver type papers: We Buy houses
64. Send mailers to Water, Gas, and electric company shut off lists
65. Or, just buy leads from:


Hi there. You are welcome. Hopefully you'll get some value from it. I have lots more to post, but I will pace myself on posting.


It takes time to build up street cred. :)

If you check the file section - you will see my list under spreadsheets titled "zero down - motivated sellers". I tried to keep
it all on one page to make it easy for people to have a simple guide to see who to contact. You may have all of these in your list and perhaps you will find a few more ideas that will help out in your investing goals. Good Luck.

Here is my list.

I don't think you need to do anything but two things. The reality is that finding motivated prospects is a rather simple concept. You don't need to hang signs or mail letters. All you have to do is.

1). Speak to everyone you know about who they know who needs to sell, and

2). Speak to everyone else. All of those people you come into contact with daily and ask them if they are thinking of selling or know someone who is.

Problem is that most of us don't ask for referrals or ask for business.

Glad you guys like it. Only one or two of them were my ideas. All the others were taken from other websites, a couple of wholesaling ebooks (one of which can be downloaded from right here on BP) and, of course, BP itself. I never really intended to share them, so the individual sources aren't being (fairly) cited....because I never kept track of where each one came from.

Thanks. I copied the list to a document. Will look over it to get ideas. As a new guy, looking for his first transaction, my challenge is to narrow down the scope and focus on 1-3 strategies consistently.

Good luck, Hart. Honestly, my best responses came from doubling up items on this list. Rather than just sending mailers to, say, tax delinquent owners, mix it up and send to the tax delinquent owners who are ALSO absentee. Or, send to anyone who has owned for 30 years or more AND who also has numerous properties they may want to get rid of. You should get a pretty sweet response from doing that.

Ken thanks for the feedback. Your list has been making its way around. Which suggestions from your list have you found to yield the most response/generated the most leads.

Do you know of any resources or online tools that can be used to better drill down and target the right areas/neighborhoods to market in?


I have only been doing this for about a year and a half, part-time, and as a bit of a casual hobby…so I am by no means an expert. With that, I have not tried all items on the list. All I have really done is send mailers (handwritten letters/envelopes, and post cards through click2mail). So, my few successes were merely from sending mail. But, as Michael Quarles always says: it isn’t about quantity—it’s about quality. I sent mailers to tax delinquent home owners who ALSO lived out of state…and got a 19% response rate. However, I got NO deals from them (most were in too poor of shape to do anything with, the owners wanted way too much for them, and some had already been torn down). So, that was an example of high quantity but low quality.

In terms of your question, I would be more focused on which types of sellers are the most lucrative and send to them—regardless of where the property is located (don’t focus on the area of town, just focus on the situation of the seller…if that makes sense).

By far, the biggest money makers (among my friends locally) are inherited properties (search keywords “probate” “estate” “Inherited” on BP forums to learn more). People inherit houses they don’t want, can’t afford, etc. and they are likely to sell for a great discount to get it off their hands. Most folks don’t need the burden of paying for an extra set of utilities, property taxes, etc. and the get really scared if they inherited an occupied property from a relative and became an instant landlord—even though they never had any intent to be one!

Check out this BP post the Michael posted a while back. Great content!

Kenneth, did you hand write all your letters? How many did you initially send per deal you were able to close if you don't mind me asking? Personally handwriting 1,000 letters seems to be where you would spend alot of time, lol

I like the idea of targeting inheritance, since 90% of the time, the estate managers/heirs want to sell off everything quick! I have seen cars go for dirt cheap in these cases, let alone houses.

@Kenneth E. So I asked this in another thread but didn't get a response, thought I would try here too.

How do you find people that fall into these categories? For example, how do you find contact information for people who are late on bill payments or mortgage payments, or contact information for people paying two notes?

I am aware of online tax data searches via city websites. But, for example, if someone owns a property in Baltimore and one property in DC, running a tax database search on only one of those cities websites is only going to show their Baltimore properties.

Is there a tax-database search that aggregates all these sites?

Kenneth, I came across your 65 ways to get a list of motivated sellers, did you happen to post a list of motivated 'Buyers" for these houses under contract by wholesalers by chance? Not being sarcastic here, cuz this is great stuff!! I was tickled to see this list and the time you took to put this on the post. ;)

Originally posted by Lisa Cunningham:
... did you happen to post a list of motivated 'Buyers" for these houses under contract by wholesalers by chance? Not being sarcastic here....

Please go to the Wholesaling forum, and read the sticky threads there to get this info - lots of good reading for you there to find buyers.

@Lisa Cunningham Steve is correct—there is a sticky for that very thing already on this site, so no—I don’t have a way to build a buyers list. It has been discussed ad nauseum on this site so I have nothing new to offer. Besides, I partner with a local wholesaler who already has a buyers list built; I find sellers, he finds buyers and we split profit 50/50. I know very little about building a buyers list. Sorry!

@Morris Lucas I did not handwrite all letters, just some. I typed some, wrote some, and had my girlfriend handwrite some. I was playing around and didn’t seriously track the response rate from each.
Before moving on I want to clarify that I have only sent mailers to about 1200 people over the last year and a half, got only three properties under contract and closed only two deals so far. So, I am no expert! I haven’t sent anything recently because I got a bit burned out…so those two closed deals were really during the 3-4 month period when I was sending lots of mailers…but, still casually. I am employed full time…and only played around with wholesaling in my spare time.

@Will K I do not know the answers to your questions. I didn’t pursue those avenues and cannot speak to them. I wish I could, but sorry.

Hi Kenneth....I just started reviewing the forums when I posted my first and Steve responded back, which took me back a bit. Anyway, I am seeing how useful this site is and have been here already a couple hours researching...Thank you for your kind consideration.

Thanks Kenneth!

Although you seem to have a causal approach, those are still GREAT numbers...especially being you have a full time gig;
Considering you only worked on Wholesaling 3-4 months, 1200 mailers is like 300 sent out per month average, and you closed 2 deals! Hopefully your profit in the deals was worth it vs the hours you put in (and i have to imagine it was).

I can only imagine what would happen if you ramped it up to 1000
mailers per month and got 2 college kids to do all the mailings..$$$

Great stuff, i gotta get to work, lol!

@Morris Lucas Thanks. I have been thinking about getting back into it. This time though, I will ramp things up a bit and automate some of the processes (shout out to the book "4 Hour Workweek" for giving me a bunch of ideas). Should be pretty sweet. :)

Also, this time I may actually break down all of my processes here on BP so any new beginners will have a step by step process for building their business. Then again, I may not since i dont want any local competitors to see the inner workings of my stuff. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here