I was talking with a new investor who had his first in-person meeting with a seller over the weekend. Do you remember the first time that you met with a seller? I sure do. I was terrified. However, I acted like I’d closed thousands of deals before, I was confident and I ended up closing the deal.
Keys to Meeting Sellers of Potential Real Estate Investments
Every time that I get ready to meet with a seller I’m obsessive-compulsive. The reason for this is because every deal I close is worth thousands of dollars to me. So, if I were to go to a deal unprepared and didn’t walk out with a signed contract, it would cost me a ton of money.
The first thing I do is to make sure I’m dressed properly
Do my khaki’s have any stains on them? Is my shirt ironed, or is it all wrinkled and makes me look like a bum? What about my shoes, are they shined? Some of you reading this may think I’m going a little overboard, but humans are very finicky people. Perhaps you go to a deal with scuffs all over your shoes and the seller is a Marine. The Marine thinks that because you have scuffs all over your shoes you don’t value your appearance and therefore he doesn’t like you. And if he doesn’t like you then he won’t want to sell you his house. I bring up this example because I deal with military people all of the time and I’ve had them tell me before how impressed they were that I always showed up early and that I was prompt in all my dealings with them.
After inspecting my dress, I check and then double check that I’ve got all of the correct paperwork to bring with me
Then I make sure I have the seller’s phone number and directions to their house. And, (I’m about to reveal one of my biggest pet peeves) if you think you’re going to be even just ONE minute late to a sellers house, call them and let them know. And when you get to the seller’s house if you’re late, apologize profusely.
Once you’re at the seller’s house let them do most of the talking. You learn a lot more in life by listening than running your mouth. The seller’s will most likely reveal even more information that will help you close the deal (even though if you’ve taken the time to drive to their house you better be 90% sure you’re going to get the deal).
I bet you’re probably wondering what you do if it’s your first meeting with a seller, and they ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to? Well, you tell them you don’t know the answer, but that you’re partner does. So you will give them a call that evening with the answer after you’ve talked with your partner (Your partner can be a mentor, another investor, Google, Yahoo, BiggerPockets).
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed at all if you don’t know all the answers.
There’s a lot to learn in this business and it takes time just like any new endeavor does. Also, if you’re just starting out I would try and go on as many visits as you can. I know I just said that you shouldn’t go to a sellers house unless you’re 90% sure you’re going to close a deal. Let me correct myself: Once you’re moving and shaking in this business, your time becomes very valuable and you never go to a seller’s house unless you’re sure you’re going to close the deal. However, in the beginning you need all of the practice you can get.
So go on as many visits as you can even if there is only a 10% chance you’re going to close the deal. Plus, it’s much better that you screw up a meeting with a deal that has very little chance of closing, than blow a deal where you just lost $20,000. So get out there and start going on one visit per week at a minimum.
Photo Credit: EPA Smart Growth