Can Cherry Picking Hurt Your Real Estate Business?


Cherry PickingWhy would anyone want to cherry pick their deals? What if you miss out on a big deal?

In basketball, the player that stands by the net the entire game and takes the easy shots is considered a cherry picker. This is frowned upon because they want you to be more engaged in the game. They want you to sweat and push your self so hard to earn each and every point. Not take the easy way out and cherry pick all day.

That’s not how you play the game, right?… Or is it?

Let’s get right to the purpose of this post. Because I’m not here to talk about going in the field and picking cherries and I’m not here to talk about the game of basketball.

I’m here to talk about the game of real estate and whether the concept of cherry picking in real estate can help or hurt your business. I’m also going to let you in on why I don’t follow the “first come, first serve” rule in my business and why you shouldn’t either.

But first, let’s start this off the right way…

What the heck is Cherry Picking When It Comes to Real Estate?

Cherry picking is a method used to position you and your business to only work with the most qualified leads first. This actually goes against the “first come, first serve” rule. For example, if you had a real estate website and you had 2 seller leads sign up in the past 48 hours, who would you contact first.

Seller Lead “A” signed up at 8:00am on Monday

They completed 60% of your sign up form and according to their numbers, you had the potential to make $20,000.  They also mentioned that they weren’t too flexible on terms.(Of course you would need to contact them to confirm and to also get more information)

Seller Lead “B” signed up at 11:00pm on Tuesday

They completed 100% of your sign up form and according to their numbers, you had the potential to make $12,000. They also said that they were flexible on price. (Of course you would need to contact them to confirm and to also confirm their  information)

Wednesday is your day to hammer down and contact leads, so my question for you is: Who would you contact first?

Some investors right off the bat, would go after the one with more money (Seller Lead “A”).  To them it would be a no brainer. You can do alot of things with $20,000 and if you negotiate right…maybe you can make more.

However, right off the bat Seller “A” throws up two red flags for me:

  1. They didn’t even take time to complete form.
  2. They said they weren’t flexible on price…

These 2 reasons alone would make me contact “Seller B” First

Now I know what some investors might be thinking…

Lamar, What If they had technical problems with the website?

What if they were in a rush and just provided as much as they could?

Lamar, Are you crazy? Seller “A” has more potential to make you more money? Who cares about flexiblity? I like the sound of $20,000 bucks.

Well, you have a right to ask questions like these. However in my opinion, “Seller B” would be the easier choice. Initially when I see choices like this, maybe there are valid reasons why “Seller A” didn’t completely fill out the form. Maybe they aren’t as flexible because they feel that they’re giving you a really good deal to be. But this is not something you’d be aware of upfront. You’d have to make the call to find out. A call that will take time.

I’d contact “Seller B” first because to me that seller seems to be more motivated. They said they were flexible on the price and even took the time to complete 100% of the form.  (Basically answering all your initial questions)

I don’t have the time or patience to play the “What if” game. Cherry picking your leads will save you time because way you are contacting the most qualified leads first.  Someone that can’t even take the time to answer all the questions you provide on your site isn’t someone who is too serious about selling their home. You could contact them and they could have “trust issues” and only reveal information that they want you to know. Not information that you need. If they’re not flexible on the price, then that is already a sign that you may have a tough negotiation.

Who cares if they signed up first? The fact is that its your business and you deal with whomever you want. Cherry pick the best leads and I guarantee you’ll see sucess much faster. It helps you save time, stay focused, weed out the tire kickers, and get deals closed fast!

In my opinion, Cherry Picking the best leads can only help your business. If you get tied up in the “What if” factor, then you may end up hurting your business.  You’d be suprised out how many “unmotivated” sellers you can identify upfront.

One of the questions I ask on my website is:

Are you Very Motivated, Somewhat Motivated, or Just Curious?

You’d be suprised at how many people actually answer “somewhat motivated”.

Although cherry picking is frowned upon in basketball, the team with the most shots will always win the game. In real estate, it’s all about getting your deals closed. Bottom line!

To your success,

J. Lamar Ferren

“New Breed” Real Estate Investor

Ps. The best way to cherry pick leads is to have a website. If you don’t have one, then you really need to get one. Do you practice cherry picking in  your business? Why or Why not?

Photo Credit: Axel-D

About Author

J. Lamar Ferren is a 26 year old New Breed Real Estate Investor who takes down deals nationwide. Through direct response marketing he uses creative and outside the box methods, both online and offline to attract buyers, sellers, and investors.


  1. I work with a first come, first served mentality. This keeps everyone on their toes. I let everyone know I want to close fast and I set a deadline. If the other party is not ready within a reasonable period of time, I send them to the sin bin (End of the line).

  2. I think this is a good point. When I was hungry for property I would write an offer on any house. No matter how low.

    Now I am a bit more picky and try to focus on working with people I know. This is a good reminder that I should go after everything again.
    .-= Steve´s last blog ..House #23 Wholesaled =-.

  3. Lamar:

    excellent post! I think in a tight market cherry picking is necessary to survive. You have to make sure that you have a good pre-qual process in place so you don’t overlook anything, but when it comes to doing actual deals, it’s all about conserving your time, energy and ability to focus.

    .-= Thomas Bartke´s last blog ..Overwhelmed by Short Sales? =-.

  4. I wouldn’t call this cherry picking as much as truly qualifying people to see who is more likely to actually purchase.

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