When Making Offers on Real Estate, When Does ‘No’ Really Mean NO?


The answer is “Not really when they first say no.” I prefer to think of it as “not right now.” I never take a seller off my list just because they have said no to my offer.

When someone asks me when I take a seller off my list, I always tell them there are three occasions:

  • When I buy the house
  • When someone else buys the house
  • Or when they ask to be removed from my list

That’s it. So long as it is a house I want to buy, I leave them on the list even after they have said no to my offer.  I have learned that no really doesn’t always mean no.

A Lead From April

I am working on a wholesale deal now that came from my absentee owner list that should FINALLY close on Monday; that is if the final 3 pieces of paperwork are done correctly when they come back this time. This is the second time they have been sent out, and each time something is missing; either a signature, a signature that wasn’t notarized or a social security number.

This has been a difficult deal from the get go. When I first spoke with the seller in April, she said that unless I could get close to the asking price there was no point in talking further. She was of course asking full price for a house that needed 20K plus in repairs and updates. I told her that I understood and wished her luck in selling the property. I also kept mailing to her every month.

She called me again in May and then again about the first of July. She still wasn’t budging on her price, but the frequency of her calls told me that she was getting more motivated. At this time I hadn’t even looked at the house. But I knew the neighborhood, and she had been very open and honest about the condition of the property. So I had a fair idea of what to expect. I also knew that there would almost certainly be other things she had failed to include.

Fast Forward to August

It’s now four months after our initial conversation, and my seller called me again. She is finally  a motivated seller, but she says there is just one problem. She lives in another state and doesn’t have a key to the property. So I arranged for a locksmith to come out and re-key the front door (at her expense).  I met the locksmith, looked at the property and took pictures, and went back to my office. I gave her a call and made my offer. This offer by the way was right at where I thought it would be, and was for the amount she had previously rejected. She accepted the offer right away and told me she would have to get her brother who was the other POA to agree to the price and sign the paperwork. She did not give any indication that this would be a problem.

This is where the story gets interesting.

As I said, this lead came from my absentee owner list. What I didn’t know at that time was that my seller and her brother were no longer speaking and they lived in two different states.  Their parents had been divorced for many years but never did a property settlement. Each of these siblings was the POA for a different parent. Both parents were elderly but were living. They needed to sell the property for financial reasons.

What we have here are parents that live in Virginia and Kentucky, and middle aged siblings who are the POA’s that live in Georgia and Florida.  Added to the mix were two attorneys which lived in Virginia, the same state as the elderly father.

Can I just say this is the perfect recipe for a whole lot of grief?

I’m not going to bore you with the details of this crazy situation with these crazy people. Let’s just say that I am overjoyed to finally be at the finish line!  It’s the middle of December and I am finally closing this wholesale deal which began in April.

The point I am trying to make is that most of my wholesale deals are seamless like the one I put together yesterday. But every now and then, it takes many conversations and a “no or two” before the seller finally says “yes”. And sometimes it takes listening to their problems for what seems like endless hours while trying to find a solution to each and every one of these roadblocks.  It is in these times your people skills will make or break you. Your ability to solve problems will be your secret weapon that sets you apart from the rest of the pack.

Photo: o5com

About Author

Sharon Vornholt

Sharon has been investing in real estate since 1998. She owned and operated a successful home inspection company for 17 years. In January of 2008 she took the leap of closing her business to become a full time real estate investor.


  1. Chris Clothier

    Sharon –

    I really like the article and the story you shared. Seems like being creative, using people skills and being persistent are pretty good weapons when you have zeroed in on a property and really want to get the deal done.

    Thanks for a great article.


Leave A Reply

Pair a profile with your post!

Create a Free Account


Log In Here