Top Three Real Estate Prospecting Tips + My Letter to Motivated Sellers


Watching the A&E show Gold Rush got me inspired to write this post. While watching the show, I was thinking about how mining applies to real estate. Well real estate deal mining is basically what we call “prospecting”. Successful real estate investors mine for deals on a daily basis.

Prospecting for real estate deals is a mining activity as you are looking for real estate “pay dirt”. I wanted to share a few tricks that I have picked up on how to prospect for more “pay dirt” real estate:

My top three MLS prospecting tricks are as follows:

I. Age is Good:  A lot of investors try to jump on new properties that have been listed onto the market. They usually think that deals that have been on the market for a long period of time have something wrong with them as someone should have bought them by now if they are that good. The problem with them is typically the price.

Look for deals that have crossed the market average days on market (DOM) threshold. I have usually found that the agents are willing to present more creative offers once the listings pass this threshold as they are trying to show an offer to the seller indicating that they should consider the offer or drop their list price to be more price appropriate to market.

Related: If I Started Over Today: What 23 Real Estate Investors Would Do…

II. Back on Market Plays:  Utilize your MLS Hotsheet feature to get a daily list of back on the market listings. These are listings that were initially under contract, withdrawn or expired and now have been relisted. I like these listing as the sellers are typically more motivated as they have been waiting on their property to sell and they maybe getting desperate to end the frustrating selling process.

My best advice with these sellers is to approach them with multiple offers so that they have an opportunity to negotiate with you on items other than price. Here is how I setup my offers:

Offer A- All Cash at Price X

Offer B- Terms Offers at Price Y with interest only payments to the seller

Offer C- Financing Offer at Price Z with a seller credit for closing costs and credits

III.         Expired Listing Gems: I have daily email feature setup that advises me about all the listings that have expired in my target markets and asset classes. I comb through this list every morning with my cup of coffee and I narrow down to one or two expired listings that I want to approach as they match my target investment strategy. I write them a simple letter on yellow legal paper and handwrite an envelope that is mailed to the seller mailing address as indicated on their tax records.

Related: Judgment Investing: An Profitable Real Estate Investing Method You Probably Don’t Know About Yet

A Sample Prospecting Letter

Below is a sample letter that I have sent out in the past:

Dear Owner Name (Tax Record)

My name is Ankit and I buy real estate in Town Name. I recently noticed that your property listed at Property Address had expired. I am looking to buy more real estate in Town Name as I want to build a real estate portfolio for my family future. I know that not selling your real estate can be frustrating. You know have two choices:

CHOICE A- Sell Your Property. If you are still interested in selling your property then call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx or email me at [email protected] to discuss what I can offer for the property located at Property Address

CHOICE B- Not Sell Your Property. If you are no longer interested in selling your property, please feel free to throw this letter in the trash.

I look forward to talking to you soon and helping solve your real estate problems.


Ankit Dugggal

Prospecting for real estate is an ever-learning experience, and I am picking up new tricks every time I source for deals.  I hope you find these tips helpful in your

Do you have any tips that have served you well? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Happy Investing

Photo: subarcticmike

About Author

Ankit Duggal

Ankit Duggal(G+) is the Investment Director of a New Jersey Income Operating & Consulting Company . Ankit is a seasoned value investor who enjoys achieving a zen through surfing, hot yoga, and snowboarding.


  1. Thanks you provided some useful tips. Notice a mistake in your sample prospecting letter. First paragraph last sentence “You know have two choices:” I think it should be “You now have two choices:”. Again thanks for the tips.

  2. Hi Ankit:

    Great post!

    Cash or terms!

    I like offering payments for free and clear houses instead of cash, private mortgage.

    Say $100K house, div by 180 payments, = $555.55

    Say market rent is $800, balance is cash flow.

    Now maybe you buy it on a contract for deed or private 1st mortgage, depends on your state.

    You could also offer $110,000 for the $100K house, div by 190 payments for $578.94.

    Free and clear houses ROCK!

    Better than a reverse mortgage!

    If you default, if more than 60 days late, leave a quitclaim deed in escrow for former owners.

  3. I sent a newspaper clipping to a vacant house owner, the article was about the ever increasing theft of copper and the damage done by squatters. Knowing my market fairly well, I included three offers on the property. One for all cash, one for terms and cash, and one for all terms (the highest offer).

    I have come to think that repeated mailing are a waste of money, better to cut to the chase as distressed sellers get dozens of non-descript post cards all promising what seems to them as pie in the equity sky.

    Just my 2 cents

  4. I don’t read mail that solicits, unless they happen to be unusually helpful. I’m also not fond of email prospecting, I unsubscribe as much as I can because it takes time to delete them all.

    Door knocking is old fashioned but nothing beats speaking with someone face to face. You can prepare your elevator speech and listen to their answers.

  5. Great set of tips.

    I especially agree with the first one.
    Personally I don’t waste a lot of time going to see “hot” properties when they come on the market. If there is that much interest in it there is little chance my offer will be competitive.

    However I have had great success buying what I like to call “Stale Crap”. 🙂
    These are those way overpriced listings that have been abandoned long ago by most investors. I have bought quite a few places at 55-70% of the current list price, which is usually 25-50% of the original price.
    You can get this since there has been no interest in them for months, if ever.

  6. Steve Glasgow on

    The letter is a total fraud. You are offering to “buy” a property that you really want to list. I hope sellers see you for the fraud that you are and don’t list with you. I feel sorry for the ones that do.

    • Brandon Turner

      Hey Steve, I think you completely misunderstood this post. Ankit was not attempting to list the property at all. This is a real estate investing website, where investors talk about strategies for buying property. Ankit was trying to prospect for BUYING the property, not listing it. Ankit is an investor who buys property. The letter is 100% legit – investors use letters like this a lot. Please read more carefully and not just skim next time! Thanks Steve!

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