How to Talk to Motivated Sellers With Confidence

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I get questions all the time about how to talk to motivated sellers. They ask things like…

  • What do I say when they call?
  • What if they yell at me?
  • What if they ask me a question I’m not expecting?

Let me reassure you that just about every new real estate investor has the same fears and questions when it comes to talking to sellers (whether they will admit it or not).

There are a lot of brand new real estate investors are that are so terrified to talk to sellers they don’t pick up the phone when it rings.  Heck… even some seasoned investors won’t answer the phone when a motivated seller calls.  Even worse, there are some investors that even go so far as to send out an expensive direct mail campaign, but never answer the phone when someone calls them about their mailing.  What a terrible waste of money.

If this sounds like you, the one thing that you need to know is that you aren’t alone; just about everyone felt this way in the beginning.  I can tell you that I personally know seasoned investors that still hate taking calls from sellers.  So how do you change that?

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As Nike Says, “Just Do It”

So how do you get over the fear?  You do that by doing the one thing you really don’t want to do; pick up the phone and talk to sellers.  In this case, practice really does make perfect.

I’ve have had lot of people ask me to create a training that dealt with this topic of how to talk to motivated sellers, so I finally decided to do that using Google Hangouts.

Related: Google Voice and Google+ Hangouts: Tips For Using These Free Tools

I ask my friend and fellow real estate investor Kelly Payne if she would be up for a little role playing exercise and she was game.  Kelly is a busy mom with 3 small children who invests part-time in not one but two cities in Oklahoma.  I want you to know right from the beginning, that this is totally unscripted.  We were just winging it and having a whole lot of fun along the way.

In this video we talked about 4 different but common types of motivated sellers you were likely to encounter.

4 Common Types of Motivated Sellers

There are a lot of different scenarios you can run into, but these are the 4 that I find most often.

  • Those folks that won’t give you any information; the ones with “one word answers” you have to drag the information out of
  • Motivated sellers that tell are big talkers but they never really answer any of your questions
  • The seller that has to tell you their “whole life story” before they ever answer a single question
  • And our favorite; the one that actually spits out all of the information you need without all the drama.

Making it Easier; Using a Property Information Form

There is one thing Kelly and I agree on, and that is if you use a Property Information Form when you talk to a motivated seller it makes the conversation flow much more easily.  Notice I said “conversation”.  Even though you use a standard form each time to ensure you will get all the information you need, it still has to be a conversation.   It should never feel like a “question and answer” call when you are using a form as a guide.

Related: Game Changer: How to Identify Motivated Customers

The primary focus of the call might be to gather certain information from the seller, but you are also there to build rapport with that motivated seller right from the start.   Never forget that people do business with other people they know, like and trust.  It’s important that you are able begin building this rapport in your first contact with them which will typically be that initial phone call, because you might not get a second chance.

The form I use is uploaded in the BiggerPockets File Place, and there are also a lot of other good examples of Property Information Forms in there too.  Ultimately, you will probably want to look at a few and make one that suits your style of doing business.

Need a Refresher?  Here’s the Video

If you are still struggling with what to say to motivated sellers, I think you will find this video helpful.  Kelly also talks about how fear and procrastination have caused her to actually lose out on deals.




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. Thanks, this was really fun. I need to be less afraid to let my guard down and create a connection with the person I’m speaking to. When I’m nervous I tend to focus on “the script” rather than focus on what they need to accomplish and finding ways to help them.

    • Wendy –

      They key to success is to have a conversation. I usually start out by saying “tell me about your house”, then I start filling in the blanks on my form as they talk. If they don’t mention the major systems – furnace, AC etc., then I might say can you tell me the ages of the — etc. . The point is that you can get every answer without actually seeming like you are reading from a script. It just takes practice.

      Thanks for your comments.

  2. Hi Sharon,
    I really appreciate this blog post. I could not have come at a better time. In the last week, I’ve spoken with one potential seller, set a appointment to see the property, viewed it, made an offer that was not accepted by her spouse. The seller stated that they had someone else coming out to look at the property and were going to see what they offered. I had no idea what to say in response other than “OK”. I felt like I blew it (and I may have) because I just didn’t have anything prepared to say. But what I’ve learned viewing this is that always leave an opening to follow up later. That way it’s not a completely closed door or lost deal.

  3. Tanya –

    Here’s what you do; call the seller and ask what they were looking for in an offer and then go from there. Go back and try to start another conversation. That doesn’t mean that you will meet their price. It may be that the other investor actually offered a lower amount. Or try to figure out if there is “something else” they might want to sweeten the deal for them that would allow you to keep your offer where it is.

    I told Kelly Payne that I find it so funny that she has the same “negotiation fears” as most other people, because she is really quite good at having those conversations. She has a blog that you can follow too.


  4. Excellent post Sharon. It amazes me how you are correct that many new investors pay for all that mailing and just don’t realize they must answer the phone. They set up fancy vm and websites for people to leave their information and guess what. They get nothing.
    Just do it like you said and get over the fear. We all have gone through that for sure and at different stages of our business.

  5. Christina Phillips

    This is like a breath of fresh air. I really needed to see this as I had just got off the phone with a seller in my area. She had put in a lot of work into her property and was really looking to get a retail price for it. I did a little research called a few people and called her back with more of a detailed description of what I do, how realtors work and the difference between the two types of price points. She had already given me a super high number given to her by a previous realtor that burned her. But after my talking with her, I found that her want for a retail price was her priority, which I understood because the house was pretty decent. But to know how to approach her and have that conversation was what I got here. Thank you so much. Looking forward to more posts!

  6. Geoffrey F.

    This post is very helpful Sharon for those who need to get over their fears on leading into the sale, by building rapport and trust from the sellers who call. I was brand new and nervous on my first call then each one after that built my confidence to now loving when a seller call.

    You should always have a “let’s make a deal” mentality.

    Thanks again

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