Cut Through The Obvious

Posted on December 23, 2013 by

This past weekend, I was one of the instructors who taught at a boot camp for new real estate investors. At the end of the four-day event, the frequently asked question was, “What do I do first?”

The advice from the instructors varied. One said to spend the week reviewing the course notes. Another told the investors to put their real estate investing team together. Several thought it best to work on a marketing plan.

When it comes to advising would-be investors how to start – or seasoned investors how to get back on track – I often feel like a salmon swimming upstream. I think the FIRST, most important thing an investor needs to do is to get face-to-face with sellers as SOON, and as OFTEN, as possible!

A number of the attendees didn’t care too much for this advice. One woman best summed up the fears in the room when she said, “I’m not sure what to say to a seller. I’m not comfortable creatively structuring a win-win deal. I don’t know what to do if the seller accepts my offer.”

This fear of the unknown is what stops most would-be investors dead in their tracks. It prevents them from EVER meeting with a seller. It’s the #1 reason investors fail!

When I advised these investors to get face-to-face with sellers, I didn’t say they needed to make an offer. Rather, their sole goal is to find out WHY the seller is selling their house by asking Pete Fortunato’s famous question: Why are you selling such a nice house like this?

Then come the three most important things you do after asking Pete’s question. First, shut up and listen. Second, get curious – really curious! Third, cut through the obvious by asking lots of follow-up questions.

There’s an old saying: Curiosity killed the cat. But you’re not a cat, you’re a real estate investor. For real estate investors, curiosity is EVERYTHING! Here are three thoughts: 1) Curiosity put men on the moon. 2) Millions saw the apple fall, but it was Newton who asked, “Why?” 3) Albert Einstein said: “I have no special talent. I’m only passionately curious.”

When meeting with a seller, too many investors spend the first thirty minutes talking about themselves. Here’s a newsflash: Sellers don’t care about you or your pedigree. They want and need your help. The best way to provide this help is to fully understand their situation. The only way to understand their situation is to ask questions – a lot of questions! Curiosity and questions help you to poke and probe. Visualize your doctor poking and probing to find the cause of your ache or pain.

So what do you do if you come across what looks like a homerun opportunity? Get with a been-there-and-done-that investor. The experienced investor can show you how to creatively structure and fund the deal…and provide valuable on-the-job training.

Remember: Never find a reason to NOT meet with a seller!

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

Contact Bill & Kim Cook

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