What to do at the Seller’s Door?Posted on April 10, 2011 by
My last two real estate investing columns (“The Key is Finding MOTIVATED Sellers” & “Where to Find Motivated Sellers”) were about why and how to find motivated sellers. Last week, I said that the most effective thing I do is to simply knock on sellers’ doors. This week, let’s talk about what to do when you knock on a seller’s door.
When I’m working my area and see a “For Sale” or “For Rent” sign in the yard (NOTE: We’ve bought a lot of properties from don’t-want-to-be landlords), I stop. It doesn’t matter whether the sign is a FSBO (For Sale by Owner) or a realtor’s sign.
One thing: We don’t cut the legs out from under realtors. If we find a deal because of the realtor’s sign, the realtor deserves to get paid!
At the door, I ring and/or knock and then back out into the yard about 20 feet. I back away because I don’t want to crowd the door.
When the seller answers, I point to the yard sign and say, “I see your house is for sale.” Next, I hold out both my arms and say, “I’m looking to buy a house in this area.” Then I focus back on the seller and ask, “Would you mind telling me about your house?”
Usually the seller brightens up and asks, “Sure, what would you like to know?” This is when I ask Pete Fortunato’s (the most creative deal structurer on the planet) famous question: “Why are you selling such a nice house like this?”
The seller’s answer to this question goes a long way in helping me determine his level of motivation.
Oftentimes, the seller invites me in right then and there. If they don’t, I ask several more questions, such as: “How many bedrooms and bathrooms?” “What is your asking price?” “What kind of carpet do you have?” After these questions, usually the seller stops and asks, “Would you like to see the inside?” I reply, “Would you mind?” And in I go.
Sometimes the seller doesn’t realize that I want to see the inside. In those rare cases I say, “Yours looks like the kind of house we’d be interested in. Is now a good time to see the inside or would later be better?”
By the way, I don’t think I’ve EVER been invited into a house where the woman didn’t say, “My house is such a mess!” Sometimes, this is true – but most times, the interior is cleaner than a lab at the CDC! Guys, on the other hand NEVER say this. It’s always, “Come on in. Step over the crap.”
After getting the nickel tour, we sit at the seller’s kitchen table. My goal is to find out WHY the seller is selling. When the seller is motivated, often we can come to an accord.
Try knocking on a few sellers’ doors this weekend. Bet you will be pleasantly surprised at the results!