When talking with sellers it is extremely important that you ask the right questions.
Questions that are going to draw out their motivation, if any at all.
If you fail to ask the right questions you are going to be wasting a lot of time spinning your wheels.
In this post I will cover the top 10 questions to ask a seller before you schedule a time to meet with them. The last thing that you want to do is take the time to go out and meet with a seller and find out they really don’t have any motivation to sell the property. As a real estate investor you need to protect your time, guard it very carefully.
Here are the top 10 questions to ask a seller before you go meet with them:
1) What are you hoping I can do for you?
This question can help get the conversation started and sometimes reveal their true reason for calling in. Sometimes you will get people that just want to know the value of their home or want your expertise for some other reason such as a situation they currently have with a tenant.
2) Why are you selling?
This is the best question to ask a seller. If they are truly motivated this one question alone will reveal their motivation and or situation. A way that I like to word this question so it comes across in a more friendly, non threatening kind of way is, “Wow, It seems like such a great home.” Why would you even want to sell it?”
3) How much do you owe on the home?
The answer to this question can really save you a lot of time. As an example, lets say you know the market value is 100k and they let you know they owe 150k. Right then and there you know it is not a deal and would really be a waste of time to dig any further unless they are behind on payments and you may be able to work out a short sale.
4) Are you current on payments?
This question will also help pull out any motivation or potential situation they are faced with. If they are behind on payments the follow up question should be:
How far behind are you?
5) How soon are you looking to sell? 6 months? 12 months?
Notice that this is really a 3 part question. By saying 6 months and 12 months you can really find out if they are motivated. If they need to sell quickly they will let you know right then. If there is no motivation they may say yes to 6 months or 12 months.
6) How much do you think your house is worth as it sits?
This is a great question to ask because many sellers really don’t have a realistic idea of the value of their home. Maybe the current value is about 150k but they feel its worth 250k. This may be a tough uphill battle for you and a complete waste of time. On the flip side they may feel that it is worth about 100k which would be a green light to set up an appointment.
7) How much do you want for the house?
I do not set a time to view their home if they do not give me a number. Many sellers don’t want to be the first one to give a price. This can be a huge killer of your time! You need to have an idea of what they are hoping to get before you move forward. A couple of examples you could use to pull a number out of them are:
-Mr/Mrs Seller, if I was to go to any car lot in the US or view any home on the MLS there is going to be a price already stated. This is a starting point for negotiations. I know that you have a price in mind. How much do you want for your house?
-Mr/Mrs Seller, you know your house and situation much better than I do. If you don’t want to say a price I am just going to shoot low and you will not like my offer. It would save both of us a great deal of time if you let me know how much you want for your home.
8) Have there been any major updates done in the past 7 years?
If you were to just ask what kind of condition the home is in, the majority of the time the owners will say it is in good condition regardless of the reality. That question is too general. You need to get more specific when trying to get an idea of repairs that may be needed. If no major updates have been made in 7 years the home most likely needs some updating. If there has been major updates find out what exactly those were. A great follow up question to this is:
-Are there any major repairs needed such as plumbing, electrical, foundation, HVAC?
9) Do you need all of your cash out when you sell your home?
If the seller does not need all their cash out to put into another home there may be an opportunity for seller financing or a lease option. In these cases I like to draw up 2 or 3 different offers to present to the seller.
-All cash offer
10) If I could pay you all cash and close on the date of your choice, what would be the least you would accept?
Notice this is the second question of the 10 that is asking them about price. By asking this question 2 or 3 times, but wording it differently, you would be surprised how many times sellers will lower the price they were asking. Immediately after they give you a number ask one of these questions:
-Can you do any better than that?
-How much did you REALLY expect to get for the property? Place emphasis on “really”.
There you have it. 10 questions to ask every seller before you decide to meet with them.
If they decide not to answer a certain question, try to revisit later in the conversation once they are feeling more comfortable with you and you have built a little more rapport.
Remember to make the call conversational not an interrogation and to protect your time.
You can do it!!!
I hope that this post was very helpful to you. If it was, please share with someone who you think may benefit from it.
Here’s to your success!
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