As real estate investors and wholesalers, we don’t just want home seller leads. We want motivated seller leads. But, how can we tell the difference in motivation level amongst home sellers? And, where can we find motivated seller leads? These questions are just skimming the surface of our deep dive into securing motivated seller leads.
Finding motivated sellers is a skill a real estate investor or wholesaler must develop. Having a system to find motivated sellers creates a world of a difference between the struggling investor and a very successful one.
But what exactly are motivated sellers?
Simply put, they are property owners who are eager to dispose of their property quickly. They are passionate about going forward with a deal and typically have a pain point. On the other hand, the average seller wants market value for their house and doesn’t mind the work or the time required to get it.
The first conversation with the seller is very telling of their motivation level as you uncover their reason(s) for selling their property.
In real estate investing, time is money. Working with a motivated seller is beneficial since this enhances our chances of closing a deal on a property fast and with minimal resistance.
A motivated seller is a property owner who is willing to do at least one of the following:
As real estate investors and wholesalers, ideally we want both conditions to apply. However, getting the property below fair market value is already a huge win. Now, why would homeowners part with their property willingly with little, if anything, to show for it? This is because of…
Motivated seller pain points can generally be classified into three categories:
Having all three may mean the possibility of getting a great deal on the property. However, you must remember that this isn’t all about scoring real estate deals. As sellers may be looking for someone who can help them in their distress, if your intention is to genuinely help them and you become known for that, then the deals will come to you.
A seller dealing with finance troubles is typically a motivated seller, as there is a short timeline and a need for cash. Sellers under financial distress may be facing foreclosure, may have delinquent taxes, may be behind on mortgage payments, or may need cash to pay for medical bills, and so on.
These reasons can vary from a sudden job relocation to a death in the family. These are motivated seller leads, as there is urgency and the reason is out of the homeowner’s control.
The need to move elsewhere for a job can turn an individual into a motivated home seller. They would want to sell for cash upfront, and fast, in order to start their new life somewhere else.
Divorces are usually messy, and sometimes the simplest solution is selling the home for cash and moving on. This is why divorce leads are sought after when seeking out motivated seller leads for wholesalers.
Inherited properties are a classic example of motivated seller leads. Typically, the heirs would rather cash out on the inherited property than hold on to it.
As these properties usually do not have mortgages, the heirs could be willing to sell them at lower prices. Furthermore, many inherited properties are out-of-state for the seller, making for an even higher motivated lead.
Whether the house is still going through probate or the personal representative has inherited the property, inheritance/probate real estate leads are motivated seller leads worth pursuing and creating a follow up process for.
A fixer-upper that is in dire need of repair costing tens of thousands of dollars can be a motivated seller lead. The homeowner may be compelled to just sell fast at a discount to the current market value in order to make up the difference to the buyer for the needed repairs.
Many investment property owners move on from their investments properties as they grow old. Some no longer have the energy to care for the property and they would rather cash out and enjoy their retirement.
Properties with non-performing tenants can turn an average lead into a motivated seller lead. What’s more, because of trouble tenants, there is a possibility that you can secure a discount on the property.
Don’t confuse “I want to sell my house fast” for “I need to sell my house fast.” What seller wants to sell a house slow? None.
Seller leads who have a short timeline to sell should be accompanied with a stronger pain point such as job relocation or financial duress. The best motivated seller typically has more than one pain point.
Many sellers refuse to work with real estate agents, and the reason why they don’t want to work with a real estate agent is indicative of the seller’s motivation level.
A seller who only wants to save on commission is a potentially motivated seller at best. However, a seller who doesn’t want to deal with repairs, cleaning, open houses, showings, closing costs, and commission is a truly motivated lead.
Finding motivated seller leads requires either time or money. Some investors opt for old school tactics like bandit signs, cold calling, direct mail, and driving for dollars while others create a website and run ads or hire an SEO agency. Many investors choose multiple strategies and combine them with buying leads from lead marketplaces.
Bandit signs have been around for years and years. Every investor has seen them: “We Buy Houses!” with black text on a yellow plastic board. They are an effective lead generation method for new and experienced real estate investors.
To find motivated sellers, you need to first capture their attention. Try black text on a hot pink or construction worker orange board. Better yet, do some A/B testing to see which color you receive the most phone calls from. Just make sure to apply the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid, and provide accurate contact information to make sure your marketing efforts won’t be in vain.
The key to successful cold calling is the motivated seller lead lists you are using and the number of calls under the bar.
If this is the chosen strategy to find motivated sellers, it’s crucial to cold call daily, and as many people as possible. According to a research by The Keller Center at Baylor University, people answer cold calls 28% of the time, and from that, only 1.7% turn into referrals or appointments. Success in cold calling is mainly a numbers game.
Even in the digital age, direct mail marketing campaigns remain effective in generating leads. All you need to do is to comb through public records to put together your own list. Although time consuming, you’re committing your resources into viable targets that would likely take you on your cash offer.
Here are some things to take note of when making your motivated seller leads list for your direct mail marketing plan:
Once you have finished your list, you can start your direct mail campaign to find out if they are willing to put their property up for sale. You should create a strong follow up process to stay on sellers’ minds every few weeks.
Driving for dollars is a classic outbound lead generation strategy that involves driving around neighborhoods looking for properties whose owners need to sell but may not be actively looking. To be able to identify these properties, you may look for the following signs:
How to find homeowners is a challenge, but it can be done through scouring public records and may provide you with ample off-market opportunities. There is also real estate investing software to help investors get in contact with sellers as you drive around.
Attending estate sales can be a great opportunity to network with motivated sellers as this is where heirs sell off their inherited properties. More often than not, the mortgages in these properties are paid in full and the heirs may be willing to sell at below market value.
Professional estate services can also be your source for new leads, as they are the first ones to know when an estate is up for sale.
Local attorneys who deal with probate, divorce, and bankruptcy may have clients who need to sell quickly, or you can have motivated home sellers who may need to avail of their services.
You can get to know them in local business events and gatherings. Working with the right attorneys can result in lucrative business opportunities for you both.
The best motivated seller is a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) seller, and as such, they are very in-demand among real estate investors.
They can be found by visiting real estate websites, driving around neighborhoods and looking for FSBO signs, or even social media. When using websites, you can even refine your search by property type, location, and price.
In this age of Zoom and teleconferencing, meeting with sellers personally can be a huge advantage. This would give you the opportunity to build rapport with property owners and allow them to trust you.
FSBO sellers are an infinite source of free leads, but getting them is also highly-competitive so it would really come down to you establishing a fruitful business relationship with them.
Listings expire because of unrealistic list price, poor showings, or other factors. This provides a great opportunity since the property owner would like to get the property off their hands as quickly as possible.
You can look up MLS listings in your local area, or you can create a Facebook group for sellers with expired listings. As you grow your following, sellers are sure to come to you. These sellers are often frustrated with a realtor and will gladly sell off-market. You must remember the reason these listings expired though, and you may have to be honest with the sellers so you can help them unload their property.
Public records provide information on why a homeowner might be interested to dispose of their property quickly. They can be accessed online or through the county recorder’s office at the courthouse.
Usually these are distressed properties and the owners may not be capable of bringing them to good standing so the only option left to them is to sell or face foreclosure.
As an investor, your approach should be sensitive to the fact that these people are losing their homes and give them helpful solutions. At times, the owners may be emotionally attached to the property, but there are also those that are just looking to pay off their mortgage and get some cash for moving expenses.
The average American user spends 33 minutes on Facebook, giving you ample opportunity to launch a marketing campaign on the platform. It has smart ad targeting that is less expensive than Google ads but may return less motivated sellers.
You can, however, continually tweak your marketing campaign or landing page to see what works and improve your lead generation.
Google PPC (aka Google ads) is a more modern way to find motivated seller leads. Most sellers search for cash buyers online, and many motivated sellers click on Google ads to find a real estate investor who will make them a cash offer.
Google PPC requires a website that will convert motivated sellers into a lead. However, there are easy to use platforms such as Carrot that generates a website for you upon purchasing. If you have the marketing budget to put towards Google PPC, invest in a quality website to attract and convert more motivated sellers.
The biggest difference between Google PPC and the rest of the marketing methods above is the seller is seeking you out rather than the investor contacting the seller first. Inbound marketing creates warmer initial conversations, as the seller wants to hear from you.
Not all motivated sellers click on ads, but the vast majority click on the top 3 organic search results. SEO is the most effective way to find motivated sellers and generate tens if not hundreds of high quality leads.
According to HubSpot, SEO leads are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads.
Even though SEO is expensive in terms of time (or money), once you build out the pieces, you will be attracting the highest motivated seller leads and turning more leads into deals.
Referrals are one of the best sources of motivated seller leads.
Get to know the people in your local area who may be in contact with property owners looking to sell. They are also a good source of information regarding the local market.
You can network with local authorities to find out whether properties are up to code or not. There are times when a property is slapped with multiple liens due to violations and the owner may be motivated to sell quickly and below market price rather than deal with the rectifications.
Sometimes, realtors in the neighborhood could be in contact with motivated sellers whom they are unable to help for some reason. If you can work out a deal with the sellers that they refer, they may be happy to send deals your way.
There is barely any downside to teaming up with others, resulting in a win-win situation for everyone involved.
You can find leads through cold calling, bandit signs, direct mail, networking, reviewing expired listings, driving for dollars, or a website that you run ads on. When first diving into real estate investing, it can feel like there aren’t enough motivated sellers to go around. But, this is not true. There are plenty of motivated home seller leads, you just have to get a little creative to find motivated sellers.
Home sellers look to sell when they want or need to either relocate or cash out their equity. There is typically a pain point in the seller’s life that is driving them to sell. In worst case scenarios, a seller may be facing foreclosure, suddenly lost their job, or suffered the death of a family member.
In other cases, a seller may just be looking to upgrade, downsize, or move closer to family. All of these are motivators for sellers to sell, but some of these factors lead to a more motivated seller than others.
A motivated seller in real estate business is a property owner with a pain point. When finding motivated seller leads, you are bound to interact with both motivated sellers and non-motivated sellers. After conversing with hundreds of sellers, it becomes clear over time which sellers are motivated leads and which sellers are retail leads.
Real estate investors can tell if a seller is motivated by finding out the seller’s reason for selling and looking for a pain point.
Motivated sellers are typically facing financial duress, inherited a property, or own a distressed home such as a hoarder house. Non-motivated sellers are usually in contact with both real estate agents and real estate investors, as they are looking to get the most amount of money for their real estate regardless of the effort involved.
The biggest advantages of buying from a motivated seller is the potential of purchasing the property below market value and quickly. Motivated sellers are typically eager to close the deal.
Whether you flip houses, wholesale, or hold investment properties, the sooner you get a property under contract, the sooner you can start your flip, assign the contract, or find tenants and bring in a paycheck.
The most motivated sellers are highly sought-after as they present the most attractive prospects for a great deal. Here are the most motivated sellers:
Motivated seller leads are never free… you’re either investing your time or your money.
You can invest your time instead of money by cold calling, driving for dollars, or networking. However, if you translate your time investment, it may come out that this is even more expensive than just paying outright for leads.
Motivated seller leads are valuable to real estate investors for good reason– there is great effort and money involved in finding motivated leads. To be a successful real estate investor, you need a way to generate leads yourself, buy leads from a marketplace, or partner with a lead generator. Pick the strategy that fits your personality and skillsets best to start closing more deals.
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