Motivated Seller List: Ways To Find Highly Motivated Sellers

Published on February 28, 2023

Motivated Seller List: Ways To Find Highly Motivated Sellers

Ways To Find Highly Motivated Sellers

Whether you're a new real estate investor or an OG in the business, you'll always be looking for motivated seller leads. Luckily, there are different ways to find potentially motivated sellers and some of them don't include driving around in the community.

Some of the ways to find motivated seller leads would be to buy them from lead generation platforms, check MLS for expired listings, run targeted ads, check Facebook marketplace, do SEO, get into online marketing, work with a data service company, cold call, etc.

Excited to learn how to reach motivated seller leads in your target counties? Check out the rest of this blog! 

What Is a Motivated Seller?

What Is a Motivated Seller?

A motivated seller is a homeowner or entity who is eager to sell a piece of real estate. They often include the following terms when posting about their property for sale: motivated seller, bring all offers, cash only, as-is sale, and no reasonable offer refused.

Here are some other signs that a property owner is a motivated seller:

  • List their property below market value
  • Close the transaction as fast as possible
  • Offer different sales terms just to get rid of the property such as no money down, financing, and 0% interest

Usually, motivated sellers are owners of a vacant property, inherited property, and a property with zoning violations. Many real estate investors also consider a bankrupt rental property, a house with delinquent taxes, and a house owned by absentee owner as an opportunity to find motivated sellers.

Types of Motivated Sellers



Active motivated sellers have already taken steps in selling their properties. For example, they already contacted an agent, posted on their social media accounts, or called cash home buying companies. The role of real estate investors here is to make sure this seller gets to closing day.



Passive motivated sellers want to sell their home but haven't taken any action because of a lot of reasons like not knowing the process, not knowing how to price, enduring sickness, etc. Real estate investors should get the ball rolling for these passive motivated sellers so they'll convert to clients.

Reasons Why a Property Owner Is Motivated to Sell a Property

Reasons Why a Property Owner Is Motivated to Sell a Property

To be a successful investor, you should understand the life events that created their drive to sell quickly. Up ahead are some of these reasons.

  • Income Change: Homeowners who got a job promotion and a pay increase may want to upgrade to a bigger home while homeowners who were affected by a job loss may want to downgrade to a smaller home.
  • Family Changes: The arrival of a new baby, the passing of a loved one, and other changes to the family dynamic can encourage homeowners to move, upgrade, or downgrade their primary residence.
  • Job Relocation: People who are hired for a new job and are required by their company to move are looking to sell fast to avoid double mortgage payments (because it will affect their cash flow) and all the other complexities of owning two homes in different cities.
  • Pre-foreclosure: Instead of letting their property be foreclosed, many homeowners opt to sell fast.
  • Environmental Causes: Natural calamities can strike anytime so many homeowners move for safety. Some areas are really prone to hurricanes, wildfires, etc.
  • Increase in Property Taxes: An increase in taxes can drive homeowners out of their homes especially if the unexpected rise is super expensive.
  • Security Issues: Some owners want to get rid of their home fast if the crime rate in the community is rising.
  • New Projects in the Area: Construction and new zoning in the area may cause homeowners to relocate. They would rather sell their home and gain from it than lose it eventually to the government.

How to Find Motivated Sellers

How to Find Motivated Sellers

As established in the former section, there isn't one single reason why most motivated sellers want to get rid of their property immediately. What this means is that, for you to be a successful real estate investor, you should use multiple marketing strategies.

Here are the most effective ways to seek and contact motivated sellers:

Buy Motivated Leads from Lead Generation Platforms

Buying motivated seller leads from lead generation platforms is probably the fastest way to build your list! Most of these platforms offer a pay-per-lead payment scheme. They won't bind you with a contract and you'll only pay for the lead you'll receive.

Of course, you would have to identify your target areas in order to get the best leads from these platforms. Also, you should prioritize companies that offer exclusive leads so you can make motivated seller lead lists with lesser competition.

To get you started, check out Property Leads. They offer highly qualified leads generated from SEO.

Check MLS Expired Listings

Many MLS listings expire because the homeowner sets an unrealistic price, fails to do open houses and showings, etc. To avoid relisting their property and going through the same stressful process, most homeowners opt to sell below market value to real estate investors.

But how exactly can a real estate investor get access to the MLS. We all know that only licensed real estate agents have access to the MLS due to security reasons and fees. Hence, you should team up with a real estate agent. Of course, expect that they'll charge you a certain fee. 

Public Records

One of the best ways to save on marketing dollars when building your list of motivated sellers is by accessing public records.

You may go to your county clerk's office to ask for public records on property tax delinquency, absentee owners, out of state owners, raised county taxes, recently divorced couples, data on family additions or death of a family member, etc.

All these data equate to motivated sellers. If you are patient enough to scan hard copies in the county clerk's office, this would work for you. But if you want reach motivated sellers fast, you have to spend money to buy these data online. 

Visit FSBO Sites

There are many online sites where FSBO owners post their home. Some of which are Trulia, Loopnet, Houzeo,, Fizber, and Majority of these sites require a fee but it may be a good investment to make since most FSBO sellers are highly motivated.

Also, these sites can also help you filter the types of distressed properties being sold FSBO. You can filter by location, price, property type (condos, apartments, multi-family homes, and single-family homes). 

One good strategy for finding motivated sellers in FSBO sites is contacting the owners of properties that are already listed for quite some time (whether through the platform, direct mail, email, or phone). Owners of these properties are almost always ready to sell at a more favorable price.

Run Targeted Ads

Running pay-per-click ads on search engines such as Google and Bing as well as social networking sites such as Facebook and Instagram can help you reach more motivated sellers! This strategy may be on the expensive side but it's really effective, especially if you are able to write great ad copy.

Note that using targeted ads to find homeowners who are motivated to sell has a steep learning curve. If you aren't tech savvy or you aren't interested in digital marketing, you'll be wasting a lot of money and time before you see an ROI. If you want to avoid this, you may want to hire companies who are experts in running PPCs.

Network with Real Estate Agents

Although real estate agents are often viewed as the competition of real estate investors, you can actually use them to find motivated seller leads. Remember that these people are the go-to many when they need to sell a home so they often have leads on who is the most desperate homeowner.

Of course, you can't expect them to divulge all their leads to you. But there are cases when they pass on a seller to an investor because of too many complications in the sale. When they do this, however, they expect to make a cut.

Drive for Dollars

The driving for dollars strategy means driving around your target neighborhood and looking for signs of motivated sellers.

Some of these signs are rundown property, For Sale By Owner signs, empty lots and driveways, neglected front lawn, boarded up windows, newspapers piling outside the door, bills overflowing on the P.O. box, dilapidated rental property, etc.

Driving for dollars may also mean driving in the community and talking to a few homeowners to identify homeowners who are motivated to sell.

Among others, they know their community better, so they can surely point you to a few homeowners who are after an all cash offer or to properties with absentee homeowners.

Connect with Local Attorneys

Networking with attorneys that practice real estate law, estates/probate law, family law, and bankruptcy law, is another surefire way to find and contact motivated seller leads for your real estate business. These professionals can direct you to homeowners who are going through probate, bankruptcy, divorce, etc.

You can send direct mail or email to these attorneys, but talking to them in person is still the best way to establish a relationship with them. Remember that your goal is to have them automatically call you whenever their client needs to sell their property. Hence, you should be able to establish a more personal connection with them.

Cold Calling

Although cold calling doesn't really generate a huge amount of motivated seller leads just like direct mail, it can still lead you to a few clients if you have enough patience and you are consistent.

Many cold calling companies can help you generate a motivated seller leads list and they can assign people from their team to cold call for a fee.

However, if you're a beginning investor, having one or two cold callers is a good starting point. Hire an offshore virtual assistant to cut costs, but make sure they sound like natives. Upwork and are good places to search for cold callers.

Door Hangers

If you're into low-cost ways of generating motivated seller leads, using door hangers is a great option for you. It's fairly simple — you buy door hangers at the nearest stationery shop, write down your marketing message, and hang them on the doors while you're driving for dollars.

For you to use a door hanger successfully, make sure your message stands out. As much as possible, don't print door hangers but write them instead. This is more personal and you'll seem more trustworthy.

Moreover, opt for professional-looking door hangers as this may also impact how the homeowner views your credibility.

Facebook Marketplace

For property owners who want to sell on their own or who don't really know a thing about home selling and real estate investing, their go-to is Facebook Marketplace. Although there are a lot of sketchy home sellers in Facebook Marketplace, it could still lead you to a few motivated sellers near your area.

On a different note, some property owners (especially those who have an idea on homeselling) don't want to post in FB Marketplace because it is too public and there are a lot of scammers. This means, if they posted on the marketplace, they're really desperate for a seller. 

Online Marketing

Online marketing includes a lot of sub-strategies but some of the most effective is creating a Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok page and email campaigns.

Start by creating a Facebook page and posting super useful content. When people start liking or sharing your posts, they'll be able to recall who you are and you'll establish your credibility online. They'll automatically go to you when they are desperate for a home sale.

Same goes for an email marketing campaign. You keep sending them useful content in their emails until they already know who you are and what you do. Eventually, when they need to sell, your name would pop up in their minds. This is a more modern version of direct mail campaign and the response rates are quite high.


Creating search engine optimized real estate websites and driving traffic to them is another great way to find motivated sellers. Most likely, motivated sellers are searching the web for tips on how to sell fast and this is a great opportunity for you to lead them to your website.

Publish highly optimized blogs and landing pages that can offer them solutions to their problems. If they find your content useful, they'll consider you reputable and may end up filling out your lead capture form on your website. 

When publishing highly optimized content, outsource the writing part to your virtual assistants. This will give you time to focus on closing deals and other tasks to upscale your business.


While it may seem like a long shot, you may still take your chances and look for motivated sellers on Craigslist. Check out the For Sale by Owner section under Housing.

Note that Craigslist is often saturated with other investors who are also looking for motivated seller leads. You would have a lot of competition if you chose this path and it would take a lot of time, even if you are diligent, to find a client.

Build Your Network

Building your network is one of the fastest ways in finding motivated seller leads. Simply put, the more people you know, the more your name can be recalled whenever a home sale is in the works. 

Some of the best people to network with are county and city inspectors. These people inspect homes and buildings to check if they're up to code. They flag homes with septic violations, unpermitted landscaping, and other upgrades, etc. 

All these homes that are not following the code would require a lot of money to repair, which means you get to create a motivated sellers list free.

Help Relocation Services

Many companies require their employees to move to another city or state and they help them move by connecting them to relocation services. You may want to contact different companies that relocate employees and identify which services they're using. 

Partner with these relocation companies so they can give you leads on property owners who are moving and selling their homes. These companies include local relocation service providers, storage facilities, and movers.

Attend Auctions

Foreclosed homes due to unpaid mortgages and taxes are sold in an auction. Attending these auctions can help you identify which properties are for sale as well as how much are they being sold for.

This is also a great opportunity for you to find buyers. Many of these buyers who are bidding on the foreclosed property must also be looking to sell their homes. Network with them and give them your calling card so they can reach out to you for your services.

Moreover, you can ask them for other auctions they plan to attend if there are any. 

Use Bandit Signs

Putting bandit signs on the most populated areas of a specific county can also help people recall who you are when they are ready to sell just like direct mail marketing or direct mail campaigns.

Make sure the bandit sign is large enough to be read by passing cars and it should also mention what exactly it is that you do. Of course, include your contact number and mailing address so your potential clients can easily get in touch with you.

Another reminder would be to keep your bandit sign as short as possible. Don't include too much information that the passersby won't be able to focus on a word.

Attend Estate Sales

Estate sales happen when the personal belongings of a deceased person are sold by their heirs. These sales are advertised in advance and professional services are often in charge.

Attending these estate sales can give you a chance to talk to the heirs and ask if they are interested in selling the property. In case the heirs aren't present, you can ask the professional estate service to connect you to them.

Even if you don't land a sale immediately using this strategy, you'll establish a relationship with the professional real estate service. These people can help you in finding motivated sellers on a wider scale.

Work with a Data Service Company

There are many data service companies that can help you identify potential sellers even before their home hits the local market. These companies offer millions of records which are usually sourced from various sources. 

Through their help, you'll be able to find motivated sellers that are niche specific. For instance, those whose houses are being foreclosed, going through a divorce, moving to another country, want a probate sale, house with absentee owners, bankrupt rental property, and more.

Ultimately, they can offer you leads on potentially motivated sellers with very less competition. Other investors or agents haven't seen their data yet.

The data they offer can also be uploaded directly to your CRM so you can create marketing collateral and convert leads into clients.

Employ Bird Dogs

Bird dogs in real estate are essentially individuals who search specific neighborhoods for financially distressed property owners, underpriced properties, or homes owned free-and-clear.

You can work with a bird dog to find motivated sellers for each of the counties you're targeting and pay them if you are able to close a deal.

Some of the best bird dogs are those that are working closely with homeowners or are knowledgeable of the community. For instance, contractors, electricians, firefighters, etc.

Hiring bird dogs is great because you don't have to commit to them unlike when you hire employees who can cold call. You just pay them for the lead so you would have better cash flow for your real estate investing business.

Final Thoughts: Ways To Curate the Best Motivated Seller List

Finding motivated sellers without a proven strategy in your arsenal would be a disaster. You would waste time, money, and effort in the process.

We do hope that through the strategies we explored in this blog, your search for potential motivated sellers would be a lot easier moving forward.

If you want more motivated leads to build your list, check us out at Property Leads. We offer exclusive high-quality seller leads generated from SEO!

Start getting your motivated seller leads from us by filling out the form below!

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