Negotiating with Home Owners

I’d love to here some input from those of you who’ve had success negotiating with home owners (as opposed to banks). What kinds of questions do you ask? What seems to be working? What are you going to do differently next time? How can you quickly tell the difference between a truly motivated seller, vs someone who is just responding to your marketing? Any help is appreciated.

Great questions, Gabe, especially the one about how to tell if they are truly motivated, rather than just fishing for a price.

The very first question I ask a seller is… why do you need to sell your house?

If there response starts with anything other than… “Well, I need to sell because…,” I don’t deal with them. That question, alone, will save you tons of time and effort. No sense wasting your time with someone who will never agree to your low ball offer. So, get that out of the way from the start.

If you ask that question and based on their response you determine they are distressed, you will then need to ask a bunch of questions, in order to properly evaluate the deal. Things like specs of the house, repairs needed, remaining mortgage amount, owner-occupy or rental… and the magic question:

“If I were to pay you cash for your house, take it in its current condition and close quickly, what’s the least you’re willing to take?”

That’s an important one, too. You never know. Without an answer to that question, you could be ready to offer $50k cash… and they maybe would’ve taken $25k. That’s a lot of money you just left on the table, my friend.

Good luck!

I would also recommend asking them what types of liens they have on the house and how much they owe. This will give you a ballpark figure of how hard it will be to get the property at a discount. Once they disclose the information, I would run a double check at the county records to make sure you know about all of the demands on the property. It will put you in a better position to present an acceptable offer.

Hi Gabe! Good question. My answer is…you have to keep this in mind:

A motivated seller is a property owner whose sole aim in life at the time you are talking with him is to get rid of his property.

Most of them are driven by personal reasons and not always economic reasons. Usual reasons could include but not limited to relocation, tenant troubles, financial diffulties, probate, moving to a bigger or perhaps, smaller house.

About the price, don’t be afraid to say your price. If you offer a price that you are not ashame to ask out loud, you are not offering low enough.

My question to you is have you tried to talk to any of them yet? Motivated or not? You will be able to tell once you ask your screening questions. That is the whole purpose of screening them to see how motivated they are. :bobble