Screening Motivated Sellers-Questions to Ask?

I am hoping that with the vast experiences here on this forum some of you can contribute various methods or questions to help me screen motivated sellers.

I have rehabbed properties several years ago, but never went through the acquisition process myself.
Now I find myself stuck at the fastest and most important questions to get to in a phone call to a FSBO. I want to save both the seller and myself time if the situation doesn’t sound like potential deal for either of us.
However, having not worked from this end of it before I don’t know where to start…

I simply ask how much they want for the property. The answer will tell you if they’re DESPERATE to sell. If they want more than I’m willing to pay, I simply tell them to call me if they change their mind.


Ask them how much they want for the property and how they established a price. Now ignore this and ask them the following:

On a scale of 1 to 10 with one being totally unmotivated an ten being very motivated, where do you feel you are? Get and answer. If he is below an 8 ask him this. I only work with motivated sellers. You say that you are only at a (blank) level. What would it take to get you to an 9 or 10. Listen to their answer. Sometimes they will tell you what it will take to make the deal.

If are you looking for the hard sell…after a bit of pre-screening to know if you want the house you can say: “If I can pay cash and close in 10 days, what’s the lowest amount you will take and still be okay?” (Then you say nothing…)

Or a bit softer…you simply ask them “Why do you NEED to sell?”

In my experience NEEDING to sell vs. WANTING to sell helps determine motivation (or not).

You can follow up with “I normally pay around “X” for a property in that condition in that area, is this an amount that you may consider?”

In my experience how much they said they wanted had nothing to do with how much they accepted when I made them an offer. What I’m saying is do not let the fact that an owner tells you they want a certain amount keep you from making an offer. Always make offers…it is the only way to get deals.

I second mike… the only thing I want to know is how much they are asking for. I got a post online from a guy who wanted to sell me a house with $105k ARV, asking $75k. This is a house I would consider looking into. Visited the house, turned out it needs about $6k or $7k repairs. I made an offer of $60k, ended up raising it today to $62k for him to agree on 45 days closing period.

I got another call from another seller, she said the least she would accept is $139k on a house worth $150k. Thats a dead deal for me. It may have been a good lease option deal, but can’t do those in Texas and don’t care for them.

Thanks to all of you so far, that is great input and some creative ideas!