When responding to sellers ads fsbo what questions should I ask

Which questions should I ask while responding to craigslist sellers ads…

  1. Do you own your property free and clear? If YES: what is least amount they would be willing to accept cash for their property?
    If they answer NO: Are you current with your payments? If YES, then what is the exact payoff balance? If the answer is NO, then ask how many months behind are they? Hopefully they own the property free and clear where the bank doesn’t have to be involved. If behind on payments maybe you can educate them on all the options they have, other than letting the lender foreclose on the property. If they still owe, but are current with payments depending what the payoff balance is could either make or break the deal. Hope this helps! To your success!

Ask the lead the ff…

  1. if he owns the property
  2. if the property is free and clear (you can extract specifics like remaining mortgage and monthly payments)
  3. the condition of the house (i.e. repairs/fixes needed)
  4. his situation and motivation (how badly he needs to sell the house)
  5. how soon he wants to sell
  6. the amount he really needs in order to move on or move out (depends on the motivation)

Out of all these, I’d say the most important is the 4th item. Determining the person’s situation and motivation to sell will make it easier for you to figure out how to negotiate with him.

Just sound warm and make them feel you understand what they are trying to tell you.

Hope this helps. :smile

Below is some info you want with an initial phone call from a home seller.

Seller Name:
Cell Phone #:
How did you find out about us?
How soon do you need to sell this property? (this tests motivation)
Why are you Selling this Property?
Is the Property Vacant or Occupied? If Occupied, “Who’s living there?”

“Tell me about your house” - This is where we build rapport with the Seller. Let the Seller talk and gather the below info:

of Bedrooms

of Bathrooms

Square Footage
Year Built
Style - Ranch, 1 story, Cape Cod, Colonial, Townhouse
Construction - Brick, Siding , Wood
Garage - attached, detached, # of them
Basement or Crawl space
How old is the: Roof, Heater, Hot Water Heater, Kitchen, Bathrooms

Ask the Seller, “What repairs are need?” Sometimes the Seller gets confused and reverts back to all the wonderful things they have done. If this happens ask them, “If I buy your house, what repairs must be done?” If Seller answers “Nothing”. Follow up with “Doesn’t it need paint and carpet? How is the roof, electric, plumbing, kitchen, bathrooms, windows, etc?”

Who owns the property?

I usually ask if they’ve had any offers they’ve turned down, and why they’ve turned them down.

This helps highlight the fact that the seller ‘has not’ sold his property, because so far, he’s been asking too much.

Often the seller then tells me they’ve lowered the price by ‘x’ dollars and (somehow) expect it to sell fast.

Then another question I like to ask is, “How long have you had your house for sale?” This gives me a clue about motivation level. People who’ve had their house for sale a long time, are often in denial about their valuation …or they’ve got a nut to crack, and think their only option is to get ‘x’ dollars out of their house …so they wait, wait and wait…

It pays to question what they’re gonna need the money for. Sometimes, it’s to pay property taxes. Guess what? The county rarely starts foreclosure in less than four years on delinquent taxes. So, you could assume the tax liability, simply by taking title, subject to the existing loans and tax bills.

Sometimes they’ve got personal bills they need to pay, but don’t understand about negotiating payments. You could assume their payments (informally) and relieve the seller of a debt (in lieu of cash down).

Find out what the seller’s financial problem is, and look for ways to reduce, take over, renegotiate, or otherwise assume the seller’s obligation, again, in lieu of cash.

When we’re talking with FSBO’s, it’s better to follow up on their responses, than it is to lead them through a series of formal questions.

We can always direct the questions, but the more we allow the seller to talk and lead US to where we want to go, the more organic and natural the conversation will go. This approach lowers barriers, builds trust, and makes us more likely to get what we want out of a deal.

A lot of the negotiations, when dealing directly with sellers, involves likability. Are we likable? Or are we hard-selling, impatient, and/or pushy?

Which brings me to mention the importance of acting and being confident when we talk with sellers. For example, “Con men” are otherwise called, “confidence men,” and called that, because they can create and maintain confidence with those they attempt to do business with.

[Of course, calling someone a “con man” isn’t a compliment, since it infers lying and cheating someone.]

The fact remains that exuding confidence creates trust in the prospect. Couple that trust with likability, and the doors open wider than otherwise, with most prospects.

Don’t believe it? Try it, and prove my wrong.

I replied back to seller in regard to a lakefront property, Questions I have asked the seller 1 ) do you own the property free and clear, sellers response no I still owe $45.000 ( 2) question I asked will you be open to any seller financing if I offer you full asking price for the home . Sellers answer sorry we want to sell the property outright… but you can take a look at it Sunday at 1pm , also she says 2 other buyers will look at the home on Sunday. How or what can I do or say to get this property…

The problem here is that you ‘want’ the property, too bad.

The seller has already expressed that she’s not motivated, and in the process, is trying to motivate YOU by generating ‘scarcity’ in her offer. How? She’s told you she’s got two other buyers coming to look at her house on Saturday, inferring that if you don’t act now, you could lose.

Forget it.

Once a seller tells me that he’s got two other buyers interested, true, or false, I say, 'OK, I understand, but I don’t compete for investment deals. If these buyers don’t work out, I would love to talk with you LATER about buying this property. Then I slowly walk away.

Or you could turn the ‘timetable’ on its head and say, "I’ve only got so much money, and I can’t buy everything I see. I’ve got two other deals I’m looking at, and will buy the first one that make sense. So, if you would like me to consider your property, I need to see it today, or tomorrow, first thing.

The numbers and types of offers you can make are endless. It greatly depends on what you know about the seller’s motivation; motivation level, needs, wants, and time frames for selling. The rest depends on your knowledge and skills as a negotiator.

Meantime, there’s probably two basic ways to come to a deal, which includes either throwing offers out like oatmeal and see what sticks, or throwing out lots of questions, and listening for problems to solve.

Either way, you have to discover what the seller will accept. I like the questioning approach.

I also like to ask, “Have you rejected any offers?” This opens the door to see what may be soft boundaries. A low-ball offer from someone else, might crack the door for you to make a similar offer, but with a twist that allows you to close.

Of course, the twist you offer is a result of listening to the seller’s answers in the first place.

OR: Just plop your offer in her lap, and give her 24 hours to accept it.

She’s not motivated and seems to know more about negotiations than you do. So don’t fight it. Just say, “This is what I can do. If you like it, call me by five p.m. and I’ll get the paperwork going.”

This will impress her, even if she doesn’t like the offer. What’s more, if she’s bluffing about competitors, it opens the door to negotiations, because yours is the only offer she’s got in hand.


I like Javipa answers but one question I ask before all the other questions is do you live in the property? The answer to that, tells me which fork in the road to take and what my next question will be.

completely agree with the above
what’s owed on the house
1st and 2nd mortgage
any payments behind
any other people on the deed
if you aren’t an agent or if you can find out why they are selling
find out their motivation
time table
bedrooms, bathrooms, sq ft, year built
how can you be a solution to their problem