As a Mentor, one of the biggest things I stress to my Students/Partners is that you can’t buy and flip houses in sloooow motion. As soon as a Seller calls you, you should fill out a Seller Information Sheet and schedule for the following day (within 24 Hours) an appointment to see the house. Most of the information that is needed on the Seller Information Sheet you can get directly from the Seller. I have been asked “How long do you talk to a Seller about their home?” Since this is your first communication with a Seller and you NEED to build rapport, you should be on the telephone for a long time. What does that mean to you?
I would suggest at least 30 minutes on the phone to talk to the Seller about their home, their life, where are they going…anything and everything you can think that you might have in common with the Seller. Sellers like to do business with people they like. So, if you are only on the telephone for 5 minutes, then did you build rapport or even completely ask all the questions that are on my Seller Information Sheet? Probably not. Call the Seller right back and ask ALL the questions on the Seller Information Sheet so that you will know what he/she wants for the house, why they are moving, where they are moving and when they want to leave.
What if the Seller doesn’t give you all the information? Then you need to look it up in the public records. You also need to immediately drive by the exterior of the home and if it is vacant, look in the windows and/or secure the home for some people. Sellers assume you have already driven by the house and you are to give them an Offer right over the phone without even knowing anything about the house. You want to know everything you can about the Seller, as the only thing that makes a great investment deal is a motivated Seller. If you don’t have one, then you won’t get the price you need to make it a great investment deal for either a flip or hold.
Recently, I dealt with one of the most difficult Sellers. A Partner and I wanted to go to his personal house in Orange City to get him to sign the Purchase Agreement WITHOUT seeing the inside of the 2nd house he owned. He insisted for us to wait. We overnighted the Purchase Agreement to him, based on the facts that we drove by the vacant home, looked in the windows and knew the values in the neighborhood. We called him to see if he would sign the Purchase Agreement and return it and he informed us that we could now get inside the house to see it. We went inside the house and immediately called him back. Again, we wanted to get him to sign the Purchase Agreement. He had an excuse that his daughter also had to sign and we even offered to drive it to her. In the end, he sold the house to the neighbor at the same $50,000 price that WE had negotiated, for a house worth $140k with minor repairs. He didn’t even allow us to counter our price. What is the lesson on this deal? Drive out to his house and just stop by and see if you can get him to sign it. What if he said no, can’t come in and/or no he won’t sign it right now? Well, we lost the deal anyway so what do you have to lose? See if you can get both Sellers in one location for signing.
Another Student contacted me about a great short sale that had loads of equity in the home. She went by the house, took pictures and even secured the house with new locks since the house was unlocked. I sent the Seller the Offer overnight with a return envelope, at the asking price that she wanted. The Student went on vacation and I called the Seller several times. The Seller had built the rapport with the Student, not me, so I did not have the relationship that the Student had. I finally got a hold of the Seller and she informed me that she received another offer which was $6,500 higher than ours. I told her that we could match it, as the Student did get in to see the house after our last call. She refused to sign with us and said she was going with the other person. The Seller lived out of town, so how do you think you could have made this deal work? I believe constant contact with the Seller with long discussions to build better rapport. Obviously, the other investor offered higher, offered to pay for an attorney and could close in 10 days or less. Which doesn’t always happen due to inspection, title work and closing package; however, they locked the deal. Next time, I would suggest that listening longer as to what the concerns are with the Seller will get us the deal.
Another Student spoke with an elderly woman who owned a vacant home. The student gave her the amount that she wanted, prepared a purchase agreement and even went to her location where she lives. She then said that she had things in the house that she wanted and needed to wait 2 weeks before signing the purchase agreement. The student did offer to help her move her belongings and extend the time of closing on our Purchase Agreement, however, she still wouldn’t sign. As to the status of this deal, I don’t know yet. The Student definitely needs to go again to the vacant house and see if there is any activity there and go to the Seller’s house and get the deal signed. However, obviously we did not really find out her main concern why she won’t sign the contract, so it will take another 30 minutes at her house, face to face, to get this deal done.
My hope is that this article will deeply impress upon you the importance of a 24 hour contact with the Seller, going to the house, whether or not you can get in, filling out the Seller Information Sheet with all the information on the home, knowing your comparables and having the Purchase Agreement ready to be signed the day you go to the house. Let me ask you as a Buyer: Do you have to buy the house, if after the inspection you found out that your repairs are too much or you won’t make any profit on the house? No, you don’t have too; however, you have locked the house up for at least 15 days for inspection and no one else can buy the house. Also, if the price is not a good deal for you, you can always counter the Seller at that time, after inspection, to see if you can make it a win-win situation. If not, then you didn’t lose anything. You did receive the knowledge and the experience of dealing with a Seller, identifying repairs on the house and how to make the next deal better!
Please keep sending me your questions and topics that you would like to hear about, so I can be sure to keep feeding you with the information that you need in order to move confidently through 2016 and bring your Real Estate Dreams to Life!