Finding a motivated seller is extremely important when you're looking at purchasing real estate for investment purposes. In order to increase your profit margin, it is critical that you locate and purchase properties with the lowest sales price possible. Unless they have a good reason and are extremely motivated, however; many home owners will sit on a property and wait for what they think is the right price-sometimes that's years! Homeowners who have filed for bankruptcy or in the process of having their home foreclosed on by the bank can be very motivated to sell their property at a reduced selling price.
If their financial situation gets to the point that that the bank actually does foreclose on the home, they will be forced out of the property and will have to walk away without a dime. This means they will also lose whatever equity they had built up in the home. Selling to a real estate investor-even if it is below the current market value for the property insures that they will at least have some money in their pocket to be able to start over.
Homeowners who are getting divorced can also sometimes be motivated to sell for a number of reasons. Sometimes it's easier to sell the family home and split the profits than bicker back and forth over who's going to make the mortgage payment. It may also be necessary for the home to be sold due to financial constraints. Just be aware that when dealing with divorcing homeowners that in almost all cases both parties will need to approve the sale and sign on the dotted line.
If a seller isn't already motivated, help them be motivated! This may sound like it involves something illegal or unethical, but it's really just helping people understand the benefits and opportunities that are possible for them. For example, keep an eye out for properties that are beginning to show signs of neglect. There could be a number of reasons why this has occurred. Perhaps the homeowner simply doesn't have time to keep up the property anymore, or maybe there's a medical condition that is keeping the homeowner from taking care of the property. Whatever the reason, there's a good chance that given the right incentives they can become motivated sellers. Maybe they would love to sell and move to a smaller home that requires less upkeep but simply dread the thought of packing up and moving.
Offering to help them or make the arrangements for a professional moving service won't cost you that much when you consider the potential profit to be made. Another excellent way to find motivated sellers is to have someone else locate them for you. People love to gossip, even if they call it something else. Keep an ear tuned to the whisperings going on around you and you will be able to pick up an amazing number of leads for motivated sellers.