When you are talking to sellers it definitely to your advantage knowing how to sniff out a great deal rather than a marginal deal as quickly as possible. The type of deals you should be focus on are the “no-brainer kick yourself if you let it get away” opportunities. No matter what anyone tells you there is no 100% guaranteed deal that you couldn't possibly ever come out on the short end of. Even the most recognized real estate “gurus” out there will admit to deals they wished they hadn't done. So your best insurance for success is finding motivated sellers that are going to offer the best terms and price.
You should have your checklist of items to ask sellers when they call: address, # of bedrooms, fenced yard, CH/A, etc. The conversation should not sound like a homicide investigation so you want to develop a rapport and rhythm with the seller. When you get right down to it though all of the specific information about the property is great but you want to find out their motivation. It is inevitable that some sellers will just be looking for a quick all-cash retail sale. You are not their answer.
The name of the game is to find out their “situation”. You will be seeking the seller that has a perceived problem with their property and that maybe you are the solution they are need. After taking the necessary information you want to get right down to the core asking questions such as these:
- Why are you looking to sell?
- Do you have ballpark range of what you are asking for the property?
- Is there something in mind you are needing to make it worth your while to sell the property?
- If someone were to buy your property are you needing to close quickly?
If you are working with truly motivated sellers they will definitely not mind giving you a price range of what they are needing and even what the balance on their mortgage is if they have financing. When they can't give insight to any of the above listed question examples or that their mortgage balance is their business, then go milk another cow.
When someone says, “just look at it and make me an offer” you can but I wouldn't suggest it. I will simply state that I sure don't want to waste their time(actually mine) so if I had a ballpark range of what they are seeking that I can research more to see if I can meet their needs. Some sellers will be shocked that you wouldn't want to spend an hour to go out to drive by, another hour doing research on what you could possibly offer, and then take the time to call them back only to hear them say that just isn't an acceptable offer. Your time needs to be spent with motivated sellers on quality deals.
When you talk to sellers you need to sift and sort though conversations to find their motivation so that you can find the ones that have great potential. Even the best of potential sounding deals may not work out but you can sure save yourself a lot of time knowing how to prescreen effectively to find truly motivated sellers!