By Mike Baird
Flipping houses is as much about knowing how to talk to people as it is about finding deals and rehabbing properties. I’m pretty straightforward, and people have definitely called me blunt before, but the sellers I work with appreciate that I’m honest, friendly, and approachable.
As an investor, I’ve learned a lot about talking to sellers and how to help them out. As a real estate coach, I help new flippers learn how to talk to motivated sellers every day. In a real estate class, we role-play and run through some scenarios for talking with motivated sellers, but for now, this example script should be helpful.
Give a Warm and Informative Introduction
Whether you call the seller, the seller calls you, or you’re meeting in person, you should first introduce yourself and let them know who you are and what you do. Start off with something like…
“Hello, I’m Mike from Property Bank. I’m a real estate investor, and I pay cash for properties like yours. How are you doing today?”
You’ll notice that I didn’t say that I buy distressed, abandoned, or foreclosure properties. Motivated sellers are often embarrassed about their situations, even when those situations are out of their control. You don’t want to make them feel worse, so keep things as positive as you can. After you’ve asked them how they’re doing, listen to them. Don’t cut them off or interrupt them at any point in this conversation, especially in the beginning. You want them to feel comfortable talking with you and to feel like you’re really listening.
Ask Them If They are Interested in Selling
Next, you want to know whether or not you’re actually speaking with a motivated seller, and you want to let them know that you’re serious about making an offer on their house right away.
“I would like to make a cash offer on your property. Are you interested in selling your house today?”
Note that I specifically asked about selling the property today. This reinforces the immediacy of my offer and can motivate the seller to consider accepting my offer before I even make it. More than likely, they’ll say yes, at which point you should be prepared to follow up with questions about the house and their situation.
“Okay, great. I just have a couple of questions about the property to give me an idea of what we need to do to help you out… Why do you want to sell the house?”
Let them know that you’re not asking a ton of questions just to pump them for information. You’re trying to help them out, but you need to know what they need to get for the house and what kinds of repairs the house needs. Follow up with these questions, but make sure that you let the conversation flow naturally and that, again, you never interrupt them. Even if they pause, give them time to gather their thoughts and to tell you about the situation, what’s brought them to selling the house, and what’s going on with the property.
“Can you tell me a little bit about the maintenance and upkeep of the house?”
“What kinds of repairs do you think it needs?”
“How long has it been vacant?” (if the property is currently uninhabited)
“What are your goals for selling your house?”
“What price would you like to get for the property if we made a cash offer today?”
Once you have the answers to these questions and you have a good idea about the property and what it needs, politely tell the seller that you need to run some numbers and ask them when you can call back with an offer.
Flipping houses starts with conversations like these with motivated sellers. As a real estate coach, the best advice I can give you, in or out of real estate class, is this: make the seller comfortable and get them to trust you, and you’ll make a lot of great deals over your career.