By Steve Gillman - 2005
An example of motivated sellers? We were trying to keep renters
happy, the rent coming in and the house repaired - while living
2100 miles away. You bet we were motivated. Actually, we just
sold our house last month, and even got a good price, but I'll
tell you a secret. We probably would have sold the place for...
well I don't want to depress the buyer if he reads this. I'll
just say we would have sold it for much less.
That's your first clue on finding a motivated seller. If he
isn't where his property is, he's probably ready to deal. Now,
how do you get this information? Usually by asking. Just start
talking to the real estate agent, the neighbors, and anyone else.
Here are some other things to ask about that may indicate a motivated
Relocation. If the seller is relocating for work, ask
when he will be moving. He's probably already worrying about
Divorces. Relationship problems create many motivated
sellers. Maybe the house payment needed both parties, and the
house will have to be sold quickly.
Financial problems. Failing businesses, too much debt
or other financial problems often force a sale. See if the owner
is behind on payments.
Tenant problems. Believe me, it's easy to get tired
of being a landlord. It's common to want to get out at any reasonable
Probate. If the heirs are all waiting to get their
inheritance, they may be more interested in a quick sale than
a great price.
Up-sizing or down-sizing. Sellers moving into a larger
or a smaller home may already have one in mind and need to sell
More Methods for Finding a Motivated Seller
To find motivated sellers in the classifieds, pay attention
to the wording of ads. Lines like, "Need to sell,"
"Must sell," and "Will look at all offers,"
are good indicators. Look at the rental ads too. "Must have
a good job," may indicate a landlord who is tired of tenants
and ready to sell. Some other sources:
1. Neglected properties. If they don't maintain the
property, they may be short on cash, tired of it, or out of town
- all good motivators.
2. Property tax rolls. The county records are open
to the public in most places. You are looking for properties
that list an owner with an address far away. The farther the
better. You could have found us this way, and bought our place
3. Timing. Before school starts, people are motivated
to get their house sold so they can get their kids enrolled in
the new school where they are moving. When an apartment building
has been sitting for sale for the whole winter, the owner may
be tired of the bills and ready to get it sold fast.
Bottom line? Use your eyes and ears, and look for the clues.
Talking to people helps a lot, too. However you find your motivated
sellers, your next step is to motivate them even more. You can
begin by negotiating for a fast, easy close for them - and a
good price for you. This, however, is a topic for another article.