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7 Unique Ways to Find Motivated Sellers

What is the most difficult part of any transaction? 

Finding Motivated Sellers who want to work with you

Most agents work the same tired leads: FSBOs and Expireds.

Why? Because these are the most available and commonly recommended leads by many real estate coaches. 

How many times have you heard a FSBO say: You are the thousandth agent to call me today?

Have you been on a listing presentation and seen the seller’s kitchen table littered with other agents’ brochures and offers to buy their house. It’s discouraging, to say the least, especially when you know that you don’t have anything better to offer.

Is there a better way to find motivated sellers and listings? 

Yes, use a unique list and make them an offer they can’t refuse.

It’s that simple. 

Start with a list and find out what these prospects want. Don’t offer to sell their house, offer a solution to their problem. Offer them options that don’t always involve your services.

This builds trust and you will feel better every time you talk to the seller or do a listing presentation. Maybe selling the house is the best option for them, maybe it’s not. Let them come to this conclusion on their own.

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem

Seth Godin

Here are seven different ways you can help people and fill your deal pipeline at the same time.

1. Tax Delinquencies 

Not paying taxes is the first sign of financial stress. In today’s market, sadly, we will see this happen more often. If the owner doesn’t pay the property taxes and the county sells their tax debt, they have to pay it within two years (it’s different in each state) with interest or the property will be sold to the highest bidder at tax sale. 

Owners with taxes that are delinquent with more than one year usually own their property free and clear.

These homeowners are not looking to sell, they are looking for a solution to their tax problem. If you offer a tax assistance program, you will get to list or buy the property. Maybe you can team with a lender and create a program. (look under Resources for lenders you can work with)

Don’t offer to list or buy their house. Let them come to their own conclusion that they need to sell their property.

How to find these leads? 

Go to your county tax collector and look for unpaid real estate taxes. 

How far behind those homeowners need to be before they go to a tax sale? More than one year is the best.

2. Evictions 

Many landlords, especially the ones going through an eviction are ready to sell. They are waiting for you to call.  

Tapping landlords who are evicting tenants proved very effective for Andrew Martin, a local real estate investor.

He sent a mini direct mail campaign to only 37 landlords who were going through evictions. Andrew mailed one postcard and a week later a professional letter.

The response rate was 10%, 4 responses with only two mailings. He got one deal which made him $40, 000 profit.

The math on that: $42 on postage and printing, $40,000 profit.

Why does mailing to landlords in eviction work? 

The moment a landlord files for eviction is the peak of their frustration with dealing with tenants. 

They are incurring only expenses during this time: no income.

After the eviction, the property can often require some serious rehab and updating.

This is usually the time when landlords are ready to dump the rental and move on.

The key to these leads is timeliness. Contact them immediately after they file.

Can you find eviction leads on your own?

You can get a list of evictions from the Courthouse. Remove apartment communities and huge corporate landlords. Next, find the mailing address of the property owner and other contact information. The resource section of our website has a good trace skip service for the telephone numbers and emails.

3. Divorce 

 People have to sell when their life changes, for better or worse. Divorce is extremely stressful for everyone. If you have the right approach, you can help provide a Broker Price Opinion and help couples sell their properties and move on. 

It’s helpful to team with a lender because in certain situations, refinancing the home makes more sense than selling it.

Approach divorce attorneys and offer to provide valuation services for free. Ask them what else could be helpful to their clients.

Where to find leads?

This list is available from the Courthouse, most counties have online access for the public. Not all people divorcing will have a property. You can go through the list and using the names, look in the Property Appraiser site to find if they own a property. 

Some counties list the parties and their addresses and if you are lucky their phone numbers. 

What can you do with this list? You can mail them, call or upload the list to Facebook, and create an ad that will target people going through divorce only. This is probably the least expensive way to reach out after calling of course.

However, calling these leads directly is not the best way to approach this, it’s much better to contact the attorneys and become a resource for them because they are the ones who have control of the case.

4. Probates 

 Probate typically happens when a person passes without a will or trust and there is an estate that needs to be divided between heirs.

Why are probate great leads? Because around 80-90% of those properties will be sold within 6-12 months.

Many times, you will be the only person contacting these people. 

How to approach them? A personal letter as a first contact, followed by a call is the best way.

Direct mail – handwritten letters get a response rate of 18-20%. Have a softer approach and offer help.

Heirs may need a lot of services in order to sell the property. You can become a turn-key resource for them. Line up cash buyers, cleaners. contractors, estate sales company.

Anything they may need to sell the property quickly.

Listen to what their needs are so you can have a solution for them. Be a problem solver.

Another good idea is to network with probate attorneys and attorneys that focus on setting up wills – you can get deals before they start the formal process.

5. Leads Through Assisted Living Facilities

Network with placement agents for senior living. Call local senior living assisted facilities and make an appointment with the intake, admission office.

Prepare letters or brochures you can leave with them. If they like you, they may be willing to include it in the admission package.

Why would they do this? You will be helping the family to pay for the facility if the home sells fast. Explain that you are there to help them and that you have a team of handyman, cash buyers, whatever else they may need to make the situation less stressful. Ask them if Is it Ok to leave brochures they can give to their patients and their families? 

In the brochure include information about you, why are you doing this, and how you can help them.

6. Water, Fire Damaged Properties

These homeowners are motivated. They have to take action fast usually within a couple of weeks to collect the insurance and sell or repair the house.

To be able to work with these properties it’s best to partner with a cash buyer. 

Download a Pulsepoint.com app, it will show you where emergencies are happening.

7. Pre-foreclosures

Homeowners in foreclosure are not usually very motivated to sell but they are motivated to keep their property.

Create a foreclosure defense program for them, maybe work with a lender for refinancing or a lawyer. 

Eventually, these sellers will realize that selling the property is a good idea.

These are the Seven Ways to find motivated sellers who want to work with you.

If are feeling overwhelmed, just start with the one or two ways that appeal to you and work those until you are great at it.

Happy Prospecting!

About the author

Jana Christo is a business owner, real estate investor, and property manager. She has 16 years of experience in most areas of real estate.
During the last recession, she was also the managing partner for a company that bought and rehabbed properties from the court foreclosure auctions. Today, she manages her own portfolio of rental properties and shares her experience on Rentce.com.

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