The Big Questions Every Real Estate Investor Should Be Asking Sellers

October 31, 2008 | By | 4 Replies More

Below is a list of power questions to ask every seller when you’re qualifying each lead and negotiating with them. By asking the right questions, you will be able to gather all of the necessary information to make an educated offer.  These questions will uncover their true motivation, give you all the info you need to make a creative offer, and will put them on the spot to give you a better deal.The Big Questions Every Real Estate Investor Should Be Asking Sellers

What is your situation?

This question gets at the heart of a prospect’s motivation. Often times, the person will just open up and tell you exactly why they are selling. This is very valuable information to use in your negotiations. Once you know a seller’s true motivation, you will know whether or not they are in a situation that you can help solve.

If the seller asks you what you mean, just rephrase it and say, “Well, why exactly are you selling? Are you moving out of the area or . . .” At that point, I usually just shut up and let them fill the void of silence with their reason for selling.

Are you just trying to get out from under the debt on the property and sell for what you owe?

By asking this question, you get right to the point. Even if they have a ton of equity, doesn’t matter . . . just ask anyway. You never know what someone will say until you ask. This also preps them mentally to know that we are the type of company that helps people that “NEED” to sell. If they are looking to get too much out of the property, we are on to the next lead.

If someone owns their home free and clear, this question wouldn’t make sense to ask. Use it in every other situation.

Would you be willing to receive payments for your equity over time?

Paying a seller for their equity over time is a great way to accelerate your wealth in real estate. This gets at the heart of being a creative real estate investor. Any time that we can get a seller to take back financing, we go for it. That’s less money we have to bring to closing, and you set up the terms. Usually we just say, how about $x per month until the full balance has been paid. By the way, that’s a 0% loan. Every payment goes straight towards principal. That’s how you build massive wealth quickly in this game.

Do not ever use the words “seller financing” or “owner financing.” Use this simple question that says the same thing and says it in a way that can be easily understood.

Is there a certain time frame that needs to be met with the sale of the property?

Maybe the seller is moving by a certain date whether the house sells or not. Maybe the property is going to foreclosure soon. Whatever reason someone needs to sell fast, you want to know why and what time frame must be met. When you go to make your offer, you craft it so that it meets the necessary time frame needed.

The ultimate big question . . . Is that the best you can do?

I love this question more than any other. It puts people to the test. You’ve been negotiating with them and you get down to the lowest price that the seller says they would take for the property. Then, you say, “Is that the best you can do?” Your nonverbal communication is going to say a lot here so look them in the eyes and say it in a very soft tone of concern. Almost like if they don’t come down on the price more, there’s nothing you can do.

Typically, even after a seller has given their final price, this question will get them down lower. Use it and prepare to be amazed.

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Category: Negotiating

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  1. Wil Christenson says:

    Seriously Patrick. You know I’ve got nothing but respect for you, but PLEASE! stop giving away all the secrets! I mean you’re giving away not just the question, but the way to ask the question. C’mon! Help a fellow investor out. I prefer to be able to go into a seller’s house after another investor has left empty-handed, ask the right questions and be able to secure a deal. But if you keep giving away secrets like these those times will come to a halt FAST. So, in the name of all that is good and fair, please stop. Thank You.

  2. Patrick Riddle says:

    Thanks for the compliment Wil! I’m not going to hold back though.

  3. Ross Treakle says:

    Very good list of questions! I would say the two most important questions you posed were the second and the last.

    The second…would you be willing to sell for what you owe? That gets right to the point. If they say yes and the numbers work, you have a winner.

    Then if the conversation continues the last question…is that the best you can do? will probably catch the seller off guard a little bit. Every time I have used that question or heard stories of an investor using that question, the price always goes down a bit.

    When you are negotiating, I would advise to ALWAYS ask that last question unless you have the seller at the point which they are willing to take only what they owe.

    Remember, in real estate investing you make your profits when you buy…then you realize those profits when you sell! It all comes down to buying right!!!


    Ross Treakle

    Ross Treakle’s last blog post..Give $$$ To Your Local Realtor

  4. Patrick Riddle says:

    Good points. I hope people realize how powerful and effective the question, “Is that the best you can do?” really is. Sounds like it’s definitely been working for you.