It has often been said that there is a fine line that separates successful real estate investors from those wondering why there business may be struggling. In most cases, it is in the execution of the little things that make all the difference. The best investors are those that focus on keeping their pipeline filled with new deals, while simultaneously pushing existing deals to closing. To get new deals, you need to know how to work with sellers and get them to agree to your terms. This can be a very delicate dance that requires patience, knowledge and the willingness to outwork your competition. There are deals for the taking that you just need to work. You just have to know how to work them.
Working with sellers requires you to be a problem solver, in addition to an investor. Most investors think that just because a seller needs help that they are going to agree to your terms. That is not the case at all. It may be in their interest to sell before foreclosure or to take your deal, but that doesn’t mean they are going to do it. You need to find out exactly what they want out of the process within the first few minutes of your initial phone call. Getting more deals to contract, and ultimately to closing, will require you to be a problem solver. The minute you lose sight of this is when deals will slip through your fingers.
The attitude you have and the approach you take with every potential seller goes a long way in determining if you will get the deal or not. Most sellers have never been in a situation that they may have to sell to avoid foreclosure, bankruptcy or a protracted family issue. You need to treat each seller individually and expect them to have a million questions. If you become frustrated or annoyed, they could just as easily decide not to work with you. A seller always has options, either legally or with other investors. If you don’t have the right attitude, they will certainly look elsewhere.
While you may be negotiating from a position of strength, you should be careful not to be too greedy. You need to know where to draw the line and what may be the tipping point. If you keep looking to sweeten the pot, you can believe that they will start to get frustrated and begin to look elsewhere. If someone has a comparable solution, they will certainly work with them instead. The best negotiations are when both sides of the transaction leave the table happy. If you are going to ask for something, you should be ready to make a concession elsewhere. You don’t have to be evasive as to what you will do with the property after you buy, but you should point out that you are taking a risk on the property as well. As long as your seller feels that they are not being taken advantage of and understand their situation, they will be comfortable working with you.
Whether you get the deal or not, you should make a point of it to follow up and stay involved with the seller. One of the biggest complaints people throughout real estate have is not knowing what is going on with their deal. Each deal brings its own unique challenges and issues, but you should make a point to give the seller an outline of what will happen when and keep them informed every step of the way. If you have bad news or a change from the original plan, you need to tell them as soon as possible. Working with sellers is often about how comfortable they are with you. If you constantly keep them in the loop from start to finish, they will be much more likely to close.
It is easy to say things and make promises when a deal is on the line. Instead of making false promises that you may not be able to keep, lay everything out on the table from the beginning. Nothing will get you to lose a deal quicker than by promising money to move out that you have no intention of giving them. Again, the seller doesn’t have to sell. If you constantly lie or exaggerate throughout the process, the seller has every right to back out of the deal right before the closing. It is always far better to lose a deal before you get going than to lose it a week before closing. You never know when a borrower will get cold feet or explore another option, but if you are upfront from the beginning and are honest during the process you stand a much greater chance of getting that deal to the closing table.
Working with sellers and negotiating is an art that you will improve with the more deals you work with. It is important to always keep their situation in mind and remember that there is competition out there. There will be deals that you lose after working on for months and sellers that will call you every day and ask questions. This is part of the business and what you need to do to get deals. Securing more deals is about doing the little things that make all the difference.
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