Go the Extra Mile for the Seller
With all the competition in the real estate market, homeowners and sellers are getting bombarded with people that want to buy their homes. People in foreclosure because they are behind on their payments receive approximately 50 to 80 letters from investors asking if they would like to sell. If a homeowner passes away, once the probate process begins, it is printed in the legal notices, and then the surviving family members get blasted with letters and postcards.
Investors can get pretty creative; I talked to a daughter of a deceased man, and she said she gets advertisements that look like condolence cards, and when she opens it, it turns out that it is an investor asking if she wants to sell the house. She told me that it makes her upset because she thought they were sympathy cards. So then we have bandit signs, billboards, television, and radio commercials of investors wanting to buy houses.
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(cont.) How can we compete with all of this? Even If you have millions of dollars, that does not necessarily mean that you will get the deal. A seller has so many people who are willing to buy so that they will choose someone. So the real question is, how do we get them to choose you over someone else.
When I first got started in the real estate business, I focused on the foreclosure arena like many others. It has and will always be very competitive. A person in foreclosure not only gets hundreds of letters from investors wanting to buy but they get bombarded by attorneys telling them to file bankruptcy because it stops the foreclosure. Even though I was a newbie investor, I still got deals. They chose to sell to me. How did it happen?
First of all, while everyone else was sending letters, I was knocking on doors. I would be sitting at the kitchen table talking to them face to face and looking at a stack of unopened mail on the table. I always had a helpful attitude and would let them do the talking, and I would listen. If you listen, they will tell you their problems, and I would make an offer that solved their problems and relieved the stress of the situation. I would offer to help them find a place to live, catch up on their utilities, rent a U-haul and hire folks to help them move, and help them feel comfortable working with me. You may ask, why would you do all that? The answer is simple. It is the seller's equity that is paying for it. I design a plan with their equity that makes their life better.
I recently found a very run-down house in a nice neighborhood with no for sale sign. A neighbor told me the man recently died and had no will or relatives. So I did some research to look for any blood relatives. I found his mother's sister two thousand miles away. She said she had not talked to him in 15 years. So I ask her if she would be willing to apply to be the personal representative for his estate. She said she was 70 years old and did not want to deal with it because she did not want to fly down and go through his things and liquidate all his belongings.
I told her I would do all those things for her. I cut the grass each week to keep the code enforcement off her back. She was approved, and I liquidated, donated all the furniture, and cleaned out the house, the neighbor and I helped sell his vehicles, and I offered to buy the house, and she accepted. I rehabbed the house from the ground up and made it look beautiful. I was willing to do the work whether she accepted the offer or not. She sent a letter thanking me for going the extra mile.
In this crazy market today, sellers are still choosing to sell to me with all the competition. I have many more things I do for sellers that help them. The only difference is that I am not pursuing foreclosures; I am pursuing the "Hidden Market." I still, to this day, knock on doors, let the seller do the talking, acknowledge what they are telling me, and then write up an offer that solves all their problems. This is a people business. You reap what you sow, and If you sow good seed, you reap a harvest.