What Is a Motivated Seller in Real Estate & How to Find Them

Real Estate Investing

One of the best ways to get a great deal in real estate is to work with a motivated seller. They’re not as common as people selling simply because they want to, but there are many people out there looking to sell at negotiable prices as quickly as possible.

What Does 'Motivated Seller' Mean in Real Estate?

When someone is a motivated seller in real estate it means that they want to sell their property quickly so that it is no longer associated with them and so that they have cash instead. Typically, motivated sellers are people willing to negotiate on the list price, they’ll offer terms that are in the purchaser's favor and they’ll want to move as quickly as possible.

Common Reasons Behind Motivated Sellers

There are a good few reasons why someone who might be a normal seller becomes a motivated seller:

  • Their world has changed: People go through life upheaval that forces them to change their world and often sell their homes. This includes divorce, separation, births, and deaths. They might also need to move because of a new job.
  • They can’t manage the property: Some properties simply begin to fall apart due to neglect. This might not be the owner’s fault, but they simply cannot manage to salvage what remains. In these scenarios, often their best option is to sell.
  • Foreclosure is looming: When the owners simply cannot keep paying their mortgage, are in arrears and the lenders are beginning to put pressure on them, they’ll likely want to sell and sell quickly.
  • They’ve inherited the property: Not everyone wants to keep an inherited property, many people choose to sell the property so that they can receive the cash benefits instead.

Real Estate Tips for Finding Motivated Sellers

These are some of the best real estate tips that we have to offer when it comes to finding motivated sellers. The key is to ensure that you’re looking in the right place and at the right time. Motivated sellers are definitely out there, and once you’ve mastered these tips you’ll have no trouble finding them.

Check Sale By Owner (FSBO) Sites

For sale by owner sites, or FSBO sites are not only full of sellers motivated to complete transactions quickly, but they’re also almost all completely free. Popular options include sites such as Trulia and Loopnet, you can also find plenty of listings on Craigslist too. A smart way to use sites like these is to pinpoint listings that have been on the platforms for a while because if they’re still listed there’s a chance that the seller is now even more motivated to sell and could be open to negotiation beyond the original list price.

If the free sites aren’t providing you with the right results you might consider one of the paid options such as:

  • FSBO.com
  • Houzeo
  • Forsalebyowner.com
  • Fizber

Connect With Local Attorneys

The local attorney population is probably the best-connected and most in-tune individuals regarding the property market behind real estate agents themselves. These people know the ins and the outs of the local area, they know who is due to divorce, they know about probates, and they also know about bankruptcy. Don’t expect to be able to ring up and demand information, there’s client confidentiality. Still, if you were able to get friendly with an attorney and build a relationship, they might tip you off in the future.

Search Local Foreclosure Listings

Similar to FSBO sites, there are a number of websites that specialize in listing local foreclosures. The majority of counties will have a website dedicated to their locality. Simply search where you want to purchase and see what is on offer. A sale related to foreclosure is an especially motivated process.

Websites that list local foreclosures include:

  • Foreclosure.com
  • HUD.gov
  • Equator.com
  • HomePath
  • RealtyTrac

Network With County and City Inspectors

Networking with local county and city inspectors, in the same way that you might network with attorneys mentioned above, is a great way to learn about potentially motivated sellers. Some people are simply inundated with code violations and issues, they may well choose to ditch the property while they have the chance rather than resolve the issues. If you’re armed with some knowledge you can be the first person to get in contact with them, and you’re in a strong negotiating position if you know what issues there are with the property. The local county and city inspectors have the ability to tip you off, but you’ll need an established relationship first.

Attend Local Auctions

Local property auctions are a great way to find a property that is otherwise not listed. There are still thousands of properties that don’t make it to the online portals and instead rely exclusively on auction houses. Tax sales and real estate that have been seized by banks after foreclosures almost always go through auctions. Spend some time visiting auction houses to get a feel for the local market, and potentially pick up some serious bargains.

Use Direct Mail

Believe it or not, direct mail is still an effective method of communication, in fact, people are more likely to open a physical piece of post than an email. If you can get hold of public records that include things like recent foreclosures, current property listings (especially old listings), and recent deaths, then you can send letters to addresses and prospect their motivation to sell. You’re stepping into the world of outbound marketing at this point, and it might not be for everyone, but you’ll be surprised by the number of responses you might get.

Key Takeaways

If you’re able to find a motivated seller, chances are you’ll be able to secure your new property quickly and with as minimal fuss as can be expected. The strategies outlined above will require some effort on your part, but if you’re keen to get the best market rates possible then they’re worth the investment.

  • Combining multiple of the methods above will put you in the best position.
  • Acting quickly will net you the best opportunities, many motivated sellers will respect speed of action.

Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources and/or artificial intelligence (AI) and is intended for informational, entertainment, or educational purposes only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee that the information presented on this blog is free from errors, omissions, or biases. Getaway has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation. This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. It is important to do your own research and consult with a certified financial advisor or accountant before making any investment decisions. References to any investments or assets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a  recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any investments. Charts and graphs are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

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