Are you among the many people wondering the best way to find motivated seller leads? Then you’ve come to the right place because they are closer to you than you think.
The U.S. Census reported that about 31 million people moved to the country in 2019. Although not all of them were homeowners, at least one out of every three of them were selling and buying a house.
In addition, the National Association of Realtors stated in one of its reports that people were more motivated to sell their houses because of a job relocation (11%), small spacing (13%), and family (16%). Finding a property that’s up for sale is relatively easy, but identifying those with motivated sellers is more challenging.
As a real estate investor, you will benefit more if you put in extra efforts to searching for motivated home sellers and learn where and how to find them and how to negotiate with them. It’s best if you also had an efficient lead generation strategy.
A lead generation strategy can be inbound or outbound. An inbound lead generation involves using marketing strategies to attract motivated home sellers. Some of the strategies involved in inbound lead generation include: running online ads, newspaper ads, sending direct mails and yellow letters, and publishing articles on blogs.
On the other hand, outbound lead generation is a strategy that involves actively seeking motivated sellers instead of expecting them to come looking for you. You can also refer to outbound lead generation as prospecting. Some of the strategies here include cold calling, attending REIA conferences or meetings, networking, and cold calling.
Before searching for motivated seller leads, you’ll need to understand who they are and why we call them “motivated.”
What Are Motivated Seller Leads?
A motivated seller leads in real estate is an individual property owner who is eager or in haste to get rid of their rental property, primary residence, or any other real estate asset in their care with minimal difficulty. Often, motivation emerges as a result of specific situations related to financial problems or unexpected life occurrences.
Furthermore, their drive to sell works benefits investors more as their selling price generally relies on their motivation level. Highly motivated sellers, or at least property owners who desire to sell a property before it becomes a strain on their savings, can find it difficult turning down a lesser offer if you offer them cash in advance.
Most motivated sellers are usually not financially buoyant enough to spend money to prepare the house for sale. While this concept is pretty straightforward, finding the right motivated seller lead is not.
Apart from financial distress, below are other common reasons that motivate sellers:
- The property is depreciating each month they hold unto it.
- The property needs repairs, is in poor condition, or has physical faults (like fire damage, sinkhole, foundation issue, or storm damage) that may threaten the lives of its inhabitants.
- There are delinquent taxes on the property, and the owner cannot pay up the taxes to prevent it from tax sales.
- The owner has gotten to a pre-closure or foreclosure stage and might lose the house anyway.
- Homeowners who have secured a job in a different city might also be motivated to sell their property before moving.
- Increased family size may also motivate homeowners to sell their current property while buying another apartment with more space.
At the same time, real estate lead creation is not as complex as you would have thought when you have the proper guidance—you simply need to know the right place to look. In my experience, the following are the best sources of real estate motivated seller leads and some of the most remarkable ways for investors to find their next big motivated real estate leads.
Types of Motivated Home Seller Leads
To be a successful real estate investor, you must know where to find motivated home sellers who are more driven to get rid of their properties than others. After all, a property owner’s motivation to sell often favors the investors more.
Having established that below are the most accessible types of motivated home seller leads who are likely to be motivated not just to sell but to sell at a discounted price:
Distressed Property Leads
These types of motivated sellers make buying and reselling an off-market property possible at a discount because they’re financially distressed. Sometimes, these property owners are afraid of falling into foreclosure, while some have gone for several months or even years behind on payments. You can also consider people who are having trouble fulfilling their mortgage obligations as being financially distressed.
Because their motivation often involves financial troubles, distressed property leads are the best-motivated seller leads for real estate investors. But the real question is, how can an investor find distressed home sellers?
Interestingly, the answer is not so far-fetched. Indeed, there are numerous ways to find distressed sellers as an investor. Here are a few of them:
- The easiest way is to drive around your neighborhood and spot houses that seem to have boarded-up windows, untamed landscapes, neglected front lawn, piled newspapers on the driveway, or looks abandoned.
- Look for houses for negligent taxes.
- Search for properties with due mortgages
- Check bank-owned and REO property listings.
Vacant Seller Leads or Non-Owner Occupied Landlords
This group of leads includes people who own a home or other property but don’t live there physically. However, it doesn’t mean that there are no occupants in the house because it might be a rental property. The critical point is that the owner does not live there.
Since these landlords have most likely decided not to live on the property, it is safe to assume that they might be eager to sell the property if the investor offers them enough cash. Sometimes, non-owner-occupied landlords are the best-motivated home sellers you’ll come across.
As an investor, you should know that most non-owner landlords are not actively looking for buyers for their properties or place the property on the market. Some of them don’t even see the need to part with the property. Hence, you might need to push them a little to help them see the need to sell the property and motivate seller leads.
Although not all non-owners will be motivated to sell in the end, and not all of them are worthy candidates to buy from yet, they are likely to be more readily part ways with their property than an average homeowner.
In other words, while not all non-owner landlords will become motivated to sell their property, you stand a greater chance of persuading them than you would convince someone who has lived on the property for several years.
One of the easiest ways to find non-owner motivated seller leads in the neighborhood you want to invest in is to purchase a list of non-owners in that area. To confirm the authenticity of the list and actual ownership of the property, you may cross-reference your local municipality’s records with property records.
After obtaining the list, the next step is to identify non-owners landlords who have held the house for at least 15 years and focus your marketing strategies on them. Anything around ten years or less suggests they might still be reluctant to let go of the property.
However, you may also be lucky to find non-owner landlords who are willing to sell after only ten years of owning the house. But the longer they’ve owned the property without using it, the more likely they’ll be willing to make some money off it.
Probate and Inherited Sellers
Non-owner-occupied landlords may be a great way to get motivated seller leads, but probate sellers also have similar upsides, and sometimes, more. To understand how these sellers are the real deal, you must first understand who they are.
According to the California Superior Court, probate deals with a person’s property to their beneficiaries or heir after their demise when the will didn’t specify who gets the property. In essence, the court will transfer property ownership to the legal heir if the owner did not draft the will before their death.
It is no surprise that most probate owners are not aware that they are rightful heirs to a property before the court’s pronouncement. Most times, the property becomes a considerable responsibility for the probate.
Unlike probate, inherited homeowners get ownership of the property by declaring the will that the deceased left behind. The process of transfer of ownership, in this case, does not involve a court process.
Whether the new homeowners get the house by probate or inheritance, there’s a great chance that they’ll be unwilling to keep the house, especially if they already have a home of their own. You can assume that they’ll be reluctant to add the responsibility of a second house. Hence, they make good motivated real estate seller leads.
Like non-owner-occupied landlords, investors can also purchase a list of probate and inherited owners. You can get the sellers’ contact with a google search.
In addition, the new owner of the property may quickly dispose of it since they’re less likely to have developed any emotional attachment to it. These kinds of homeowners seeking a cash offer will be willing to listen to any cash offer from an investor for the property.
Selling To Avoid Repairing Damages
It’s not cheap to maintain a property, especially after some unexpected damage. In these cases, many homeowners prefer selling their property rather than keeping it as a liability (from an accounting perspective).
Where to find the best motivated seller leads
The easiest way of finding highly motivated seller leads is to use a third-party vendor that collects and verifies motivated home seller leads before setting up introductions/appointments. Agent’s Corner is a trusted partner for hundreds of real estate agents who get thousands of motivated seller leads through the platform.
Agent’s can target by zip code and home value to get the most relevant seller leads. The Agent’s Corner platform utilizes artificial intelligence, machine learning, predictive modeling, and data analysis to find motivated home sellers and makes introductions between the agent and the lead. All of these home seller leads are motivated and high-quality as their intent to sell has already been verified by indicating they are seeking a cash offer.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for the easiest way to find motivated seller leads, a platform like Agent’s Corner is the way to go.
Other Means for Getting Free Motivated Seller Leads
When investors have more alternatives for finding motivated seller leads, they can make more bargains with good profit margins. That stated, here are few other ways for investors to find motivated seller leads.
Lookout for Homebuyers
In most cases, an imminent property purchase is often conditional on the sale of an old one. Most homebuyers are not likely to buy a new home without first getting rid of the current one. Similarly, if they are actively searching for a new house, the chances are that they’re actively looking for buyers for their current homes too.
They might be willing to listen to cash offers to raise money for their new dream home, thereby making them an excellent source of motivated seller lead.
Check Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Expired Listings
Generally, there are several reasons why listings expire on MLS sites, from poor showings to unfinished projects and infeasible list prices. Property owners may be prepared to compromise their initial listing prices and conditions to avoid relisting the property.
In some cases, the homeowner may even do some minor repairs on the property while waiting to relist. To get access to expired MLS listings, you may need to deal with certified real estate agents.
Networking with City and County Inspectors
City and county inspectors constantly check buildings and properties to ensure that they meet up to the state’s standard code. The inspectors mark buildings with zoning violations, unpermitted upgrades, unpermitted landscaping, septic system violations, and zoning violations.
Property owners may become motivated to sell if they become overwhelmed with several liens resulting from their inability to meet the state’s code. They are also likely to trade below the property’s market value.
You can quickly get a list of sellers motivated to sell by keeping in touch with your city inspectors.
Contact Local Attorneys
Local attorneys are in constant contact with clients who are eager to sell their homes or income properties for reasons such as bankruptcy, divorce, or probate. You can contact local attorneys via direct mail or email.
Another option is to meet them physically at business events and gatherings. Before wandering too far on finding motivated seller leads, try meeting with the right local attorneys. The right attorneys practice estate law/probates, real estate law, bankruptcy law, and family law.
Visit FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Sites
“For Sale By Owner” sites are an excellent platform to see motivated seller leads for free. Some of these sites include Trulia and Lopnet. Search for properties that have been on the FSBO sites for a long time because this might be a sign that the seller is motivated enough to sell at a low price.
You can also constrict your search by location, price, property type, and property seller (whether it’s the owner or a realtor).
FSBO sites list properties like condos, multi-family homes, single-family homes, and apartments. If you’ve saved up enough money, visit sites like Houzeo, Fizber, FSBO.com, and Foresalebyowner.com to get motivated sales. Here’s a list of FSBOs that you can find home seller leads on:
When using platforms like Craigslist, consistency is critical. Even if you’re initially unsure of how to use the site, you’ll get better if you are consistent on it. Investors also need to regularly check the properties section for the latest deals or deals nearing their expiry dates or have expired.
Also, remember to set your notifications to send you listing updates as soon as they come. You can post ads on Craigslist, letting your motivated buyers know you buy for cash. Ensure you include your contact information on the ad so that motivated sellers can contact you.
Another way you can use Craigslist as an investor is to look for property owner’s posts. When checking through property listings on Craigslist, one of the things you must confirm is the property owner and who can sell it. The person who posted the ad may not be the only one linked to the property, especially if it’s an inherited property.
Craigslist is not only for investors and individual homeowners. You will also find real estate wholesalers on the platform. Therefore, it may be daunting to know if the person who posted the ad is a wholesaler or a motivated seller. You’ll need to do more than just reading the description on the post. You’ll find out more about the property if you contact the original poster.
Another tip when using Craigslist is to look for properties that owners have listed for rent. Since the real estate property might be unoccupied, you can motivate the owner to sell to avoid the headaches of turnovers.
Zillow is another online real estate marketplace with a massive database of properties for sale. You can filter your options by location. The platform also has a filter option to help investors spot distressed homeowners.
Pay attention to the pictures of the properties and look out for those that look abandoned or unkempt, as those may be signs of a distressed property. Although images of untidy homes do not necessarily mean that the homeowners are motivated to sell, it is safe to assume it is.
You can also look for houses or properties that have been on the list for an extended period or have been relisted. To find such properties, go to the search bar labeled “More,” navigate to the bottom and click on “Days on Zillow,” then click on “36 Months.”
After updating the search filter, go to the second page (the first page usually contains the most recent properties), where you’ll find properties that have been on the platform for a long time. You’ll discover how long a property has been on Zillow on the top left corner of each property. The length of time that the property has been on Zillow can help you determine if the poster is a motivated seller or not.
Such instances may mean that the seller is in a hurry to sell, and the transaction will be quick and smooth so long as the investor is ready to take the house off them. You should also pay attention to properties whose owners have recently dropped the price. A price drop may mean that the seller is more motivated to sell now than before.
One of the least explored sources of motivated seller leads is Facebook. You can find motivated sellers on Facebook like you would other platforms, only on a more intimate level. Facebook does not have the option to filter like Craigslist and Zillow, but investors can still access several homeowners.
A real estate investor can find motivated sellers on Facebook by using any of the methods below:
Facebook recently started its marketplace, which serves as a charge-free listing service for all Facebook account holders to use. While the platform is not as sophisticated as other FSBOs, many property owners list their properties there since it’s free. Over time, the platform will likely develop into a listing platform for property owners.
Unlike the Facebook marketplace, running a Facebook ad might be expensive. However, if you or your real estate firm has a marketing budget, you can learn about Facebook ads, how to use them, and how to attract potential motivated seller leads.
Facebook ads are an excellent strategy for investors to automate their search queries and focus on potential sellers. However, it can be challenging for newbies to use and requires consistency to master its use.
Facebook advertising is a highly effective strategy, particularly since you can specify and direct your adverts to specific demography. You’ll only need to study the demography you choose and create ads that can convince them to sell to you.
Facebook ads work the same way a business card does. You’ll need to make the ad as aesthetically pleasing as possible and include your contact information on it.
Facebook Real Estate Groups
There are several real estate groups on Facebook where you can find motivated sellers. You can post in as many groups as possible, stating your intentions as a real estate investor that buys houses and other real estate assets for cash. Fortunately, joining a Facebook real estate group is free.
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool for real estate agents as it helps you establish and develop an online presence in an easy and social way. The first thing you can do is to connect with nearby agents and colleagues in the real estate agents as this helps you connect with past and present clients of other agents in the area (LinkedIn algorithm shows mutual connections).
You can also join LinkedIn groups in your area, share actionable advice, and best practices with the members to build a reputation. These groups can be full of potential clients especially the ones dedicated to For Sale by Owner (FSBO) listings.
But before you do any of this, make sure you have a professional-looking LinkedIn profile that can attract leads.
Direct Mail Marketing
Technology may has witnessed a series of advancements in recent years, and there are powerful new tools for real estate agents to help them close leads. Despite these advances, direct mail marketing remains an efficient strategy for finding motivated sellers.
The technique involves searching for potential motivated sellers on public records and drafting a list from it. When looking through public records, here are some signs to note:
- The property owner is getting old
- Pre-closure or foreclosure
- Out-of-state property owners
- Death of a co-tenant
- Absentee owner
- Property has stayed too long on the market
After compiling the list and getting the contacts of the potential motivated sellers, draft and send them letters or emails asking about their willingness to sell the property; if they don’t respond after a few days or weeks, don’t get discouraged. Follow them up instead.
How to Negotiate with Motivated Sellers
Finding motivated sellers can be challenging but motivating them to sell can even be more difficult, especially if they’re not under financial duress. However, if you can spot their motivation quickly enough, motivating them should be more accessible.
Here are some tips to consider when negotiating with real estate motivated sellers:
Identify Their Source of Motivation: The first thing to consider when negotiating with a motivated seller is identifying their source of motivation to sell. The circumstances surrounding the seller’s motivation may assist you in the negotiation phase. The seller’s agent may help you understand the seller’s motivation better.
Offer a Low Price: It is worthy of note that the more desperate motivated sellers get, the more willingly they’ll accept a lower offer from an investor. If they don’t take the offer, they might present a counter offer which can form the basis of your negotiation.
Wait for a Reduction in Price: When properties stay for more than 30 days on listing websites, their owners often lessen the price. An investor that’s not willing to pay the property’s total listing price may wait for a while till the price drops.
Identify Other Vital Factors: a motivated seller’s willingness to let go of a property depends on several factors. For some, they’ve developed a great deal of emotional attachment to the property, while some might be skeptical about the prospective new owner or investor’s intention for the property.
An investor must identify the reason for hesitations (if any) and offer to eliminate their concerns by building trust.
Ask the Right Questions: To fully comprehend a seller’s motivation, you need to ask the right questions to make the negotiation smooth and quick. Ask the sellers questions like:
- Why do you want to sell?
- What’s your deadline for selling the property
- How much tax deficits do you owe?
- When did you buy or acquire the home?
- How much are you looking to sell the property if I intend to make an offer immediately?
- Would your price make any difference if I paid for the building in cash?
The seller’s response to these questions would help you form your negotiation basis understand their true motivation better, and you can determine their goals for the property.
Pay Attention While Negotiating: During the negotiation phase, do not be too much in a hurry to make an offer. You’ll need to listen to the sellers carefully and address them respectfully. That way, you can gain their trust and build a productive relationship with them.
If you disrespect them, they may also decide to give you a hard time before selling the property to you, especially those not motivated by financial duress.
Also, try not to be selfish when making them an offer. You might step in the seller’s shoes for a moment and ask yourself how much you’ll be willing to sell the property if it were yours. If you’ve found that their motivation is financial distress, it’s best to offer them a cash deal.
Benefits of Choosing Motivated Seller Leads Over Non-motivated Sellers
There are several benefits attached to finding motivated seller leads. Here are a few of them:
- Inexpensive: Investors spend little or no money when looking for motivated sellers, yet they can get a good deal that other property buyers cannot access.
- Low Competition: Motivated sellers are often in a hurry to sell their properties and usually don’t have the money or time to hire an estate agent who might push them to list the house. Therefore, investors don’t have to face any competition that listing would have generated.
- The Deal Closes Faster: A motivated homeowner will be more willing to get rid of the property within a few days if the investor offers them cash. Also, the transaction usually doesn’t involve property inspection or appraisal before the investor can make an irresistible proposition to the motivated seller. Hence, the trade usually takes less than 30 days.
- The Seller Is Getting Rid of a Problem: A motivated seller will feel relieved that you’re getting rid of a problem for them. Note that they are open to listening to lowball offers that you’ll benefit from as an investor. Consequently, the motivated seller has found a well-timed solution to their problems, and the investor has found a sweet deal.
Investors should always focus on finding motivated real estate seller leads when buying real estate assets. There’s a greater chance of striking an agreement that will favor both the seller and the real estate investor than if the deal involves a non-motivated seller.
Motivated sellers are easier to attract and convince than non-motivated sellers since they already have an urgent need to sell their property. As an investor, you only need to learn some strategies that’ll help you understand the source of their motivation and present them with an irresistible offer.
There are several ways and places to find motivated home sellers. Several property owners are looking for investors, real estate agents, or cash buyers to buy their property from them.
As a property or home investor, you should focus more on the numerous beneficial offers available in the real estate market and not miss critical opportunities that can set you on the path of a successful investment. To stand an even greater chance of finding motivated seller leads when combining two or more strategies above.
Being a real estate agent can be hectic and requires a lot of energy – energy that shouldn’t be spent chasing leads. Therefore, the ideal strategy for any modern real estate agent is getting access to hundreds of high-quality motivated home seller leads through smart software like Agent’s Corner.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can use technology to find motivated home seller leads, feel free to reach out to us email@example.com
- Investors will have a greater chance of making attractive profits from the real estate industry if they actively seek and identify motivated seller leads.
- Financial distress is among the most common motivation for sellers, but several other factors can motivate people to sell their property. However, distressed seller leads may still be the best leads for investors.
- Dedicated investors will find motivated seller leads faster if they know the right neighborhood, people, and websites to look at.
- Not all motivated seller leads will willingly give up their property to investors, especially if they’ve developed a strong attachment to the property over the years. Sometimes, investors may need to help the homeowners see the need to sell their property if they’re reluctant to let go.