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As we move into the slower season in real estate, some agents struggle to find sellers ready to list. If you’re not able to find customers to work with, it can be difficult to make it through the season. While this may seem like a challenge, there are a number of ways to find sellers who are motivated to get their house on the market and sold as quickly as possible.

What is a motivated seller?
Before you can begin working with motivated sellers, you have to learn to identify them. You’ve likely come across sellers who you initially think will be a breeze to work with, but their sale slowly evolves into a long, tedious process. Motivated sellers are those clients who are more willing to either accept a competitive offer or sell with very flexible terms. Often, these sellers may be in urgent need of cash or simply looking to get rid of the property as quickly as possible. Here are three types of motivated sellers to seek out.

  1. Absentee owners or abandoned properties

There are a few ways to find these types of properties. If you’re looking for abandoned homes, one way to locate them is by just driving through a few neighborhoods. Homes with stacks of take-out flyers and newspapers, overgrown lawns, no cars, minimal window coverings, and a general abandoned feel are highly likely to be unoccupied.

Once you’ve identified an abandoned home, approach a neighbor to see if you can learn why the home is unoccupied or who the owner is. While you may only receive gossip, there will likely be a grain of truth. A quick Google search or a trip to city hall could also provide more information. Once you learn more about the situation, see if you’re able to find the previous tenant who occupied the property before it was abandoned. Give them a quick call (again, Google or city records will be your best chance) and let them know you’re inquiring about the property at 123 Main Street and would like some information about the home before you contact the current owners. More than likely, this will lead to a wealth of information, in which you’ll learn every issue from electrical, to plumbing, to squeaky hinges.

After you’ve obtained these details, you’re ready to contact the actual owner. Let the owner know that you’re aware of the problems in the home, that it’s costing them money in taxes, insurance, or payments. Armed with this information, it’s likely you’ll be able to negotiate with the owner for a quick sale.

  1. Properties near foreclosure

Unfortunately, one of the biggest motivators for a person to sell their property by whatever means necessary, is fear. More often than not, the most fearful sellers are those about to go into foreclosure. This can be for a number of reasons such as loss of employment, divorce, medical bills, etc. What’s important to remember is that these are all very sensitive issues and clients may be ashamed of their situation. Approach them with the simple point that you have an alternative solution to foreclosure.

To find these sellers, go through your local county’s delinquent tax list or a data provider. Once you’ve identified them and created a list, it’s time to talk. In these kinds of situations, the most important thing you can do is build a foundation of trust. These sellers are truly distressed and often desperate for a way out. Talk to them to find out what they are hoping to gain from the deal. Once you determine this, try to meet them in the middle, assuring them know you’ll do what you can to help.

However, if these clients have a huge amount of back taxes due, it may be better to walk away. This is because such a large amount could easily negate your entire profit margin, which would put you in a bad situation. If this is the case, explain it to the sellers, letting them know that, unfortunately, you can’t take the risk.

  1. Homes owned by the recently departed

This isn’t meant to be insensitive or crass, but often families who have just lost a loved one often inherit an additional property and the headaches and obligations that come with it. Always keeping in mind that this is a delicate time for the deceased’s loved ones, but also consider: this can also be a great selling opportunity. As with homes near foreclosure, approach these new owners with the fact that they have an issue and you’re able to solve it with as little stress as possible.

While it’s not a good idea to call grieving family members straight from their relative’s obituary and ask if you can list the property, you can send a postcard that says, “If you need to sell your home and time is of the essence, call Sue Williams Realty for the best offer available.” This is a more passive approach that lets potential clients keep you in mind after they’ve wrapped up their other necessary arrangements. By using this method, you’ll be seen as someone with excellent timing who was there in the family’s time of need, not a creep taking advantage of a solemn situation.

Another way to get in front of motivated sellers is to make sure they can find you if they’re searching for an agent. Homes.com’s Local Connect not only displays your contact information on listings for sale in your chosen zip codes, it also displays your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements to sellers researching their home’s value on Homes.com! Call 888-651-8956 to learn more about pricing and availability in your market.

For more information, visit http://connect.homes.com.

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