Posted by Richard Roop on June 16, 2001 at 12:47:16:
Chris on the other board said he had a list of names and phones numbers of possibly abandoned houses. He asked how to approach these people on the phone. This was my response. I thought it would be useful to post here:
WHAT TO SAY WHEN CALLING OWNERS OF VACANT HOUSES
If you focus on the outcome of the call (i.e. determine seller’s motivation and if can you help) then you’ll sound more relaxed and professional. Also focus on building rapport. Remember? you have solutions to seller’s problems. You have the value.
Imagine being super busy doing something important at home. Imagine the last thing you want is to be interrupted. Then, there is a knock on the door. You’ve had several solicitors come to the door in the past month so you get a little upset but decide to ignore it. Then there is a POUNDING at the door. Dang! You stop what you are doing and rush to the door. You’re going to give this PEST a piece of your mind! At the door you find a stranger. “What do you want!” and the stranger exclaims your roof is on fire. Suddenly, an intrusive pest becomes a welcomed GUEST.
You can become a welcomed guest when you call with solutions to those who have problems. You want to stress how you help? “We buy houses, any price range, any condition. We can close quickly and pay all cash.” You’ll find people who are unmotivated or uninterested and weed those people out quickly. You’re looking for sellers who will be glad you called once they know “what’s in it for them.”
I don’t know which methods you use to buy houses but here is a sample script for:
** buying fixer uppers cheap with all cash offers (flipping contracts or closing with hard money loans) or
** taking nicer houses “subject to” existing debt (land trusts, land contracts, lease/options).
Hi, I noticed your house at ____ street. Do you still own it?
I’m an investor and I’m looking to buy several houses in that neighborhood. Would you consider selling that property if I could give you a fair price?
Is it vacant or do you have a tenant? Would you want to sell it ‘as is’ because I can do any of the work it may need?
What do you think it would appraise for if I had it appraised tomorrow? What kind of work does it need?
Do you own it free and clear, or do you have a mortgage? OK, about how much do you think you owe on that mortgage? What’s the payment every month? How much are you getting in rent from your tenant?
(IF ENCUMBERED) If there was no cost to you, and I could immediately relieve you of that debt, would you consider selling the house for what you owe?
(IF LOTS OF EQUITY) If I paid all the costs… and closed with cash whenever you like… what’s the least you could take for the house? (answer) I’m sorry, what I meant was? what is THE LEAST you could take “as is”, all cash, and closed quickly?what would be your bottom line price?
Based on 1) what they think it is worth, 2) what they owe and 3) what they are asking, you can determine if they’re motivated and flexible. Then you decide if it’s worth continuing on with gathering more info, building trust, and working out the details to buy the property.
You can modify the above approach for any type of seller (pre-foreclosures, expired listings, landlords, FSBO ads, FSBO signs, etc.) You can even “talk” to the owner in a personalized form letter you mail them, encouraging them to call you.
Also check out Jim Piper’s excellent article, How To Handle Telephone Calls:
- Richard Roop