If you live in the United States you already have an opinion with regards to the advantages of understanding and communicating in Spanish within your local real estate investing marketplace.
Some fairly obvious advantages of being able to speak Spanish versus not speaking Spanish are:
- The ease of speaking with any Spanish seller or buyer.
- Access to more leads and more sellers/buyers/bird-dogs.
- Trust-building through a shared language and rapport building.
However if you speak no Spanish, fear not. If you are unable to speak Spanish there are still methods and procedures to consider for approaching, helping, and closing deals with Spanish-speaking sellers regularly. Below are five options to consider implementing in your real estate investing business if you have a significant Latin America or Hispanic population in your area.
Disclaimer: This article is designed to help non-Spanish-speaking investors. If you already speak Spanish then pat yourself on the back and smile knowing you have a bit of an advantage over many mobile home investors/Realtors in your area. With that said, stay active as there are other investors learning Spanish and aiming to help local Spanish-speaking sellers and buyers too. Please comment below if you find that anything is missing from this article below.
1. Utilize the help of the seller’s friends, neighbors, or kids:
Some sellers may have bilingual neighbors, family member, or friends that are in the local area at the moment you call to inquire about the mobile home for sale or at the time the sellers/buyers call you. This bilingual friend or family member may be a fortuitous find to help translate between you and the sellers/buyers. To continue forward this family member or friend should be available at the time of your first appointment or walk-through.
Pro Tip: This is the only approach that is “passive”. By only utilizing the help of local bilingual friends/family members that are available at the time you call may seriously limit the possibility of making a deal happen. This lack of a translator also may show a seller you are not serious about purchasing their property.
2. Outsource a translator by the hour/minute: (Answering service)
This method may be wise to use proactively. If you are not marketing to Spanish-speaking sellers you are missing out on a demographic many investors simply cannot reach.
Pro Tip: Consider experimenting with both English and Spanish advertising and marketing. Letters to sellers may have an English and Spanish side. Newspaper advertisements can be attracting both English and Spanish-speaking callers regularly.
- Step 1: Hire a bilingual answering service and provide them with all the questions to ask both buyers and sellers who call.
- Step 2: Begin advertising with your bilingual marketing. Direct anyone interested to call your bilingual answering service. The answering service will likely email you daily with a report of the calls and answers/questions generated.
- Step 3: Hire a Spanish translator or work with the local bilingual friend.
- Step 4: Call the Spanish-speaking sellers/buyers with your translator. Set an appointment if appropriate. The translator must be available for appointments to see the home, follow-up appointments, and additional phone calls with the seller/buyers if needed.
- Step 5: If utilizing the help of a title company or closing attorney, there will almost always be a Spanish-speaking translator available. Use the help of this translator to close the deal the rest of the way.
3. Partner with Spanish-speaking investor, Realtor, or friend:
Do you already know a Spanish-speaking investor, Realtor, or friend? Do you go to real estate investor club meetings where you may befriend a Spanish-speaking investor? Depending on the business-proposition you are presenting to this Spanish-speaking investor/friend, they may be wildly interested to help you or not very impressed. Things to consider are:
- Do you wish to partner with this investor or simply pay him/her a flat fee?
- Should you have a few different Spanish-speaking contacts in case one is unavailable?
- How much activity does this person wish to have in the deal? What skills, attributes or capital does he/she have to bring to the table?
- If this Spanish-speaking person is a Realtor perhaps you could use them when you resell the home.
- Is this investor more seasoned than you? If yes, he/she can teach you a few things if you bring him/her a deal to partner. If no, you will have to train this person step-by-step.
Pro Tip: If you have Spanish written marketing mail pieces targeting Hispanic real estate sellers than forwarding them to your bilingual answering service as described above in bullet #2 may be ideal. However this tip, bullet #3 may be best when receiving stray and random incoming calls from Spanish-speaking individuals.
- Step 1: Find a Spanish-speaking person to work with.
- Step 2: Decide on a fair compensation.
- Step 3: Ask your Spanish-speaking business associate to teach you how to say, “Hello. My Spanish-speaking partner ___________ will call you back as soon as possible. Thank you, goodbye” in Spanish. (See video for help)
- Step 4: Continue business as usual. When you receive any Spanish speaking incoming calls repeat the line above in Spanish.
- Step 5: Hang up the phone and inform your business associate to call back the Spanish-speaking callers.
Now is your time to learn a foreign language. You have been promising yourself for years to learn Spanish.
Pro Tip: Following one of the above strategies is preferable for immediate action. However even practicing your Spanish through basic conversations (while you are learning) with sellers will help build rapport and trust. This last sentence was advice provided to me by a very active and Hispanic investor.
5. Do nothing/Wait for technology:
Two technologies you may have heard of are 1.) Google Translate App and 2.) The Pilot by WaverlyLabs. These devices allow for conversations to be translated between languages in real-time. While the reviews are mixed, these two “real-time translators” are getting better with time. Once this technology is more available and more accurate it may decrease the advantage Spanish-speaking investors have over non-Spanish-speaking investors.
In conclusion, with regards to real estate investing we often have to play the hands we are given. You are currently investing in a certain area of the country, with certain skills, certain free times during the week, and a certain amount of capital to invest with. With that said do your best to try to help 100% of the motivated sellers in your local area. Some of these sellers and buyers around you at this moment will speak English, and others will speak a foreign language. All sellers need some help, and all sellers are human beings. Continue reaching out daily to grow your cash-flow business and help others locally.