You already know that time is your most valuable asset. Especially, if you’re like 99% of investors who start off investing part-time before eventually going full time. That’s why one of the most important skills that any investor can develop is how to properly screen sellers and identify who is motivated versus who is a tire kicker.
Plus, not only is your time valuable, but with gas at around $4 gallon, you’d waste a ton of money driving to see every seller who gave you a call. So how exactly do you determine when it’s the right time to go meet with a seller face to face?
Well… it’s a lot easier than you think. I like to refer to it as the “pain in the butt” factor. You see, every investor has a set of questions which they should ask a potential seller. These questions help you evaluate the property so that you can create an appropriate offer for the seller.
For example, the question sheet I use has 21 questions. I get the seller’s address, the reason they want to sell, the number of bedrooms and baths, any repairs that are needed, how much they want for the house, the mortgage balance and a few others.
I’ve heard of investors who have seller evaluation forms with 80 questions and more, but quite frankly, I think that’s overkill. You don’t want to stay on the phone forever, and to be able to properly evaluate the deal, you only need a few key details anyway.
So why do I refer to this as the “pain in the butt factor?”
Because, when you get a call from a “real” motivated seller they are more than willing to tell you anything you need to know about the property. They’re so desperate they’ll answer your every question and then ask you if you need anything else so you can quickly evaluate their property.
On the other hand, an unmotivated seller will refuse to answer all of your questions. They’ll tell you that the mortgage balance on their house is none of your business, or that they don’t feel like giving you the address to the property.
When you come across this type of seller, here’s what you want to do:
You simply tell them that it’s company policy for you to get all this information so that you can properly evaluate their property and give them the best solution possible. And that if they won’t answer all of the questions then you won’t be able to assist them.
That last sentence I just typed is the “golden phrase” which immediately separates the motivated person from the tire kicker. When you tell them you won’t be able to help them unless they answer your questions, a motivated person will quickly tell you everything you ask.
And best of all, if a person continues to refuse to answer your question then you know to get off the phone and not waste any more time on them. And once you get those 21 questions answered (or however many you ask) and you find out the property meets your buying criteria, and the numbers work, then you can set up a visit face to face.