by Peter Conti

How can you determine the real needs of the seller? How can you meet the seller’s needs and maximize your profits at the same time?

Here’s how to get a quick decision from the seller—a decision that works for you and works for the seller.

Most beginning investors walk in to meet with the seller and hand them the completed, written offer and sit back and wait for the seller’s response. The trouble is that most sellers will tell you they need to think it over or that they need to speak with a friend/spouse/relative/etc. before they can agree with it. This puts the average investor in a very weak negotiating position. They are in what I call “chase” mode—chasing after the deal.

You are going to do things differently. Instead of laying your offer at the seller’s feet and hoping they do you the favor of giving you the deal, you are going to qualify the owner before you do them the favor of presenting them with an offer to solve their real and pressing real estate problems. I’m sure that sounds pretty good to you, but you might be wondering just how you are supposed to do that. Here’s how:

What you are going to do is leave your offer in your folder or, better yet, in the car. You are not going to present the actual offer until the seller “qualifies".

To qualify for your offer, you and the seller need to agree on four key areas. The powerful thing is that when you finish with all four areas, the offer is basically fully negotiated. And it is at that point that you can present your pre-written offer or get out a blank form and just fill it out on the spot.

Of course if you and the seller cannot come to agreement in each area, then you simply stand up, thank the seller for his time, and start to walk out. Nine times out of ten the seller will plead with you to stay and present your offer—their curiosity alone will get them to ask you to stay to finish working through the four areas and to present your offer. This is the ultimate tool for putting you in the role of the reluctant buyer. We have found it to be the easiest, most effective way to help the seller feel good about talking us into giving them an offer on the property. And this will help you to smoothly transition the seller to say yes to your offer.

The first area is called the “Up-Front Agreement.” You simply explain to the seller that you are a straight forward type of person and would appreciate either a yes or a no answer from them. In return you will give them your own yes or no decision. The key in this quadrant is to let the seller understand that you will take any “think it over” answer as a NO.

The way that you do this is to tell the seller that you will respect his and your time by giving a yes or no answer and you are asking for the same courtesy in return.

Area two is where you are going to talk about the seller’s needs. Ask the seller what they were hoping you could do for them and then be quiet and listen. As they bring up areas of concern, the very best thing you can do is to draw out those problems in an innocent and gentle way. For example, if a seller’s problem is that he hates being a landlord, you can say something like, “The good thing is that you probably enjoy working with renters and putting the time in to care for your rental property". Because you say this in a caring tone of voice, the seller will most likely pour out his guts about how he hates dealing with renters. This approach is radically different from most investors where they will argue with the seller over all the problems the seller faces. All that does is put the seller on the defensive.

Area three is about money. You are going to go over some specific dollar amounts with the seller before you ever present your written offer. This could be the monthly payments on a lease or owner carry-back and the sale price. This way you know what the seller’s real financial needs are and whether you can meet them while making a profit for yourself.

Area four is the “What If?” step. Rather than give a seller your offer and hope they will say yes, you are going to make sure they will accept your offer before you ever officially give it to them. How can you do this? By using the two magic words in all negotiations -- "What If".

"Mr. Seller, what if I were to cover your payments for two years and then cash you out of the property? Would that work for you?”

“Mr. Seller, what if I were willing to give you $212,000 for the house. Would you be willing to carry back a second?”

These magic two words let you make your offer in a completely hypothetical manner. Then when you finally come up with the winning “what if” scenario, you simply write it up and get them to sign right there and then. By just falling these simple strategies, the seller has said "yes" to your creative offer.




Buyer’s first impression

Remember, don’t rely on the buyer’s imagination. You have to transform what the buyer first sees from something that’s poor or mediocre to something that looks great. When that buyer drives by or walks in, he or she won’t have to imagine what your house could look like. So clean up the yard, power wash the driveway, mow the lawn do the trimming plant some flowers paint the front door maybe add some shutters . This is Curb appeal. If you need to paint the front of your house use a good paint and a separate trim paint. Do an especially good job on the front door. Use a neutral color. If needed paint the inside entry of the home as well as the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Use a neutral color. So far we’ve discussed items that are relatively inexpensive to do and things you can do yourself. Now we come to a big expensive item, yet one that makes an enormous impression on buyers. That’s floor coverings. If you want to get top dollar never mind pointing that the buyer can replace the floor. You want your floors to be clean and new looking. New inexpensive looks a lot better than old.


I really enjoyed reading this. I was laughing about the spilling the guts thing!
I like the ease and the flow and the whole idea of the conversation.
Thanks for this.

Love the WHAT IF!!

Love the what if angle. That is really creative and it does not back the seller into a corner. It gets him/her thinking and starts negotiations perfectly. Thanks for the great info.