Real Estate — Finding Motivated Sellers


Are you looking for that perfect real estate deal with very little money down? Interestingly enough, one of the best sources of great real estate deals has nothing to do with the real estate itself. Yes, you can find homes in a rundown, terrible neighborhood selling for way under value, but that’s not what you are looking for. You are looking for good houses at a good price with as little down payment as possible.

The way to reach this goal is to find motivated sellers. They are the ones who are willing to sell their house at a great price. What makes people motivated to sell? The two largest situations are divorce or a death in the family. Both of these situations present the current owner with a problem. What should they do with the house? Usually, they need to sell the house quickly and get on with her life.


This sudden change in their life gives you the chance to be a problem solver. How you ask? By buying their real estate and letting them move on.


Unfortunately, most of the time these motivated sellers are not in plain view. We need to search for places that will give us these potential sellers. Fortunately, this information can be found either in the newspaper or at the local County recorder’s office or court house depending on where you live. My county has a website with much of the information I need. Check to see if your county has a website.


Here are some things to check when you visit the courthouse either in person or via the web.


1) When you check the owner of the property, see if they lived out of state. Many times out-of-state owners want to unload their real estate. These people are often a good lead as a potential motivated seller.


2) Here is another out-of-state possibility. Check the probate court cases coming up and see if the beneficiaries live out of state. In a probate court case, there will be an executor who will be assigned the case. This person is often a relative or possibly an attorney. Your job would be to simply contact the executor to see if you can find the price range the beneficiaries are asking. Since these beneficiaries live out of state, they would often be likely to sell at a nice price. After all, what do they want with real estate that is hundreds or possible thousands of miles away?


3) Check to see who was behind or delinquent in their property taxes. Every state handles their delinquent property tax situation differently, so you will probably have to check with an attorney to see how your state handles this situation.


4) Any notice of default offers a good opportunity. This is a notice that the bank sends out to the borrower notifying them that they are delinquent on the mortgage payment. This information is public record. Therefore, the county courthouse would have this information. Notify the borrower to see if you can help.


5) Any notice of divorce offers one of the best opportunities. Like the notice of default, this information is also on public record. There is often a hearing before the actual divorce. The formal date where a divorce will be finalized happens during this hearing. Talk about motivated sellers! Depending on how badly the people dislike each other, this is fertile ground for a good deal.


In addition to the courthouse, the newspapers are a wonderfully good source for good real estate deals. Look for the Rental House section. Sometimes the people who rent these houses would sell if they got an offer. If the rental house is reasonably close to you, drive by and notice the exterior of the property. If the property looks unkempt and could use a good cleaning, you may have a good candidate. A house that needs cosmetic repairs often means that the owner is not interested. He is looking to get out of his real estate investment.


For sale by owner is also a good place to look for real estate motivated sellers. These sellers are often looking for a good deal as they do not want to pay a realtor his commission. Listen carefully to what they say when you talk to them as they often give clues as to why they are selling.


In every situation, you need to listen carefully to the sellers. They often leave clues as to how motivated they are by what they say. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if they do not volunteer much information.


You must keep in mind that this is a numbers game. Talk to enough people, ask enough questions, and do enough research, and you are bound to find a motivated seller and get a great deal on a nice piece of real estate.