Ten Best Practices to Find Motivated Sellers Now

Real estate is constantly in motion, a seemingly unpredictable ebb and flow of trends, risks, priorities, and values. Because of this, it is important to stay on top of the latest data and find new and effective ways to keep their lead lists full.

In the midst of real estate’s ever-changing trends, there are some simple, yet solid ways to stay ahead of the competition, gain leads and specifically find motivated sellers. What is a motivated seller and how does finding one (or many) benefit your business? 

Motivated sellers are customers who are ready to do business, get their property sold, and even expedite the process. They represent potential business deals, real estate listings, and investment opportunities that are both accessible and timely. Finding eager sellers is a great way to increase, expand, or scale your business. 

Interested in adding some motivated leads to your list? 

We’ve compiled the ten best practices for real estate agents, investors, and brokers alike to locate and target the most motivated sellers on the market.

Defining the Motivated Seller

Most clients who are ready to list their property for sale are motivated to sell, but what makes a truly motivated seller stand out from the rest of the crowd? 

There are several key elements that help determine if you are dealing with a motivated seller. 

  • Timeline: the seller wishes to move quickly and is more focused on the timeline than other elements of the sale. 
  • Price: the seller is willing to list at or below market value in order to move the property. 
  • Terms: the seller is willing to be flexible and agreeable with the buyer, offering favorable sale terms. 

Identifying motivated sellers can be challenging, particularly if a seller says they are motivated when they are really just trying to drive competition and negotiations on their property. Using these key identifiers, however, can help you separate the motivated seller from other leads and potential investment opportunities. 

Why are some sellers more motivated than others? 

Now that you know what indicates a motivated seller, it also helps to understand why they are motivated.  

Every potential client has his or her reasons for selling, and the same is true of the more motivated contingent. There are some specific life circumstances, however, that make sellers willing to be more flexible on timeline, price, and terms. 

  • Finances: there are a number of financial situations that motivate sellers, including the threat of foreclosure or the possibility of having two mortgages if the seller has already begun purchasing a new property. On the other hand, those who own their homes outright could be motivated by finances if it is a seller’s market and they are looking to gain on their investment. 
  • Property Imperfections: Sometimes flaws in the property or building structure can motivate a seller to offer a lower price and better terms. If the home or land has issues outside of the owner’s means, he may be very motivated to sell, and quickly. 
  • Life situations: New jobs, relocation, family emergencies, separation. There are many things that can impact a seller’s need to sell quickly, quietly, and without the stress of negotiations and pushback.
  • Inheritance: Those who inherit homes and property may be more motivated to sell. If the estate has any unpaid debts, cash bequests, or is simply beyond the heir’s capacity to manage, she may be eager to sell quickly in order to finish probate and close the estate.
  • Business Changes: Residential property owners aren’t the only motivated sellers in real estate. Business owners who have expanded, merged, or closed their business can also be motivated to sell the property they formerly used as a commercial or industrial space

Motivation to sell a property comes in all different forms. Motivated sellers don’t always fit the mold, either. Sometimes property owners who fall into the above categories are not motivated and are unaware of how they may benefit from a more active approach to selling their home. 

Property owners who don’t fall into any category above, on the other hand, can be eager to part ways with their space and move on their next investment. 

Regardless of an owner’s reasons for selling, understanding what drives owners to sell can help you identify, and ultimately find, the most motivated sellers both on and off the market. 

Motivated sellers and your business

Maintaining a list of leads is an important aspect of running your business. Managing a list of leads who are motivated to sell can absolutely vitalize your business and the way you continue to do business in the future. 

Real estate can often be a waiting game, but with motivated sellers, you have the opportunity to move quickly, make worthwhile investments, broker deals, and stay ahead of the competition. 

Understanding who these motivated sellers are is the first step to building a great lead list and expanding your business.The next step is to find these motivated sellers and turn your leads into new clients using the best practices, tools, and tips available. 

Finding the Most Motivated Sellers

Make a list of targeted categories

In order to focus your energy on motivated sellers, list all of the potential categories of home or property owner that fits the description. Remember the list of reasons a seller might be motivated? Use that to help you decide which motivators might be most prominent in your community or region. 

This may sound like a simplistic first step, but it will save money, time, and energy, in the long run, to understand where your target audience exists. 

  • Foreclosures: Have there been a string of foreclosures in or around the area? Make sure to include this on your list of property owners to target with direct mail, email, or phone calls. 
  • Pre-foreclosures: Sometimes the threat of foreclosure is enough to motivate a homeowner toward selling and getting out from under a stressful situation. 
  • Longtime homeowners: Find out who has been in their home for 15 or more years, as they are more likely to own the home outright and be motivated to sell if the conditions are right. 
  • Natural events: Were there any recent floods, mudslides, or other events that can impact a home or property? These types of events can often motivate owners to get out from under properties that they can’t afford to repair or rebuild. 
  • Commercial Real Estate: If you spend time investing in or brokering CRE, be sure to add this to your list of targeted property types. 
  • Off-market sellers: ProspectNow’s data analytics helps identify properties that are most likely to sell, allowing you to locate motivated sellers before they even know they’re motivated. 

Creating the list of your target audience—and potential clients—shouldn’t take too long, but will help you focus your attention and your resources as on the most motivated sellers in your area. 

Get to know your area 

Now that you have a list of your target categories, take some time to really get to know your area—with your list in the forefront of your mind. 

What does this mean, exactly? Pay attention to the empty lots while you’re driving around town. If any are in an area that is growing or developing, take note of the address so you can track down the property owner. 

If you are going after motivated CRE sellers, pay attention to business signs advertising closures, liquidation sales, or relocations. Not every commercial space is owned by the business that occupies it, however, so locating the property owner is essential to taking advantage of a potential lead. We provide access to 40 million CRE properties, including owner information or contact info for decision-makers for each property. The database also includes information about pre-foreclosures and our analytics scan for likely-to-sell business and residential properties. 

For motivated residential sellers, take some time to observe different neighborhoods, paying attention to distressed properties or vacant houses. While these owners can sometimes be more difficult to track down or approach, once you have an idea where these properties are, it is easier to find the correct data to contact owners who are motivated to sell. 

Network with City and County Inspectors

City and county inspectors are usually the first to know if a property is a prime candidate for investment. Inspectors are continually determining if buildings and properties are up to code or not. They red-tag properties that have issues such as zoning violations, un-permitted expansions or upgrades, un-permitted landscaping, or septic system issues or violations. 

If pursuing investment opportunities is your goal, networking with inspectors is a great way to locate properties that will sell for cash and significantly below market value. These owners, often hindered by a lien or multiple liens, may be very motivated to sell to anyone interested in helping them out of a tough situation. 

Contact Local Attorneys

Attorneys in the area are constantly working with clients who are needing to sell their homes due to divorce, probate, bankruptcy or any number of situations. Some attorneys are receptive to direct mail or correspondence, it also helps to network face-to-face at local business events and gatherings. Attorneys are eager to help their clients manage tough situations and these particular clients are often very motivated to sell their homes. Connecting with the right attorneys could produce some great, motivated leads. 

Focus your attention on lawyers who practice the following types of law:

  • Family law
  • Real Estate law
  • Estate law/Probates
  • Bankruptcy law

Review MLS Expired Listings

Motivated sellers are everywhere, including the MLS. Owners of expired listings are often ready to make some concessions on their price, terms, or timeline, throwing them into the category of motivated sellers. 

There is a multitude of reasons why a listing expires, from poor showings to unfinished projects and an unrealistic list price. Regardless of why a home doesn’t sell, the stress of having to re-list, fix issues, or repaint may cause an owner to consider anything from a lower price to an off-market sale. 

If you don’t have direct access to the MLS, our database provides all the MLS expired listings, as well as contact information for owners. Connecting with these motivated sellers is quick and easy, and can have a significant impact on your now-expanding leads list. 

Browse for Pre-foreclosures

Most Notices of Default are recorded with the County Clerk or County Recorder’s Office. Browsing their websites, or even newspaper notices can help you determine if there are pre-foreclosures in the area that would be worth pursuing. Many owners in pre-foreclosure—especially the most motivated—are more than willing to discuss selling if it will help them avoid going into foreclosure. 

While public notices and newspapers are a great place to start, online databases provide more thorough information, including contact information for the property owner. With a collection of residential and commercial pre-foreclosures data, you are bound to capture some very motivated leads. 

Use a Property and Owner Database

Finding a platform that gives you access to almost every category on your list is probably the fastest way to find and contact motivated sellers. The tools available on ProspectNow, for instance, allow you to search for target properties and sellers based on essential criteria such as pre-foreclosure and expired listings, as well as property type, owner type, and predictive analytics. 

The predictive analytics, in particular, help you filter to your most motivated sellers by finding properties that are most likely to sell or even likely to refinance. This data gives you direct access to some of the most motivated sellers, providing key leads and investment opportunities. 

Take Advantage of Direct Mail Marketing

Marketing is where your initial list comes in very handy. While the world’s digital trends are certainly growing, direct mail marketing still makes a big impact on customers and potential clients. 

Using your list, reach out via direct mail to advertise your services to your key motivated sellers. Whether you focus on clients in pre-foreclosure, longtime homeowners, or estates in probate, direct mail gives you the opportunity to get your information into the right hands. 

Not sure where to go to produce your direct mail content? The property and owner database also provides easy direct mail services. You can choose your target audience and send customized mailers directly from the platform, saving you the time it takes to design, print, stuff, and mail your content.

Get on Social Media

While direct mail marketing still has a higher ROI than paid ads, an increasing number of people are using social media to make purchasing, investing, and selling decisions. Before making a business decision (from finding a new dentist to buying a house) many people will look at a business’ social media profiles to make a determination about the company. 

This is important for real estate agents, brokers, and even investors. Even when you connect with a potential client in person, they will most likely review your social media profiles before deciding to work with you. The same is true of motivated sellers. 

Keeping your profile and activity up to date and engaging will help you feel more comfortable placing ads and drawing more motivated sellers to your page. 

Master Digital Marketing 

Besides social media, digital marketing trends are a great source for building your list of motivated sellers. Using ProspectNow, you can easily use digital marketing to target specific audiences with ads. Combined with the predictive analytics, targeted ads will ensure your information is getting to the most motivated sellers in your area. 

Email marketing is another great way to connect directly with motivated sellers and begin building rapport. While emails can be daunting, improving your email strategy to get higher open rates will lead to even more motivated sellers connecting with you directly. 

Build Your Leads List with ProspectNow

Motivated sellers are everywhere. Understanding what motivates sellers and why allows you to find motivated sellers even in the most unexpected places.

There are also many tools available to help you find and contact your new motivated leads, from researching in public records to networking with local professionals. The most effective tools, however, are the ones that save you time and garner the best results. 

ProspectNow gives you access to over 140 million residential and commercial properties that are in various phases of the real estate process. Among those properties is essential data to help you find and reach out to the most motivated sellers on the market. 

Growing your leads list and keeping up with real estate market trends can go hand in hand. Predictive analytics, digital and direct mail marketing, and direct access to owner contact information are all key tools to help you expand your business, find motivated sellers, and stay competitive in the constantly changing market.