18 Crucial Questions to Ask a Motivated Seller (Questionnaire for Wholesalers and Investors)

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1. Am I speaking with the decision-maker?

Always start the conversation by asking if you are speaking with the person or all the people who can make the selling decisions about the property.

If you invest time in building rapport and going through your motivated seller questionnaire with a third party, you will have to repeat the process with the decision-maker later.

The decision-maker is usually the property owner, but in some cases, it could be a personal or business representative.

If there is more than one decision-maker, you will need to have all parties present before you begin a serious conversation about the property.

Failing to ask this question is an annoying pitfall. Those who are reading this article to learn about various aspects of how to begin flipping houses may consider it as a life hack.


2. How soon do you need to sell?

Asking how soon they need to sell the property is one of the most important questions in your motivated seller script for phone calling. The question determines whether there is urgency.

As a rule, the faster the seller needs to sell, the more flexible they will be about the price and terms.

Try to ascertain whether the seller actually needs to sell or just wants to sell. Sellers don’t always distinguish between “want” and “need”, and there is a big difference.

“Need” is more urgent than “want”. Sellers who just want to sell by a certain date will lack the urgency you need to get the best price.


3. Why are you selling your home?

You will need to know why the homeowner is selling their home for a few reasons.

First, it will help you determine whether the selling motivation is one of want or need.

For example, a homeowner who is relocating for a job transfer needs to sell. Homeowners who have experienced a sudden loss of income or are in pre-foreclosure need to sell.

Homeowners looking for a bigger house for a growing family, or who wish to move to a different neighborhood, just want to sell.

These sellers lack the necessary urgency to sell for a low price or with creative terms. They may say they need to sell quickly, but they will usually be willing to hold out for market price.

People who need to sell quickly are hoping to solve a problem. They are responding to a crisis or hoping to avoid an impending crisis. They will make a sacrifice to make it happen.

You have an opportunity to offer a solution, but you need to understand the problem first.

Knowing what the homeowner needs and why will help you create a win-win solution and make your offer more appealing.

This is one of the most important questions. If you use live answering services for real estate investors, don’t forget to include this question in the instructions for the operators.


4. What arrangements would help you in your situation?

The homeowner may need things like moving services or to have closing costs paid for them because they don’t have cash to bring to closing.

They may need help in negotiations with the lender if their house is underwater or behind on mortgage.

Any arrangements you can offer to help the seller will be appreciated. Such thoughtfulness will help you build trust between the seller and you.

Trust will increase the chance of them accepting your offer.


5. Basic property features and condition-related questions

You will want to ask about the home’s basic details to get an idea of the property’s market value.

Ask about its size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, features, and condition.


6. How much do you owe on the house?

You will need to know the total debt attached to the property, including mortgages, liens, or past due taxes.

This will help you determine the minimum price the seller will need while also providing insights into potential title issues.

Sellers with liens on their properties are usually very motivated. Learn where to find tax lien properties and how to find distressed home sellers from our articles on these specific topics.


7. Are the house payments past due?

Knowing the status of the mortgage will further help you determine the homeowner’s urgency as well as the funds needed to complete the deal.

This can be a sensitive issue for homeowners, and they may be reticent about answering your questions. Especially if you are asking this question when cold calling, don’t include it at the beginning of your wholesale real estate cold call script.

Try to approach this with empathy and understanding, and if the conversation starts to feel tense, you can always come back to this after you have built more rapport.

The information you specifically need, if the mortgage is delinquent, is how far behind and whether the bank has initiated a foreclosure action.

Learning about why the payments are past due (if the owner is comfortable with sharing this information) will also help you in assessing the seller’s situation and the degree of its urgency.

Listen with understanding and respond with kindness. Redirect the conversation to a more neutral question when you can.


8. What amount are you hoping to receive for the house?

This question is important because it helps gauge the seller’s motivation. If they name a low price, you already know you have a deal.

Many off-market sellers are unfamiliar with the market and consequently don’t know what a realistic asking price is. They often overvalue their homes.

Whatever price they tell you, be aware they most likely did not tell you the lowest amount they will take. You will need to continue probing to get that information.


9. How did you come up with your asking price?

This will provide valuable information about the property and the homeowners. They may base their number on the property condition or price at which a neighbor’s house was sold.

They may say they looked up their home’s value on a site like Zillow, which often overvalues properties. Some may have spoken with a local realtor or worked with one in the past.

The homeowner’s emotional attachment to the home may become apparent in this discussion. Strong emotional attachments to the house can decrease seller flexibility, even when they need to sell.

When making them an offer, knowing their reasoning will help you prove that their price doesn’t match the market value.

It will help you prove that your offer is based on the home’s true market value (minus your profit — don’t neglect disclosing this honestly).


10. Why do you think your home hasn’t sold yet?

This question only applies if the house has been on the market for 90 days or more. It is a valuable question that can give you more insight into the home and the homeowners.

The question also helps sellers face reality when their emotional attachment has prevented them from selling.

Some sellers will blame the market or say the right buyer hasn’t seen the home yet. If you let them keep talking, they will eventually tell you the real reasons.

They may say the house needs repairs or updates. They may admit they have been unavailable to show it or they haven’t advertised enough.

If they have ever listed it with a realtor, they will almost certainly blame the agent.


11. What is the lowest price you will accept?

Never assume the asking price the seller named previously was the minimum amount they will accept. Even if they told you they need a certain amount, when you put the question this way, they often come down.

Some sellers are reluctant to give you this number, but many will without hesitation. Asking this question shows the sellers you are serious.

Keep in mind that their answer to this question is not set in stone. The question is just part of the negotiation process.

In the face of a bona fide offer, sellers will often take less than they thought they would. The passage of time also has a way of making sellers more flexible, especially in urgent situations.


12. What will you do if your home doesn’t sell on time?

Many sellers have not thought this through, and they may struggle to answer the question. Some might say, “Oh, we have to,” while others might say they will just rent it out.

Most homeowners have never been landlords, so they do not know what is involved. You could use a series of questions to show them why being a landlord may ultimately cost them more.

Make sure you don’t sound like arguing and convincing them they can’t do it. Agree to what they say, but provide details that will make them understand it’s not as easy as they think.

This question makes homeowners think about the scenario in which the house does not sell. This can stir up unpleasant emotions and increase their urgency if they really need to sell.


13. If I make a cash offer of $_ today, and I can close in two weeks, will you accept?

This question helps you gauge how flexible the seller really is. This often motivates them to counter with a price that is lower than the lowest amount they previously said they would accept.

Don’t be discouraged if you get a “no”. “No” may mean “not yet, I need to think about it”, or “I need more time to try to sell at a higher price”. Ask what they would need to make it work now.

If they say yes, sign the deal. Make sure your contract has plenty of contingencies to allow you to perform adequate investment real estate due diligence.


14. I think I can help you, but I would need to have a contract by [date]. Can you commit to that?

This question is a psychological trick to increase urgency. You are offering a solution they need, but threatening to take it away if they don’t commit right now.

Remind them of how long they’ve been trying to sell and the severity of their problem. Point out that their answer is in front of them now, and they may never get another offer from you.

If they are truly motivated and your offer is reasonable, this one question will dramatically increase your chance of getting a deal.

If they say no but come to regret it after the deadline, they may contact you. At that point, they may be willing to let the property go for even less than your initial offer.

Your goal should always be to create a win-win situation. If they do change their minds after the deadline, consider offering the same price in good faith if it is still profitable to do so.


15. What time can I come to look at the house?

Motivated sellers often tell you what you want to hear in hopes of a quick sale. This is one reason why it is important to meet in person at the home as early in the process as possible.

It is usually easier to build rapport in person. Ask this question fairly early on in the conversation and save most of your questions for this appointment.

Make sure you set the appointment for a time when all decision-makers will be present.


16. What is the home’s address?

You will need this information as early as possible so you can start doing your homework about the property.

It is also helpful to drive by ahead of your appointment if you have not been to the property or you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood.


17. What is your name, phone number, and email address?

You need to add the contact information to your real estate investor dialing phone system for follow-up. It is best to build at least a little rapport before you ask for this information.

It is unlikely you will score a deal the first time you talk, but if you keep in touch over time, your name will be top-of-mind when the sellers are ready.

You can use online software like Mailchimp to set up automated email campaigns to send helpful information on a regular basis. Be sure to get their consent upfront.

You may also want to email the contract, even if the sellers rejected your offer. Sometimes seeing it in black and white is more persuasive.

Plan to call about once a month. Regular follow-up takes a fairly small amount of effort, and many real estate investors and property wholesalers do not practice this. This will put you ahead of the others.

Over time, you will find the majority of your deals happen because of consistent follow-up.


18. Where did you hear about us?

If you ask every motivated seller who contacts you this question, you will quickly gain insight into the efficacy of your marketing efforts.

This will help you allocate your marketing budget to the most effective marketing methods and stop spending money on strategies that do not get results.


Where to Get High Quality and Affordable Motivated Seller Leads?

HouseCashin Investment Property Marketplace

Find motivated sellers who urgently need to sell their properties by using HouseCashin off market investment property marketplace.

This is a platform that connects motivated sellers looking to sell their property fast and reputable investors searching for lucrative investment opportunities.

The platform’s marketplace features many “for sale by owner” listings by motivated sellers. Wholesalers also use it to market their properties under contract to investors.


Real Estate Bees Motivated Seller Leads

The Real Estate Bees platform offers another stable and affordable source of motivated seller leads.

Real Estate Bees’ network consists of multiple web platforms that bring in highly converting motivated seller leads for wholesalers and investors.

The leads are generated by using valuable web content for motivated sellers taking them through landing pages and opt-in funnels thoroughly developed and fine-tuned for conversion.

Not only do they collect homeowners’ and properties’ basic information, but also ask for additional data helping you get an idea of how qualified the leads are.

You can choose the criteria of leads you want to receive and be notified as soon as they appear in our system. Learn about our packages here.


Additional Resources

You may want to add some of these questions to your real estate chatbot. Additionally, in our blog, we have other articles on this subject matter:


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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