November 25, 2020
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How Investors Can Add Value For Any Seller

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Real estate investor and business coach @ themelissajohnson.com.

Raising a few important points

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As real estate investors, we spend a lot of money and time marketing to get deals. But what happens when we finally get that appointment with a motivated seller? How will you differentiate yourself from every other investor in town? Providing added value can make the difference between walking away with a contract or walking away empty-handed. Once you uncover someone’s real motivation for selling, you can identify opportunities to assist them.

One of the major value adds I like to provide to sellers in an inheritance situation is to offer to have them remove whatever possessions they want from the home, and our firm will deal with getting rid of the rest. Inheriting a home is often a very emotional and sentimental burden. It can be a big relief to sellers to not have to deal with discarding their loved one’s possessions. You can also offer to get a referral for or to help them plan an estate or garage sale.

For sellers making long-distance moves, allowing them to leave behind unwanted possessions is also an important value add. In those cases, offering to help find a good moving company, providing boxes and assisting with the truck rental are also helpful tasks that can alleviate some of the burden associated with a major move.

Making closings easy for sellers is a crucial and low-cost opportunity to provide value. Arranging remote closings, hiring mobile notaries and even offering transportation to the title company have all been things my firm has done in the past to provide value and convenience to sellers.

Value adds don’t have to be restricted to closings. If a seller is elderly or struggling with mobility issues, they may need help with cutting the grass or dealing with small household repairs. For example, at an appointment recently, we walked around the house and sprayed for wasps for an elderly seller who was not able to deal with the problem. Helping your seller, or finding someone to help them do small tasks like that, can go a long way in building goodwill.

One of the biggest value adds you can provide for sellers is a leaseback. Often sellers need some extra time between selling their current home and buying and moving into the next one. By holding back a portion of the sale proceeds at closing and doing a temporary lease, the sellers have time to move without feeling stressed, and you’re covered as the buyer because you have a lease agreement and a hold on a portion of their funds until they move out. I typically recommend that leaseback timeframes be between two and three weeks.

Education and resources are another valuable way to assist sellers in difficult situations. Some examples of this are: providing eviction information to a seller with a bad tenant, providing information on the probate process (if they are in an inheritance situation), connecting the seller with an attorney or CPA, helping them deal with code compliance issues or walking them through the closing process. 

There are many ways to provide value once you know the seller’s pain points or barriers. Sometimes just doing the little things means more to people than anything else. If you don’t have funds for any of the suggestions provided, just remember that you can still provide value by being a good listener, walking in integrity, providing good advice and presenting the best solution for the seller, even if it means ultimately not getting the contract. Helping a distressed seller solve their problem in a respectful, professional and empathetic manner creates a win-win situation for everyone involved.


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