If you’re getting started in real estate investing, you might be a little bit nervous about actually going to take a look at a potential real estate investment property.
Questions in your mind might be, “What do I say to the seller? How do I act? Am I going to seem dumb if I ask a silly question? Should I come across as cool and experienced or should I play it “dumb”? When I should I mention price? When do I start negotiating?”
Newbie real estate investors and real estate professionals get jitters – I know this, because I’ve been there. We all get scared we might say the wrong thing and “our cover will get blown”. But it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t need to have a “cover”. You can be yourself and still get the deal.
The good thing about real estate investing is that if you’re dealing with the typical home seller or real estate agent they’ll likely be clueless to real estate investing. Most people, even those inside the real estate profession, don’t bother to learn about real estate investing. But since you’re interested in real estate investing and you’re investing the time to read this article shows me you have the interest and passion to learn – this gives you a head-up over the average person out there. So let’s get into how to talk to sellers if you’re a real estate investor.
One of the first insights you get as a real estate investor is that a house is a house is a house. What I mean is that as you gain experience, you start to realize the usual issues that the typical property for sale has, how these issues can get fixed, and around how much it’s going to cost. This comes with experience but really isn’t very difficult to master. It’s a good idea if you’re a beginning real estate investor to bring along a friend that’s experienced in home improvement to give you some price estimates privately after you’ve viewed the property together. Remember that real estate is your business and since it’s your business you need to be constantly learning and improving your skills in all areas, including communication and negotiation.
So if the issues that investment properties have are pretty similar across the board, what makes the difference from one home to another? The difference is the unique characteristics of each seller. You need to be able to listen, learn when and how to negotiate, and learn rapport tactics that you can use in your dealings with sellers. Think of yourself as a being an interviewer of the seller on a television show. You need to be directing the conversation with your questions, not the other way around with the seller asking you questions. Remember that he who asks the questions leads the conversation. The secret is that you want to be asking your questions so that the seller is free to talk without feeling like it’s an interrogation session – the conversation should be fluid and relaxed.
Throughout the process of you talking with the seller, remember that the seller wants to talk to you. They have an issue (they want to sell their property) and they’re hoping you can be the person that can solve this issue. Many times people are selling their property due to issues in their personal lives (divorce, layoff from a job, etc). By being friendly and warm with the seller they will likely relax and reveal their “true issues” to you – almost like a real estate therapy session. You want to be the solution provider, but to do this you need to know all the issues behind the sale.
One of the biggest tips to feeling at ease when meeting a seller for the first time is get there on time, about 5 minutes before the scheduled time, but not earlier than that and definitely not late. Aim to get into the neighborhood twenty minutes early. Once there and you have that extra time, take a drive around and look at other active listings in the area so you have an idea of how much active listings are selling for in that particular neighborhood.
You’re going to want to dress relaxed business casual for the meeting. Don’t dress up too much, but don’t underdress either. You want to come across as someone that has money but that isn’t showy about it. Something along the lines of a short-sleeve polo with beige khaki pants. If you feel the area is very working class, you may want to go for jeans, but usually that khaki/polo combo will work well for you.
I know some people are going to be more relaxed than others when meeting a seller. Of course, with time and experience, even the most skittish of real estate investors will get the hang of things and before they know it will be gaining quick rapport. My best advice is practice, practice, practice. If you need to, set up two visits in one day: the first one with a property you’re not really into and the second one with the property you’re really into. This helps you because after the first meeting you’ll feel much more relaxed because you’ve gone through that experience already so the meeting with the second seller will generally flow much smoother and you’ll be much more at ease.
Have you ever gotten nervous when meeting a seller? Let me know how you’ve gotten over your nervousness in the comments!