Dealing in benefits
I was out door knocking recently, and I came across a seller in a precarious position. You see, she was thousands of dollars behind on her mortgage, she was older and the house was too much for her to take care of. Oh, and she was two and half weeks away from being foreclosed on.
When I first knocked on her door, she admitted she knew she was in foreclosure but that she was waiting on her daughter to get back to town to try and sort things out. As you could expect, she was very worried. She didn’t have a place to go nor did she have the thousands she needed to bring the loan current and stop the foreclosure.
I told her my job is not to buy houses but to solve real estate problems. And I told her that my goal was to get her into a better situation by the time I left by either giving her an offer or educating her as to what her options were.
As most of the sellers that I encounter do, she opened up to that statement and showed me around the house. She then brought out her foreclosure documents for us to look at with her. She told me how much she owed in arrears and even what she believed the payoff was on her mortgage.
When I asked her how I could help her, she teared up and said that she didn’t want to lose her home. She said what she really needed was time to get into one of those income-based living places for seniors because she couldn’t afford the type of rent people are paying these days. (She referenced her sister paying $850 a month)
Now, I want you to notice something. When I asked her how I could help, she didn’t say you can pay me X amount of dollars for this house. So, what did she say?
She said that she needed time. She also said she needed a place to go that her income could handle.
This is important for you as an investor to understand. You see, real estate is not a house business. It’s a people business. As such, you need to recognize that purchase prices are only a small portion of what is involved with a house sale. There are lots of other factors that people need to satisfy in order to accomplish the sale. And by investigating those factors while you’re talking with the seller, you can identify how many of them you can give to the seller in your offer.
We call these factors benefits, and they are valuable in a way that’s not necessarily tied to money. As you see above, time is one. But so were her monthly income and housing requirements after the sale. We’ve bought houses from people where having a sense of finality was the driving force. We bought one once because we told the seller we would bring them back to see the house after it was rehabbed so they could see just how great grandma’s house would look.
Emotional benefits to sellers are often more important than sales price. And once you identify what benefits the seller needs and then give them to them, sellers are glad to do the deal.
So, on this deal, we offered to purchase the house for the mortgage balance. But we agreed to rent the house back to the seller for only $325 a month for eight months while we worked with her to identify and apply for an income-based senior living place in the area.
She was overjoyed with that offer.
But there was a catch… to be continued next week.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.