The best 5 questions to ask Estate Agents to get them bring motivated sellers to you.

You would think that estate agents would be an excellent source of motivated sellers. After all, the estate agents will know when a sale has fallen through, or if the seller needs to sell in a particular hurry.

This is all good in theory, but I often hear investors complain that they cannot get any good deals from estate agents because the estate agent  has a shortlist of investors who they call first whenever they get a really good deal. Generally, this is true and so many investors don’t bother to look for motivated sellers at estate agents, because they think the agents will give all the best deals to their friends.

As an investor, one of your goals should be to get on your local  Estate Agent ’s shortlist so that you are one of the people they call whenever they get a good deal. The mistake that most amateur investors make is that they walk into an estate agent and ask the estate agent for all their motivated sellers explaining that they want to buy property 20% or more below market value .

In response to this most estate agent would usually roll their eyes, think ‘here is another one, I have heard this all before. Another, know it all, time wasting investor!’ As soon as the amateur investor leaves the office their business card will be promptly filled in the rubbish bin and the estate agent will never think of them again. It is no surprise that most investors struggle to get great deals from estate agents.

Instead of asking the estate agents directly if they have any motivated sellers, which may not get the response from the agent that you want, there are five specific questions you can use to identify the circumstances which might mean that the sellers are motivated.

Here are the 5 questions to ask estate agents:

  • Do you have any empty properties?

There are four main reasons why a property could be empty: If the property looks a bit trashed it could be a repossessed property as often they are damaged on the way out by the previous owner who understandably could be bitter about the repossession; If it looks dated and in need of modernisation (often with some furniture left in it) it could be a deceased estate as probably someone has lived there for a number of years and not made any improvements to the property; If it is in good condition but empty with no furniture then it could well be that the seller has already moved to a new property whilst trying to sell this one; And finally, if it looks a bit tired and is being sold with some furniture in it then it may well be a former rental property that a  landlord  is selling.  In all four cases, as the property is sitting their empty, the seller could be motivated to sell at a good price.

  • Do you have any property that has been on the market a long time?

This question will identify properties that are just not selling. Maybe the price is too high or something about the property is putting off potential buyers. It may well be that a sale had been agreed and has fallen through on the property, which might make the seller even more frustrated In any case, maybe there is some scope for a discounted offer . You can track changes in property prices by using website like

  • Do you have any properties where there is more than one agent selling it?

Often sellers will list their property with two agents or more agents in an attempt to find a buyer quickly. They may not be willing to sell at the price you are prepared to pay but it is certainly worth a look. The agent may be worried that they will not earn any commission if the other agent finds a buyer and so they may be more motivated to work with you to find a win win for the  vendor  and you.

  • Do you have any properties that are listed for sale and or for  rent ?

You often find that people are keen to sell their property but will consider renting for a while if they are unable to sell. This is perfect for you if you are looking for Purchase Lease  Options where by you rent the property out with the right to buy  in the future.  We would normally pay the Estate Agent their fee at the time we sign the contracts otherwise they will not get paid until the end of the option period which could be several years and so may not be very popular with most agents. Remember the agent needs to see what is in it for them and the seller if you want them to agree to anything slightly different from the norm.

  • Do you have any sellers who keep calling the office to see if there is any news on their sale?

This is a sure sign that the seller is getting desperate; every few days they call the estate agent to see if there is any news. Often the seller will not tell the agent the full details of their situation but this behaviour is a sure sign that they are desperate to sell and so there may be a deal there. This person may be starting to annoy the staff in the agency and so when you ask this particular question often a particular seller will spring to mind!

This article has been kindly provided by Simon Zutshi.

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