Assessing Motivation of a Property Seller

July 19, 2009 in Property Investment by Kez

Every property investment buyer is looking to make a safe investment, and a basic prerequisite for doing so is to find out a motivated property seller, which, by the way is not very difficult. All it takes is to think like a seller and understand the basic reasons behind a motivated sellers desire to sell property. 


If you want to make great deals on a regular basis, then you need to step in the seller’s boots and understand the philosophy of a motivated property seller. Generally there are four categories of a motivated seller:


  • A seller facing problems such as divorce, bankruptcy, law suits, death, health problems etc.
  • Their life is undergoing drastic changes like retirement from job, job transfer, relocation or increased mortgage repayments etc.
  • They are eyeing other opportunities like stocks, shares, business and other speculative activities.
  • They are looking for the right price; if they get the right price, they will proceed otherwise they will withdraw.


Analyzing motivation factor in property sellers is relatively simpler when it comes to homeowners. They are usually a simple lot, who have not acquainted themselves with the skills and tricks of a regular investor.


A motivated seller will not be too shy to answer the main question of why a he or she wants to sell their house when asked by an investor. When such a question is thrown towards an ordinary homeowner, he or she will take no pains to conceal the truth and will come out all guns blazing. He or she will readily let you know whether it is their divorce or if he or she is planning to relocate. But extracting the “real” reasons for a regular investor can be somewhat difficult.


But this difficulty does not mean that the motivation factor is not valid here, in fact, it’s just that the replies are more ambiguous. It is a common mistake committed by most investors when they assume that they are aware of the true motives of the other party. Every one has their own needs and preferences; while most sellers are price-motivated, there are others who do not care too much about price and there are some other factors that are influencing their actions.


In order to get the seller speaking about the exact motivation, you need to spend some time in chalking out your strategy and formulating well thought out questions. It is a fact that when you ask the same thing, but with different terms and words, you often get a very different answer. In order to learn the true motives behind the sale of a house, you need to do some homework. Here are a few good examples of questions that are designed to extract facts out of sellers:


What in your opinion is the best feature of your property? Is there anything that you would desire to change?


What was the reason you bought this property over another in the market? Have you sold a similar property in recent past?


Why are you asking this particular price for this house? Do you have any other property? Any particular reasons why you picked this one to be sold? Are there any steps that you have taken to prepare this house for the property market?


By asking indirect questions you can dig to the core of their decision making. This method is much more effective as compared to asking, “Why Are You Selling This House?” Different people have different reasons for selling their property. For some it may be the education plan for his little ones, while others may be planning for their time after retirement. No matter what the reason is, as a buyer it is important for you to learn the true motives of the property seller, and asking cleverly worded questions will help you get to the root of a sellers motivation

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