I had an interesting conversation with some folks online at Next Door this week. (For those of you who don’t know about Next Door, it’s a website
that allows folks who live in the same part of town to share information related to their community. Some of these Next Door “communities” are uplifting and some are not! I’ve been part of several different ones in the past few years, so I know!)
Next Door Conversation
One of my neighbors who I do not know was concerned, because someone had called her asking if she was interested in selling her house. She was worried that it might be a scam, so she asked if this was happening to others in the neighborhood. Some said they had received similar calls, while others warned her that this might be dangerous.
I popped into the conversation to explain that we are real estate investors, and I’m a Realtor. In both roles, I am always looking for people who are interested in selling their houses. We mail cards and letters asking if homeowners if they are interesting in selling their homes. Sometimes we receive calls from folks saying they do not want to sell and asking to be removed from our mailing lists. Other times, they call because they are trying to sell their home and want our help. I really wanted to reassure this concerned neighbor that most of us are just looking for someone who wants to sell their house. She thanked me.
Unfortunately, another neighbor started bad mouthing folks like us, saying we were scam artists, and that anyone could attend weekend seminars to learn to market like this, but we were all bad news. I was really saddened to read what she posted, but I didn’t return to the thread to address it further, because I only wanted to relieve the concern of the original poster. But, here’s what I really would have loved to tell the lady who spoke badly about investors.
Why We Shouldn’t be Feared
Anyone with an interest in any topic can pursue an education to become a skilled practitioner in that area of interest. Learning and practicing can make anyone an expert in any hobby – from gardening to beekeeping, any sports – from kickball to basketball, and in any career field – from welding to real estate. Some folks dally with new interests and remain amateurs. Sometimes they remain armchair quarterbacks instead of getting in the game themselves. Others dedicate themselves to learning and practicing, over and over again, until they’re great at what they do. That’s the professional athletes and investors; the folks who rise to the top of their field in both career, hobbies and sports.
Anyone Can Start, Few Finish
We attended an evening, then a long weekend. After doing our research, we purchased the best training we could find to learn everything we could about real estate. This journey began with four or five other couples who also wanted to start a new career in real estate. We traveled to attend training, as well as attended online training courses. The curriculum covered every part of the business, so we completed that entire curriculum, and we read every book we could on this subject matter. The end of each topic included action steps for us to take in our business, and we completed each one as assigned.
These action steps included properly setting up our business and creating marketing campaigns. One big assignment was to tour lots of homes for sale with coaches and realtors. Throughout this process, we became really good at our numbers. We learned to make multiple offers to folks who were ready to sell. Homeowners loved having the option to choose the offer that worked best for them or decline all the offers entirely. We’re always good with whatever they decide, because unless it’s a win for all of us, we don’t want to do the deal.
We are the only couple, from all of us who started this journey together, to ever make a deal. You know why? They gave up before finishing their studies, without learning their craft, and without buying any homes. We learned from our studies, and we practiced our craft, because we wanted to be the best real estate investor these homeowners ever met. And, we are! One big difference from us and other folks calling them real estate investors is we don’t always make just low offers. We also pay full retail for houses as well. It all depends on the house what kind of offer we make, but we always structure our offers to help the homeowners the best we can.
We are not running a scam or taking advantage of others. In fact, just the opposite, we want to help others. Our hope is to be a lifeline for desperate people who need to sell and sell fast and for people who have not been able to sell their home on the MLS. If we can’t help that way, I put on my Realtor hat, and I offer to help them list their home, telling them what they need to do to sell their house on the market fast!
Professionals Learn and Practice Their Craft
We spent nine months, studying, being coached, and practicing our craft, before we purchased our first house. That house was listed as a foreclosure. Our contractors spent several months rehabbing that house. It took a few more months for that first house to sell. While we were waiting on that first house to sell, we purchased a couple more houses and sold them. We learned something more about our craft with each project we completed and sold.
We aren’t the only investors in central Arkansas. In fact, we have lots of friends that we cheer on as they buy and sell homes just like us. I always say, there’s enough deals for all of us, because there really are. There’s also lots of people playing around with real estate investing without becoming professionals. Their amateur actions often negatively impact those of us who are working to become the best we can be in this field.
If you are approached by a real estate investor who wants to buy your home, and you are interested in selling, here’s some questions you can ask them to protect yourself and your home:
How many homes do you currently own? All of us who are serious about this business own multiple properties. If they don’t own one, it’s a sign they are amateurs.
How many houses have you bought, rehabbed, and sold? Again, anyone who is a professional investor will have lots of projects to tell you about.
How are you going to pay for my house? Some of the amateurs put your house under contract and try to sell the contract to another investor for more money than they are paying you. If they can’t find someone to buy that contract, they back out of buying your house. One way you can guard against this is to tell them you are selling only to them. Tell them that the contract on your house is not assignable to anyone else. Expect them to decline to buy in that case.
As a Realtor, I’m held to a higher standard than other real estate investors. I always tell you that I’m also a Realtor, and my broker is always aware of every house we purchase. Our goal, which I often repeat, is always to achieve a win-win agreement, or it’s not a deal. We always try to offer lots of solutions to homeowners, even if selling to us is not a good deal for them.
You can expect to be treated with respect and integrity. We just want to help when we can. If you have a house to sell, let’s talk – we offer hope.