Three key things to look for when prescreening seller leads

You did great job marketing and now have an avalanche of leads coming your way. You need an efficient way to prescreen them. How would you know which deals to pursue and which ones you should avoid.

It all boils down to 3 key indicators, at least for me:

  1. location
  2. situation
  3. deadline

Like you already know the 3 key factors determining the price of any piece of real estate are: location, location, location. So first we look at the location of the home. Is this home in the good area of town? Is it even in the area we do business in? If the main source of your leads is from direct mail, leads should be in the right area of town. Signs, on the other hand, bring leads that are in other states. So check the location first. If it falls into your business area, take it, otherwise pass and go to the next one.

BTW, you have chosen the area you will do business in, haven’t you? Do not spread yourself too thin. We chose to do business primarily in the North east quarter of Atlanta. If I would do business in the whole metro area I can have a drive of more then 2 hours between the houses in the south and north suburbs. Imagine that you have to manage the renovation for 2 houses at the same time which are 2 hour drive apart.

Anyway, back to prescreening. The second thing we will look at is the situation. We want to work with motivated sellers. Not someone who is thinking about selling the house, but with someone who NEEDS to sell. And to determine that we need to know the situation. The situation can be: divorce, job loss, illness, job transfer, can not maintain house anymore, can not afford payments anymore, etc. We need to see a situation where they really need to sell. If the sellers say “I want to….”, pass this deal. You will spend weeks spinning your wheels and in the end come up with nothing.

The third and last thing we are looking for is the timeline. When the sellers need to move? Is it next week, next month, or some time in the future? This is important. If you hear the seller saying “I really need to sell this home in 2 weeks, because I have been transferred to another state and have to start working there from next month.” you have the situation and deadline. If you hear “I wan to sell in next couple months. I would really like to move to this state to be closer to my grand children.” pass this deal. There is no situation or deadline. The key phrase here was – “want to”.

So we have checked the location, the situation and the timeline. All are good we play, one of them missing we pass, or put it on follow up if the deadline is not there yet. If we play we go to the next step – negotiate and sign the contract.

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