Winning Over a Seller (029)

Winning Over a Seller (029)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hi.

Steven Butala:                   Welcome to the House Academy Show, entertaining real estate investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steven Butala:                   Today, Jill and I talk about Winning Over a Seller. It seems like a real simple title, but-

Jill DeWit:                            There’s a bit to it.

Steven Butala:                   … there’s a lot to it. What I take this title to mean, and maybe you take it differently, is you sent a bunch of mail out. A certain number of people sign it or call you back and say, “Yeah. I’m interested in selling my house, but I’m not sure that price is going work for us.” Or, “I’m not sure the time frame is [inaudible 00:00:35]” So you got to win over the seller, win over their trust.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   I think that’s what this means.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, part of it is, too, sometimes now you warmed them up to selling. They might start shopping, too, because we’ve had that. They might say, “Oh, you sent me an offer. I’m going to see what We Buy Ugly Houses would give me, or So-and-so.” And you want them to pick you.

Steven Butala:                   Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the online community. It’s free.

Jill DeWit:                            Jackie asks, “I’ve had two sellers change their minds. Is this normal, and how do I manage it in the future?”

Steven Butala:                   Well, that’s kind of what this topic is about, managing a seller or winning over a seller, so …

Jill DeWit:                            Stuff happens. It’s funny. Even as buyers, we’ve changed our minds.

Steven Butala:                   Yes. As buyers, we’ve changed our minds. Maybe we get the inspection back, and we’re like, “Wow.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Actually, we had a house recently where the foundation … This is in Arizona, which is unusual. The foundation for the garage was very uneven for their driveway. We chose to go ahead and purchase the house anyway, and it all worked out with a storybook ending, but-

Jill DeWit:                            Some of our buyers were not-

Steven Butala:                   … we used that. We used that foundational potential issue to get the price that we really wanted, which I would call managing the seller. What it’s titled? What’s the title?

Jill DeWit:                            Winning Over the Seller.

Steven Butala:                   Winning Over the Seller.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   People change their minds for all kinds of reasons. Actually, that’s really what this topic is about, so let’s just get into it.

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah. And you know what? I don’t really care. Honestly … No, I’m serious. I mean, I just move on. There’s always more deals. All you can do is do your best, and you never want to say … I want to talk about this for just a second about this question. You never want to say, “Well, you signed a paper,” or whatever it is.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            Things happen. People change their mind. The best thing you can do is move on, and hopefully you didn’t spend money on it getting inspection. Even if you did, that’s okay. Stuff happens. I would do my best to work with them and find out what it is, and if you can save it, do it within reason. If they come back and say, “I want retail now,” well, that’s not going to happen.

Steven Butala:                   So what’s your approach on this? You find out what triggered the change of heart?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative). Talk to them.

Steven Butala:                   And talk to them about it. Can I give you a couple … Go-

Jill DeWit:                            Hopefully you’ve got the relationship with them that they’re honest with you and they tell you.

Steven Butala:                   I mean, let’s say-

Jill DeWit:                            Want to ask me about it?

Steven Butala:                   … it’s price. It’s obviously … Let’s say, “You know what? I talked to my sister, and she’s like, ‘The house is worth $50,000 more than that.'” What do you say?

Jill DeWit:                            Is she going to … “I talked to my sister. The house is worth $50,000 more.” “You know what? This is my offer. This is what I prepared to pay, and I can close on Tuesday. I’m not even going to discuss it. Is she going to buy it from you?” “No, but she thinks I can get more.” “Well, I wish you well.” I mean, I don’t really have an answer.

Steven Butala:                   I do.

Jill DeWit:                            I mean, that’s part of like … What is your answer? I would keep moving through the process quickly.

Steven Butala:                   My answer is it depends on the markets. Because long before we send mail out into a market, I know what the days on market is. I know all the stats.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So if it’s a soft market, meaning it takes a little bit longer to sell, my speech is always, “Well, good luck with that, because do you want $252,000 in your checking account on Thursday or not?”

Jill DeWit:                            That’s what I’m saying. Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   So, “You can take your chance to get 310.”

Jill DeWit:                            “You could sure try, but you got a sure thing right here.”

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. That’s right. Bird in the hand.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   So there’s lots of reasons that people change their mind.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, I always think about the one that happened to me recently, too. Not recently. Like a year or so ago, where the guy was … It was a good lesson for us about due diligence and following up quickly. Back then, we didn’t have a team that was so accessible. I think that would have made a difference if we like powered on through and really had a quick timeline. But he had time to shop his deal with We Buy Ugly Houses, or somebody like that.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            They came out, and here’s what happened. They talked him into signing an agreement, which we already had a signed agreement, too. But they like coerced him-

Steven Butala:                   That’s right. I remember that.

Jill DeWit:                            … and hardcore sold the guy and had the guy freaked out scared that if he went to us. And I’m like, “Dude …” And it was like a difference of $2,000 or something really minimum. Like, “If that’s all you want to get out of it, I would have given you $2,000. I don’t really care. It would have been a lot easier.”

Steven Butala:                   I remember that deal.

Jill DeWit:                            I felt bad, because I know the guy was kicking himself later on in the end, going, “I wish I would have …” I don’t know how it all played out, but I’m pretty darn sure they weren’t as nice and easy and good to work with as us. Because they’re obviously … Again, they were like hardcore scaring the guy, and that’s not cool.

Steven Butala:                   It was a difference of opinion between husband and wife. I remember that. The wife wanted to close with the Ugly Houses, and the husband wanted to close with us.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, and I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her, and that’s fine. But you know what? In the end, we all know how it works out. We all know how that went.

Steven Butala:                   Would you rather do business with Jill or some Ugly Houses guy who’s angry? I know which one I’d like.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   Today’s topic, Winning Over a Seller. This is why you’re listening.

Jill DeWit:                            Well, that ties into this, too, with the We Buy Ugly Houses thing. It’s like shopping with a local store versus a big chain. We all know it’s different, and that’s what we bring to the table. And that’s what you would bring to the table as an investor, and that’s why our whole House Academy community is successful. We are real people, too. I can’t go on We Buy Ugly Houses and look up the guy’s Facebook page, and see what he does, and make sure he’s a good guy.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s very different, and I think … I know we are. We’re going to pass them. We are all individually doing more deals … I’m sure of it … than they are. And I don’t want to be that. I like being a small, individual company where I can make the decisions. I talk to my team about that, too. That’s one of the beautiful things working for a company like us, that you don’t have a time clock. You don’t have all these rules and regulations. We can do our own thing.

Steven Butala:                   Here’s a fact. We send out these offers, and we purchase houses and land at very predictable and consistent rates. So if somebody comes back and says, “I changed my mind,” in the end, really what should happen is, “Okay. Thanks very much. But please don’t come back to me when the deal falls through on the next one.” Or, “If you do come back, it’s going to be a lot more. The price is going to be less.” Because somebody’s going to sign an offer and send it back, and next day, it’s going to be on your desk. That’s the truth of it, so there’s no reason to fret.

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-mm (negative). Just send out more mail. It’s not a big deal.

Jill DeWit:                            So I was going to say about the topic, so winning over sellers, I have four points. One is listen to their stories, and trust me, they have them. That’s whoever of the things that I’ve found is that people, they get our offer. They call us. We connect with them. They feel good about it. They have no reason to call anybody else. They feel good about the price. They’re happy they don’t have to do anything. We make it easy for them, and we get to know them. I can tell some of the stories that have got to me about So-and-so’s son. “My son needs to come from New Orleans.”

Steven Butala:                   It’s a personal story.

Jill DeWit:                            “He’s going to help me pack, and here’s the reason why. Here’s why he lives there. Here’s why I’m selling, because now it’s just me rattling around this great big house.” All those things. Listen to their stories and get to know them.

Steven Butala:                   That’s it.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s important to build this relationship.

Jill DeWit:                            Number two, talk to them like they’re family. That’s what they want. That’s what you want. You don’t want someone bulldozing over you, and neither do they. They want you to go, “All right …” For example, the back tax thing you brought up on the show yesterday. Halfway through the process, we’ve had a like, “Oh, shucks. We were off by a couple thousand dollars on the back taxes.” We worked it out together. In that situation, I think we ate it, as a matter of fact, I think we just said.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. I know we did.

Jill DeWit:                            You know what? This is what, for me, is why we’re here and makes a difference. We promised them a net to them price. We found out we were off by a couple thousand dollars on back taxes. That’s on us, not on them. Sure, I let it be known that, “Hey, by the way, we’re off. I just wanted to you to know that we’re eating it, because we really want to get this deal done, and we made a promise.” And that’s [crosstalk 00:08:55] follow through.

Steven Butala:                   You know what happened in that deal? Very specifically speaking, taxes. I don’t want to wreck your train of thought here.

Jill DeWit:                            Okay.

Steven Butala:                   But on that deal … It’s because it’s valuable. We looked up the back tax amount, and it was X. I think it was like $8,000. It was a lot. We said, “Great. We factored it all in. Yep, there’s no problem.” When escrow went to go pay off the taxes, they said, “Oh, yeah. It’s 8,000 bucks, but it’s so far back, that there’s all these admin fees and punitive fees.”

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   So it ended up costing us 2,000 bucks more.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   Even us. Of all the deals we’ve done, you still can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen.

Jill DeWit:                            It happens, so you have to roll with it.

Steven Butala:                   Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:                            It’s okay.

Jill DeWit:                            My third point is winning over sellers is you need to simplify the escrow/closing process for them. Don’t turn around and use the same verbiage that the escrow company or the closing person used with you, because your sellers don’t … They don’t necessarily understand all that. They haven’t closed a deal since 30 years ago, traditionally, when they bought the house.

Steven Butala:                   Before the internet.

Jill DeWit:                            They’re not in the same level with you, and they don’t really understand, so simplify it as much as you can and make it really easy for them. This is one of the things I think a good real estate agent should do. I don’t think all of them do that, and I wish they would.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah. All of this stuff is really the behavior that real estate agents should have, and you’re taking over that role and managing it.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   I think people value customer service. That’s what this is. You’re putting yourself in a customer service role and making sure they’re happy.

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Steven Butala:                   They didn’t chose you because of their price. Price is not the first …

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Price is not their first priority. If price was their first priority, they would call a listing agent. They would get their act together, clean the house out, maybe put some flowers out or whatever happens when you have an open house, and take that route. And many, many, many people do, and they get our letters, and they throw them away, and that’s fine. But it’s all built into our back end numbers.

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Steven Butala:                   They’re calling us, because they have something that they need to deal with. They don’t want to show their house. There’s some garbage in the basement. Who knows?

Jill DeWit:                            Right. Or they need it fast and easy.

Steven Butala:                   Whatever it is, we’re there to solve it for them.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            Then my final thing is, for winning over sellers, always deliver as promised. One of the fastest ways to mess up a deal is for them not to trust you, because you say you’re going to call, and you don’t call. You say you’re going to do something, and you don’t show up. You say you’re going to have this, and you don’t. Then they doubt you, and you can’t have that. So even if there’s a delay, tell them, “You’re not going to believe this, but my home inspector got in a car accident.” Not to say … But tell them honestly, and say, “I’ve got his second in command coming, and he’ll be there at 4:00. It’s not going to be noon. Does that work for you, or do you want to do the next day?” Be in communication. Don’t just let it happen.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s my list.

Steven Butala:                   That’s a great-

Jill DeWit:                            Do you want to add more?

Steven Butala:                   No. I think that just be a human being, you know?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Steven Butala:                   When we started Land Academy in 2015, and now House Academy, we’re trying just look straight into the camera and tell you like it is.

Jill DeWit:                            Like right now.

Steven Butala:                   That’s the whole model. That’s it. We’re not here to upsell anything or sell a product. We’re just telling you how these deals go. If you treat a seller that way, that’s all anybody wants, you know?

Jill DeWit:                            Yep. Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Hey, we know your time’s valuable. Thanks for spending some of it with us today, anyway. Join us next time for the episode called, The Perfect Timeline for a House Flip.

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our online community found at It is free.

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Jill DeWit:                            That was good. I liked the way you wrapped that up.

Steven Butala:                   That’s what everybody wants out of everything in life.

Jill DeWit:                            I know. That’s the thing, too. Now with House Academy, I’m telling people, too, “Be a real person. They’re going to look you up. They’re going to look up your LinkedIn. They’re going to look up your history. They’re going to look at your Facebook page. And you want to make sure that you’re presenting yourself well, and you show that you’re an investor. Then they’re going to trust you and want to sign it and send it back.”

Steven Butala:                   As consumers, we’re just so set up to be disappointed constantly. Like even when you’re a kid, you see a commercial on TV for like a toy. Then you get it, and it’s like, “Yeah. It doesn’t do anything like that. It doesn’t fly at all.”

Jill DeWit:                            It breaks after one use. That’s true. That’s kind of sad, but you’re right.

Steven Butala:                   You don’t want this to be that way.

Jill DeWit:                            No, you don’t.

Jill DeWit:                            Wherever you’re watching, wherever you are listening, please subscribe and rate us there. We are Steven and Jill.

Steven Butala:                   We are Steve and Jill. Information …

Jill DeWit:                            … and inspiration …

Steven Butala:                   … to buy undervalued property.


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