How to Find Motivated Sellers for Real Estate Investors in 2022

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Although there is no single most important trait, learning how to find motivated sellers can be one of the most critical skills in real estate investing.

If there’s one thing that separates a struggling investor from most successful real estate investors, they have systems for generating leads. They have processes that work like clockwork day-in and day-out.

These investors generate 20 or more high-quality motivated seller leads per month.

Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not.

In 2003, we built our first website to generate motivated seller leads. Since then, we’ve refined our marketing systems, website platforms, and overall strategy on what it takes to drive leads online.

We’ve brought in over 1,253,267 real estate-related leads alone in the past 5 years.

The lead generation options that we will teach you in this article have been proven. Although they can take a bit of upfront work, you can generate leads every month once the ball is rolling.

Ready to learn how to find motivated sellers?

Let’s do this.

What We’ll Cover in This Post:


When You Get Motivated Leads You Need to Close Them!

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What Are Motivated Sellers?

A motivated seller is a property owner who needs to get rid of their property quickly and meets at least one of the following conditions:

  1. They are willing to sell at a 10-30% price below market value.
  2. They are ready to sell under specific terms. Including no money down and no interest.

In an ideal situation, you’d want both conditions, but one advantage of working with motivated sellers is that they have reasons they need to sell fast. You’re there to help them solve it.

Some common types of motivated sellers include:

  • Distressed sellers
  • Landlords
  • Facing foreclosure
  • Relocating
  • Bank in possession of REOs
  • Divorce
  • Inherited houses
  • Recent job loss

How to Find Motivated Sellers

1. Find Your List

Many investors choose to buy lists of motivated seller leads. For example, you might have the option to purchase a probate list that is pulled from courthouse records. Or a list of pre-foreclosures who are likely to sell in the coming two to three months.

Although finding this information can be time-consuming, if you don’t have the time, you can use services such as DataTree and ListSource.

You must confirm the accuracy of the data. Some services may have data that is no longer relevant.

2. Drive for Dollars

Driving for dollars can be a great way to generate leads. You simply drive into your targeted neighborhoods looking for distressed or vacant properties.

While driving, you can create a list of properties to contact.

Another option is to use Google Maps Street View and apps such DealMachine. You can drive for dollars without leaving your house.

3. Find Motivated Seller Leads Online

SEO, PPC, and social media.

Let’s start with SEO. SEO for real estate is what we consider the secret sauce of a real estate investing marketing strategy.

Organic leads are where the majority of leads come from for our members.

It’s not theory, here’s a real peek behind the scenes…

Carrot member organic leads

We focus not only on SEO but also on how it builds into Evergreen marketing.

Evergreen marketing to generate motivated seller leads

How Would You Like More Motivated Seller Leads (with no paid ads) Using 1 Proven, Simple Marketing Strategy?

Watch this Free On-Demand Workshop. We Breakdown Exactly How Our Members Generated Over 450,000 House/Land Sellers & Buyers Last YearYes! I want to watch this free training


The definition of Evergreen marketing is: “a: retaining freshness or interest: perennial. b: universally and continually relevant: not limited in applicability to a particular event or date.”

In marketing terms, it’s marketing you do once, and it works for years… not hours, days, or weeks. Content relevant for a long time serves your best prospects and gets in front of them where they’re searching online.

Results grow momentum over time = Freedom

We then amplify Evergreen with paid marketing and even hamster wheel marketing.

Hamster wheel marketing is defined as: “any situation that seems to be endless without goal or achievement.”

In marketing terms, any marketing that works for a short time after you do has a limited life span. Then you have to do it all over again to keep results coming in.

Cold calling, direct mail, posting on social, open houses, etc.

Results stop when you stop = Stress

Growing more and more into the Evergreen is where you create your consistency, freedom, and flexibility.

You can make a more significant impact with your business, but also, that’s where your most valuable and highest converting leads come from.

If you build a solid lead generation engine for your real estate business, you’ll have leads for life.

It’s a big goal, but don’t be intimated.

Here’s some proof…

Tyler Ford has been getting 2x more motivated seller leads with Carrot than he did with his old site. The Carrot tools and Evergreen marketing content has helped him stand out in my crowded market.

Here’s his story… Tyler Almost Quit Real Estate After 20 Years – That is, Until He Made these 8 Changes.


While paid advertising can bring in motivated seller leads immediately and can help your business in the short-term… SEO can build momentum and help grow your business over the long term.

But what is SEO?

It’s pretty simple.

When a motivated seller wants to sell their house fast for cash, many of them go to Google and type in the phrase “Sell my house fast in [MARKET CITY]”.

Google trends for sell my house fast

And when they do, Google shows them different websites that it thinks can help the searcher.

If I search for “Sell my house fast in Dallas”, for example, Google thinks that these websites can help me out.

Google search for sell my house fast in Dallas

Now here’s the thing: those websites are getting clicks and traffic from motivated sellers every time someone types that phrase into Google… which is more often than you’d think.

That traffic then turns into leads (so long as the investor’s website is optimized for conversion) and the investor generates deals every month through SEO.

You can also pay to get in those search results…

sell my house fast in dallas paid ads

And that is a good idea when you’re starting. But it shouldn’t replace your SEO strategy.

More than 90% of people click on organic results before clicking on PPC results.

So here’s the question: how do you get Google to rank your website for a high-value keyword phrase.

Well, it can take time and some patience.

To start, you’ll need to put the correct title on your page, have a website that loads quickly, and do a few other things. Reference this SEO guide for help.

And at Carrot, we have TONS of tools to help you.

We give you monthly SEO-optimized blog post content. Our websites have an SEO-friendly tech-stack. We also allow you to track your progress on target keyword phrases and alert you to optimizations that are missing on any given page.

Carrot Keyword Ranking Tracker

SEO for real estate investors couldn’t be any easier than with a Carrot site. :)

PPC is another valuable asset to generating motivated leads.

Google Ads can work so long as you have a solid strategy. Year after year, it’s one of our Carrot members’ top lead generation methods (behind organic leads).

Our real estate investor members consistently get feedback that their Google Ads leads are closing between 1 in 10 to 1 in 15 leads per deal.

Learn more about Google Ads for real estate investors in this ultimate guide.

4. Direct Mail

Real estate direct mail is one of the most tried and true methods for real estate investors to generate leads.

Although, a portion of mail ends up in the trash without a second look.

The average mailbox is packed with junk mail, bills, and other correspondence from various sources telling you about deals or offering their services. It can be easy for an envelope containing information on real estate opportunities to land within the other noise.

Direct mail still works and offers different opportunities if done correctly.

  • It’s interactive.
  • It’s memorable.
  • It can have an extensive reach.
  • It offers a lot of ways to get creative.
  • You can pair social media and content marketing (websites) with direct mail for an enhanced customer journey.

Learn more: Check out our Direct Mail Masterclass for Real Estate Investors

5. FSBO Sites

FSBO sites can be a great place to find motivated sellers for free. Sites such as Loopnet and Trulia are good sites to use and you can also find motivated sellers on Craigslist.

On Craigslist look for deals that have been listed for a long time. This might be a sign of a motivated seller.

Narrow your search by property type, price, location, and whether a broker or the owner is selling the home. You can also search for apartments, condos, and multi-family homes if it fits your niche.

6. Bandit Signs

Bandit signs are “old school” and not many new investors use them.

They can still be a great way to find motivated sellers and cash buyers.

One of the most significant issues with bandit signs is legality. Cities can have strict ordinances about putting them out. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to check with your city before.

Here are some tips if you find it’s legal:

  • Don’t put your personal number on the bandit sign – rather use a Call Rail Tracking Number, A Google Voice Number, or any number that will not lead back to you if someone were to Google the number.
  • Take your sign down immediately if someone has issues with it.
  • Don’t post signs on private property.

The Difference Between Inbound & Outbound Lead Generation

We’ve shared a lot of different strategies on this blog for real estate lead generation: Traffic plus Conversions, and we’ve shown you a bunch of great strategies for building traffic. If you haven’t read those posts, click those links to check ’em out… I’ll try not to duplicate much here.

Real estate investors can generate motivated leads using outbound and inbound (paid and organic) sources. Both are good ways to generate leads.

Confused?

Let me make it more simple.

“Outbound” marketing are strategies such as direct mail, cold calling, and driving for dollars.

“Inbound” marketing are Google Ads, Microsoft ads, and Facebook strategies. Also, with good content through organic search rankings or SEO.

The Simple Motivated Seller Lead Generation Formula

To generate more motivated seller leads for your business, you first have to understand the simple formula for lead generation.

That is, how is a lead generated in the first place?

Different investors will answer that question differently. Some will say that cold calling is how you generate leads, others will say direct mail, and still, others will say by personally connecting with people in the community.

cold calling stats

And none of those answers are wrong.

We know most successful investors also use direct mail and/or cold calling to generate consistent leads for their businesses.

But they also do something that very few investors don’t do.

They systematically generate leads by using the below formula…

TRAFFIC + CONVERSION = LEADS

Let’s break that down.

Traffic is when people visit your website. They might come through paid advertisements you’re running (like Facebook Ads or Google Ads) or they might come organically through a search engine (Google) or a social media site (Facebook).

Wherever they come from, one thing is for sure… you can’t generate leads on autopilot through your website if you’re not generating traffic.

Paid ads effectively drive immediate traffic to your website while building your organic traffic takes a little more time (but the payoff is massive) — more on organic traffic or “SEO” here shortly.

What about conversions?

A conversion is when, after visiting your website, the person takes the action you want them to take. Usually, that’s filling out a form that provides you with their contact information or calling your business directly.

And voila! You have a lead.

Those are the two vital elements to generating motivated seller leads.

You have to drive traffic to your website consistently and consistently convert that traffic into leads for your business.

website traffic to conversion rate

And Carrot websites have the highest conversion rate in the industry (usually between 10% and 20%).

Rent To Own Conversion Rate
A conversion rate on one Carrot member’s website.

That’s why we believe in our product so much.

We know that if someone takes their organic traffic seriously and uses Carrot to create their website, they’ll have everything they need to build a winning business.

The Magic of Conversion Optimization

Remember the formula we talked about?

Traffic + Conversion = Leads

Well… you need both traffic and conversions.

It’s not uncommon for us to see a real estate investor succeed at driving traffic to their website through paid ads or SEO… but to convert almost none of that traffic into leads.

Why?

Because their site isn’t set up to convert.

Actually, there’s a big difference between a website that’s built to convert visitors and one that… isn’t.

Let me show you what I mean.

Imagine that you search in Google for the phrase “Sell my house fast in Dallas”.

You’re probably pretty motivated — you want to sell fast for cash and you’re wondering how that’s possible.

So you click on some results in Google.

The first website you go to looks like this…

motivated seller website with no form

That’s not too bad, but there’s a lot of text to read on the first page… and you’re looking for a quick solution, so you leave the tab open but go to a different Google result.

The next website you visit looks like this…

High converting Carrot motivated seller website

Now we’re talking!

This site seems to be able to give you exactly what you want… and by just entering a few details, you can get your fair cash offer today — that’s perfect!

See the difference?

The first site doesn’t solve your problem immediately, but the second site does.

Well… that’s because the second site is a Carrot site… and we’ve run hundreds of tests to determine what converts website visitors the best in the real estate industry. We’ve then taken what we’ve learned and baked conversion optimization into every one of our member’s sites.

That way, as a Carrot member, you start out with a high-converting site.

Most people who switch to Carrot are seeing a measly 2% or 3% conversion rate on their old site… and then get up to a 20% conversion rate on their Carrot site!

Here’s a Carrot member with a 9% conversion rate (693 leads divided by the 7,661 visitors).

Carrot member website motivated seller leads conversion rate

Ultimately, you need traffic and conversions to generate consistently motivated seller leads.

How to Negotiate with Motivated Sellers

When it comes to negotiating with motivated sellers, there are some commonalities.

We all know that price is not something that’s set in stone. And neither is a seller’s immediate inclination to work with or to not work with you.

They could call you ready to sell but a few days later lose interest. Or they could call skeptical and leave the call ready to sign.

Part of what determines these outcomes is how you negotiate. What you say, what questions you ask, and even how you talk could impact.

So we spoke with some experienced real estate investors and asked them how they negotiate with sellers to close more deals.

Learn more about negotiating by checking out this blog post and downloading our real estate negotiation playbook.

Summary

You now know what motivated sellers are and some common methods to find them.

The process of finding motivated seller leads and negotiating with them looks doesn’t need to be complicated. Pick one or two quicker lead generation methods and start working on your Evergreen SEO.

Be persistent with follow-up as you never know what will happen after the third, fourth, or sixtieth time around.

Succeeding in the real estate investing industry is a matter of patience and persistence. Finding motivated seller leads and knowing how to contact them can take plenty of practice.

Be consistent and you’ll be on your way to fulfilling your real estate investment career.

Trevor Mauch

Trevor is the CEO of Carrot and knows a thing or two about inbound marketing and generating leads online in the real estate industry. As an investor himself, he's generated tens of thousands of real estate leads and is a leading expert in inbound marketing for investors and agents. In addition, his true passion is helping entrepreneurs grow businesses that truly help you live a life of purpose.

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