How to Find Motivated Home Sellers

Motivated sllers will often sell their homes at a bargain.

Motivated sllers will often sell their homes at a bargain.

If you are interested in investing in real estate or just looking for a good deal, finding a home with a motivated seller can help you to save thousands over the market price. Motivated sellers typically drop the sales price so as to encourage buyers to choose their house over any others that might be available in the area. While searching real estate ads for low prices may lead to finding motivated sellers, there are other ways to find them and take advantage of the good deals they may offer.

Place an ad in your local paper. The ad can be short, but to be successful it must focus on the benefit to the seller, such as avoiding foreclosure or promising a quick, hassle-free sale. Include an offer of extra help, such as assistance with moving, packing or cleaning out the home. This can get people to choose your ad over any others they might see.

Request a list of properties that have tax liens on them. The county property tax office, assessor’s office or county clerk will have this list. Check for homes with large amounts owed or with amounts that are old enough that tax foreclosure may be a serious threat. Such people may be motivated to sell to get out from under the debt, especially if they have no other options for getting the bill paid.

Review lists of pending lender foreclosures in the area. You can obtain these from real estate offices, banks, credit unions and other lenders. This information is also published in the classified notices section of the paper, usually on a specific day each week. Contact the people on this list and offer to buy their homes before they are foreclosed on. Sellers who are about to lose everything are typically very motivated and will be looking for any possible solution to their financial problems.

Send a postcard to homeowners in the area you’d like to target. Keep the message simple, but make sure you clearly state what you can do for people who call you, such as getting them out from under debt or putting money in their pockets. People who are having financial difficulties will respond, but you are also likely to hear from families who need to move quickly, such as for a new job or to care for an ill family member, people who are unhappy as landlords and would like to sell their rental property, and people who are unable to keep up with the care and maintenance of their home. All of these are potentially motivated sellers and should give you a steady flow of people to work with.

Look for homes that are already on the market. You can find them by having a real estate agent check the listings for you or you can drive through your target area and call about each potential house you spot. Identify those that are vacant, since the owners of these homes are likely making payments on another home while waiting for the vacant home to sell, and this situation will make them very motivated in most cases. Also check the listing date of all homes, since the owners of those that have been listed a long time may be anxious to make a deal to get the house sold.


  • Never forget that it is important to tell potential sellers what you can do for them and how you are going to solve their problems. This should be an essential part of all of your advertising, as well as any conversations with potential sellers.


  • You will be dealing with people in difficult situations, but you have to remember why you are buying from them. Don’t let your emotions overcome your business sense when deciding how much you will pay for the property.

About the Author

A recipient of a business and technology degree from the master's program at West Coast University, Cindy Quarters has been writing professionally since 1984. Past experience as a veterinary technician and plenty of time gardening round out her interests. Quarters has had work featured in Radiance Magazine and the AKC Gazette.

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