I was casually scrolling through Facebook one day when I noticed my old friend, Sarah, was selling her home. She did not go to a real estate agent; instead, she posted on Facebook Marketplace.
To me, Facebook Marketplace was somewhere you found old restaurant equipment, antique collectibles, and sketchy tamales. But Sarah wasn’t alone. Digging deeper, I discovered that there are tons of people trying to sell their houses on Facebook Marketplace. I found homes for sale right next to old bicycles, broken flat-screen TVs, and boxes of miscellaneous, used books.
Many of the sellers didn’t seem to know where else to sell a house—or they really, really didn’t want to work with an agent. That made me think: How can we find motivated sellers online? Could I use these online leads to ramp up my current lead generation strategies?
Here’s what I discovered. Yes, there are a lot of ways to find motivated sellers online. But it’s also a massive waste of time—time better spent on other things.
The truth is, people that want to sell their house on Craigslist aren’t the most motivated. Most of them are just testing out the market. Plus, there are a vast number of scams out there. It’s a lot easier to let interested leads come to you than to try to hunt them down—keep reading to discover how.
The Top 7 Strategies to Find Motivated Sellers Online
If you’re like me, you probably do everything online. You DoorDash a meal, you call an Uber for a night out, and you book your reservations through OpenTable.
So why not find real estate leads online?
Well, as I discovered, the biggest problem with finding sellers online is that they’re all over the place. There are dozens of strategies that investors use to find leads online—I’ve gathered the most popular methods for finding motivated sellers online.
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are a great way to boost lead generation fast. You can target a given audience through social media like Facebook or search engines like Google. On platforms like Facebook, you can target ads to key demographics such as “millennials who are married and make over $200,000 a year.”
Unfortunately, the leads stop coming in once the ads stop. PPC campaigns can be very effective—but they’re expensive and never get less expensive. They become more expensive the more competitive your zip code becomes.
A lot of motivated homeowners post their homes for sale on Craigslist. Unfortunately, if you’ve ever bought a lamp or couch on Craigslist, you know that it’s like pulling teeth to communicate with anyone there. Everything is done via anonymized email, and people have a lot of time on their hands.
Some investors have success posting ads on Craigslist targeted toward potential sellers. The biggest issue is that Craigslist is full of scammers. You never know if you’re talking to a genuine seller or someone trying to sell a stock photo of a house three states away.
And whatever you do, never initiate a wire transfer!
➔ Distressed Property Listings
There are probably hundreds of sites online that feature distressed property listings. These are just listings of houses that have taxes due, pre-foreclosure, etc. This can be a great resource, but it does take a lot of work to sift through.
Not every distressed property is really for sale. Every government agency you search, such as Fannie Mae, has its own criteria for its listings. Many properties may be listed as “pre-foreclosure” but be pulled out of foreclosure last minute. So, while this is a good way to find motivated sellers, time and patience have to be on your side.
An old trick: Pull up the MLS portal. Search for listings that are about to expire. These are listings that failed to sell, for whatever reason. So, they must be desperate, right?
This trick actually can work, but there are many reasons why a listing might expire. They may have decided not to sell the property. They may have critical issues (such as unpermitted additions) that make selling the property impossible.
Or they may just be asking for too much money—they could be impossible to please. The bottom line is that if you’re dealing with an expired listing, you’re already dealing with something that failed to seal a deal.
Finally, we’ve come full circle: Facebook Marketplace. There are an astonishing number of properties for sale on Facebook Marketplace. But, just like Craigslist, there are also a lot of scams.
The question is: Who are these listings targeted to? Oftentimes, they aren’t targeted to real estate investors; the target is toward people who can’t purchase a home through traditional means. Yeah, you can find FSBO houses on Facebook Marketplace—my friend Sarah is one example. But you’re more likely to find a dozen rent-to-own scams.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find leads online, if only out of curiosity. There are many of them out there. But actually, trying to secure those leads tends can be a nightmare. Anyone can post anything online—regardless of their timeline and commitment to selling.
The Best way to Find Motivated Sellers Online
Why are people so scattered when they go to sell a home? It’s simple; they don’t know how to sell a house, where to go or what to do. All they know is they don’t want to work directly with an agent. So, they end up looking to Craigslist or Facebook for direction. These are platforms they’re familiar with, even if they are sub-optimal.
Once you become an independently owned and operated HomeVestors® franchisee, quality leads start coming to you—instead of the other way around. So, if you don’t want to spend your mornings combing through seven different real estate sites to find motivated sellers online, you don’t have to. Personally, I’d prefer that the Sarahs of the world be able to find me directly.
Want to know more about how to find motivated sellers online? Request information about becoming a franchisee today.
Each franchise office is independently owned and operated.