It's one of the most bizarre phenomena that continues to fascinate me about the business of real estate investing.
As an investor who specializes in buying and selling vacant land – I send out A LOT of laughably low offers to people.
Given that I usually have to send out an average of 8 – 12 offers (sometimes more) for every single acceptance I get, it takes a lot of stamina to go through these motions again and again.
Nevertheless, the need to send out gobs of low offers shouldn't surprise anyone. Let's face it – if you're expecting to buy a property for a small fraction of market value, it's not going to happen without hearing “No” a lot more than you hear “Yes”.
It's a pretty simple concept, really – but even though it's simple for investors like you and me, most of the property owners who receive my offers still have a tendency to act shocked and appalled when they see my number. Even after I've gone through the motions of explaining to each person that:
“My company buys properties at a discount.”
“If I send you an offer, it's going to be very, very low.”
“Just so you know – I won't be sending you a full market offer for your property.”
…a lot of people still don't get it. They really believe (for reasons I'll never understand) that a total stranger is going to swoop in with a bag of cash and make their wildest dreams come true.
I'm not saying it's impossible (people can always get lucky), but why would someone EXPECT this? It's like buying a lottery ticket and expecting to win. I mean, come on… seriously?
People Are Entitled to React Negatively
When you're running a business that requires you to make a lot of ridiculous requests of people, you need to be ready for some equally ridiculous reactions. Nobody owes you anything, so don't expect anyone to say “Yes” just because you want them to.
Remember, if you're talking with the right kinds of people, they're probably in a vulnerable and emotionally volatile place already. Many of these people are wounded (be it financially, emotionally, or otherwise). In many cases, things have taken a turn for the worse in their lives, so you need to show emotional intelligence and allow room for the negative reactions you're bound to get from people.
What Does an Angry Seller Sound Like?
Believe me, I've encountered my fair share of nasty responses from property owners who didn't like my offers (maybe you have too).
The first time I got this kind of treatment, I was a bit shocked (maybe even a bit offended), but another part of me was just amused by the emotional outbursts and downright nastiness from people who didn't like my offers.
It would've been a lot easier for them to just throw my offer away (which I fully expect about 90% of my recipients to do), but no… they needed to “get me back” for failing to meet their pie-in-the-sky expectations.
Want to hear what a nasty seller sounds like? Here's a random sampling of some colorful feedback I've received over the years (all messages have been edited to protect the privacy of the seller):
This guy – who didn't like the $4,000 offer I sent him for his 10 acre property:
This guy – who didn't like my $300 offer for his landlocked parcel in the middle of nowhere:
This guy – who didn't care who I was. He just knew I was a scam artist:
This lady – who was deeply insulted by my $1,500 offer for her vacant lot and trashed-out mobile home:
This person – who apparently didn't like my offer (I can't recall the price, or type of property, as all the evidence was destroyed):
This guy – who is never going to sell his property:
This lady – who didn't like my $4,000 offer for her 43 acre property:
This guy – who didn't like my $3,000 offer for his 7 acre property:
The thing to remember is – when you peel back all the colorful commentary, profanity, mockery and sheer rudeness, these responses all boil down to one simple word:
We ALL have to deal with this word every day of our lives. It's just a matter of how politely people deliver the message to us and how we choose to internalize it.
And you know what? These property owners had every right to reject my offers. It's the same reason that I had every right to send them whatever offer I felt like sending in the first place.
When two parties don't see eye-to-eye – someone is inevitably going to say “No”. It doesn't need to be a personal attack – it's just a mutual acknowledgement that the deal just ain't gonna work.
How to Deal with Nastiness and Anger
In the end – a seller's negative response only matters to the extent that you let it get under your skin.
You are not responsible for (nor can you control) the emotional outbursts and irrational responses of other people. You can only control one side of the conversation – your side. Personal attacks are completely unnecessary in this business, so don't lose sight of the fact that this is their problem, no your problem.
The sooner you realize this is a numbers game – the sooner you'll be able to get back to overlook other people's ridiculous behavior and get back to work getting deals under contract.
The funny thing is – you'll eventually find (just like I did) that some people will LOVE YOU for bailing them out, even if you're only offering them 10% of their property's market value! You can expect to encounter the full range of responses from the people you come into contact with – the only catch is, you'll never know where someone stands until you send them your offer. It's an unpredictable game but as with anything, the more proactive steps you take, the luckier you'll get in the long run.
Let's Review Some Facts
- These people don't know the first thing about you, so don't take it personally. Any insults or unkind words thrown your way are probably a result of their own insecurities, so be the bigger person and don't retaliate.
- If a seller thinks they can do better than your offer, why haven't they already sold for what they think it's worth? Think about it – you're probably not the only investor who doesn't agree with their asking price.
- You're likely to find (as I have) that the vast majority of the people who respond to your direct mail campaigns don't even have their property listed with an agent. How can these people be upset at you when they haven't even gone through the motions of listing it yet?? Remember – you're simply giving these people an option that they didn't have before (even if it's an undesirable option – they're no worse off as a result of receiving your offer).
- You don't owe the seller anything. When they get angry at you for failing to meet their lofty expectations, it is 100% wasted energy on their part. When you realize that a deal isn't going to happen, do everyone a favor and just walk away… there are WAY too many deals out there to waste your energy obsessing over one that clearly isn't going to happen.
Remember, a lot of People will say “Yes” too
If I spent all my time agonizing over the occasional angry prospect, I would've given up a LONG time ago and I wouldn't have encountered the hundreds of sellers who have said “YES” to me along the way (and who were actually quite pleasant to work with, I might add).
Take just a few of the examples listed below. Each of these sellers accepted my “ridiculous offer” with a smile on their face. I subsequently sold each of them for approx 10x more than the price I paid for them.
Wooded Lot in Central Michigan – Offer Accepted for $331 (seller was ecstatic)
Wooded Lot on Beaver Island, MI for $325 (seller was thrilled)
12 Acre Lot on Lake Huron w/ 500 feet of beach frontage for $4,527 (seller repeatedly expressed her gratitude throughout the process)
Vacant House for $557 (seller was profusely thankful and helpful)
14.5 Acre Wooded Lot in Alabama for $4,587 (seller wanted to do more business together)
Why did these people accept my offers? In most cases, it was because they didn't care about the money (evidenced by the fact that they hadn't even bothered to list their property with an agent). I know it's a foreign concept to most real estate investors – but believe it or not, some people just want an “easy out” and I was there to make the process very easy for them.
You see – there's a bigger picture you need to focus on. You probably can't avoid the occasional encounter with an angry seller – but it's no reason for you to get discouraged. In the end, this is one of those areas where you need to have nerves of steel and not let verbally abusive people get the best of you. When you know that your business model is solid and sustainable, you don't need to think twice about.
You always have the freedom to choose whether you're going to be affected by a person's editorial remarks, or simply ignore them. Life is a constant battle of your own discernment. You can let these kinds of comments eat away at your sense of self-worth or you can look at this kind of immature behavior for the “comic relief” that it is.
As with anything, it's all about perspective.