UPDATE: Since this blog post was first published, I’ve updated my process a bit so that it’s even more streamlined and automated. If you want to see how the new-and-improved process looks, you can see the updates in this blog post.

In my first few years as an investor, there were a few things that chewed up a TON of my time each day. Those things included (but weren’t limited to):

  • Talking to prospects on the phone.
  • Researching properties so I could make offers.
  • Deciding on an offer price, writing up the contract and sending it to the seller.

Altogether, these things probably consumed about 80% of the time.

The problem was, 95% of these prospects were just going to say “No” to me in the end anyway – which would leave me drained of time and mental energy (while sitting at a dead end).

After working my business this way for a couple of years, I started feeling burnt out. I had to figure out a better way to determine which of these sellers were just going to say “No” to me in the end, and I had to get to this conclusion WITHOUT wasting endless hours of my time in the process.

Lead Generating WebsiteEventually, I created a buying website for my business (and to this day, it’s one of the smartest things I’ve ever done for myself).

With this website, I was able to get most of the information I needed on each property without picking up the phone and I was able to do the bulk of my property research AFTER I had made my initial offer and the seller had already responded with a “YES” to my proposal.

This video explains how I do it (note: you’ll want to view this it in FULL SCREEN to see all the details):

In summary, you can respond to each of your seller leads with an email like this:

Hi <<Seller Name>>,

Thanks for your submission on our website. Would you consider selling your property for $________ cash? We would be willing to pay for all of your closing costs and property taxes as part of the transaction.

If you have any interest, let me know.


These emails take a whopping 30 seconds to write, but be forewarned – many of them will be met with a “No” response – but that’s okay. If you ask me, I’d much rather find out that the answer is “No” after spending 30 seconds instead of spending over an hour to reach the same conclusion!

If you’re strapped for time like I usually am, do yourself a favor and start using this method to make offers to people. Life’s too short to waste your precious hours sifting through people who are just going to tell you to “take a hike” in the end.

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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  1. Greg Braun says:

    Thanks for taking the time for this. I started off wasting an exorbitant amount of time drafting documents and sending out paperwork, but now I think i am leaning toward working it this way. Do you worry you will lose some deals because that adds another step and communication with the sellers? Sometimes i think they are in a position of such indifference another step might be too much to ask. I am not sure in reality of that second email would hurt.
    Best Regards,

    1. Seth Williams says:

      I completely understand the struggle Greg – I did the same thing for a long time and it almost burned me out.

      Am I losing some deals by taking this approach? Probably. Do I worry about it? No.

      When I restructured my business model to work this way, it was a conscious choice to make my life MUCH easier at the cost of walking away from some potential opportunities along the way (and I’ve found that the cost has been very much worth the benefit). I also found that (surprisingly), many of these sellers are more than happy to do the leg work for as little as $100. Maybe it’s because they’re desperate for money… I don’t know, but I wouldn’t write them off just yet. Remember – in their minds, they don’t want their property and they DO want money. You’re not only offering to eliminate a problem, you’re also giving something they really want in exchange for it.

  2. Katherine says:

    Hi Seth,
    Can you combine this technique with post cards? I was wondering if you could send out post cards and then ask those who are interested if they would go to a website to fill out your form.

    By the way, I love your website. It’s really informative.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Katherine, absolutely! That’s what I do with all of my postcards – people can either call me or check out my website, whichever they’d prefer.

      Great question!

  3. Zac says:

    What if a seller accepts your initial 30 second email offer, then you do the research and find out it’s a bad investment? Do you come back with an even lower number or do you say “sorry, but after researching your property it doesn’t meet our investment criteria”?

    Thanks for all of the helpful info, by the way. I’ve learned a ton through your blog alone.

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Zac – yep, you’ve got the right idea.

      This initial email isn’t a formal “offer” per se, it’s more of a fishing expedition. You’re testing the waters to see what (if anything) each person will accept.

      When someone replies to my email with “Yes, I’ll sell for that”, then I’ll typically respond with – “Okay, thanks for your feedback. I’ll get to work on this and will let you know if we’re able to send you a formal offer.” This helps frame their expectations and understanding that nothing is set in stone yet, my due diligence process is just beginning.

      Does that make sense?

  4. Victor Shivers says:

    Can you please do a blog explaining how you set up your lead page to get it to email you with this info. Thanks

    1. Seth Williams says:

      Hi Victor – have you see this blog post?

      It doesn’t spell everything out in intricate detail, but you can get most of the way there with those video tutorials (though you may have to hire out some help from Fiverr or Upwork to complete the kind of complex submission form I use).

  5. Suzanne Kukuris says:

    Hi, Seth.
    If I’m interested in some land to build a home upon, rather than for conventional investment purposes, would your ’30-second email approach’ be similarly recommended? I am interested in a .75 acre lot within an established neighborhood, and it has been on the market for over 450 days. I’m hoping the time on the market, combined with the time-saving approach you shared, will yield a favorable (& speedy) response from the seller. One down-side is, there is a very limited number of lots available. Though your low-ball recommendation sounds amazing for a property unlinked to emotion, I’m concerned I might be risking a ‘NO’ response if I offer too low.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Suzanne – sure, it could work. I would say though, it has less to do with the property and more to do with the property owner (what position they’re in, how motivated they are, and if they’re willing to sell for cheap or not). There are all kinds of properties you can potentially get out there, but the owner’s situation is the ultimately pivot point that determines that kind of price you’ll be able to get it for.

  6. Michael says:

    Hi Seth,
    Love all the great content you provide. I’m curious, do you ever reply to the people who angrily tell you to “take a hike”?

    1. I used to… but with how busy I am now, I’ve stopped trying with that particular crowd of people. There’s probably always an outside chance you can work out a deal with someone (regardless of how nasty they are in their response), but statistically speaking, the ones who are really mean are probably a lot less likely, so I’ve stopped spending my time trying to break through with those people. 🙂

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