Talking to occupants and finding out vacancy

Since I am finding few properties that are vacant, I am getting more interested in buying them occupied. In the times I have called/or tried to contact occupants I haven’t been successful in them responding to me. I just tell them the property may sell today, and ask them if they know about it and try to get information to see if they are hostile to moving out. They are nice but then cut me off and say they are working on it with somebody or something else and hang up/say goodbye. Any tips to improve the chance that I may find out they would be willing to work for cash for keys?

Also, is there any service that does a drive report of a property (check vacancy, condition) for a reasonable price? It seems there are companies that offer that as part of their services, but the charges are steep and I’m only interested in the drive report. I’d feel dishonest about asking a realtor to do the drive report because I don’t plan to list with them.

Hi Alan,
I would suggest putting yourself in their shoes. You do not yet own the property so what is the point of negotiating or working with you. Also consider that they may be contacted by numerous investors an worse yet novices that do not know what they are doing and ask a lot of questions. These folks are losing their home which is typically a very stressful time. Until the property goes to sale and they are actually talking to the investor or the bank it sounds like you are getting as much as you are going to get without being the actual owner. Would you discuss your personal information with just anyone who knocked on the door??
The fact that you are getting any information at all is certainly a testament to your skill.
I am not aware of any service that provides a report on occupancy and condition. Always remember that there are no guarantees so even if you are paying for such a report the condition and occupancy is not a guarantee since there is no inspection period.

Hi Michelle,
That’s a good point, I try to be as nice as possible when talking to them, but it’s an understandable response I guess. Thanks for the compliment, I would say it’s similar to what Sean advises about trying to get them see that it is in their best interest to listen to your advise on whether they have a case for the sale not going through or whether they’ll likely have to move on. It seems he’s been successful doing it, but it’s tough to get any information, maybe I’d get more if I was the actual new owner but I was just hoping to try to figure out how hard it will be to get them to leave before I buy because I’ve been reading a lot of horror stories about that.

You are definitely doing the right thing. I wish there was an easy way to determine the property condition and occupancy. I think you are probably a step ahead of the competition. I think your conversation approach and giving them information is a great strategy. Just remember that most of these folks are either scared or in denial. The more information you can provide the more they may share with you. You certainly appear to have the knack!! I am sure other investors will see this and want to hire you to make contact for them!! :slight_smile:

Hi Michelle,
Thanks, maybe I have to do the extra legwork because I’m probably less able to financially handle the risk of a bad scenario. It’s reading posts from you and Sean that helped me realize how important the relationship with the occupant can be.