If you are considering buying a home through pre foreclosure leads obtained through a listing service or a real estate provider, it is important to develop an approach to speaking with the homeowner that is both positive and supportive. It is absolutely critical to keep in mind that this is a deeply stressful time for a homeowner that is likely facing foreclosure and developing a dialogue or introduction to your interest in purchasing the property has to be done with diplomacy as well as honesty.
Many homeowners, especially those that feel they have been mislead by lenders in the past, are often very hostile and highly defensive and mistrustful of anyone approaching them with “this is the answer to your financial problem” type sales pitches. When you obtain pre foreclosure leads, keep in mind that some people will be able to get refinancing, some will work with their lenders and not all are in dire financial situations.
Approaching the homeowners from an interested and supportive stance is much more effective as they are less likely to group you in the category of untrustworthy or as being an opportunist to their misfortune.
Pre foreclosure leads can be contacted by several different methods. The cheapest and least intrusive to the homeowner is to send them a registered letter, letting the owner know that you are interested in purchasing their home. Using mass mail outs can also be effective, however this can be viewed by the owner as another ploy by huge companies that only offer discount prices for the home and property. By following up on only the pre foreclosure leads you are really interested in using a personalized, registered letter you may get more responses from homeowners.
Once the pre foreclosure leads have led to a response from the buyer, the next step is to set and appointment and meet with the buyer, typically at the property. If the buyer is seriously considering a short sale on the property, he or she will be willing to allow you to look through the property at this point. You should then obtain the information needed to speak directly to the lender, should you consider making an offer.
Keep in mind that the owner may be unaware of current market values, so having some comparable sales information for foreclosed homes in the same area is very important. For owners this can be tough to understand if they value their homes at the original price, so you may want to provide this information to the owner before the meeting by mail to allow them to review this material privately and gain an understanding of the market.