• Seller motivation is big for your real estate business.
  • The important factors that determine how motivated any particular seller might be.
  • Unmotivated sellers have a “take it or leave it” attitude, and that can result in expired listings.

If you want to be a top producer, then you’ve got to buckle down and focus your efforts on the dollar-productive tasks most likely to generate a financial return.

If you’re just starting out, this is even more true because just like a plane leaving the runway, you’re going to use a lot of fuel (your time and energy) just getting up to cruising altitude.

Make sense? Great — then let’s move on to how and why seller motivation is a critical piece of investing your energy where it matters most, instead of just taking the first potential thing that comes along.

Seller motivation is big for your real estate business — find the right, motivated sellers, and you’ll have a faster, easier selling experience. So the question is what motivates sellers?

Today, we’re going to discuss the important factors that determine how motivated any particular seller might be, as well as provide you with tips and advice on actively pursuing motivated sellers who have a true desire to list and sell their home as expeditiously as possible.

Seller motivation is important, and over time, we’ve found that there’s usually a relationship between seller motivation and being overpriced.

The least motivated sellers are almost always the most overpriced because, quite frankly, they’re in a take-it-or-leave-it mindset that makes your role as a listing agent a lot more difficult.

If they don’t get the offer they want, then rather than doing a price-reduction to get in line with local market values, these are the customers who just might pull the listing entirely. These are the most difficult sellers to deal with and the mostly likely to waste your time.

This is a topic we discussed at length on Real Estate Coaching Radio, and I’d urge you to listen to the whole show (below) to hear us lay out a road map for seller prequalification by motivation. I’ve also outlined some of the key points we covered below, so you can read along as you listen:

Seller motivation: “Have to” versus “want to” sellers


Identifying the “have to” seller

This seller is someone who doesn’t have a choice. Take a moment to make a list of those people who don’t have a choice. These are people who are in one of these motivating situations:

  • They are relocating.
  • They are getting divorced.
  • They are no longer able to make the payment.
  • There has been a death in the family.
  • The house needs to be sold.
  • They can’t afford the taxes, payment or adjustment.

Identifying the “want to” seller

This seller is your neighbor who keeps telling you that if they found the right house, they’d consider a move. This friend is the polite one who says, “Sure, you can send me some emails with houses in there — if I find something I like well enough, I’ll move.” In other words, they have no real motivation.

Like I said before, these unmotivated take-it-or-leave-it sellers have a tendency to overprice their home — because they know they can just walk away if they don’t get the price they want.

We’ve all worked with sellers who just think, “It would be nice to get this price, let’s try it.” And we all know what happens to those listings. They become expired listings. Don’t let it happen to you.

Ultimately, what this comes down to is essentially a form of seller lead prequalification. There’s a relationship here between lead volume and prequalification, as well.

As your lead generation abilities improve, you’re able to be a little more picky about which leads to invest your time in. And becoming a little more picky ultimately means you spend less time hand-holding the unqualified lookie-loos and more time working with motivated sellers.

Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at timandjulieharris.com, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at realestatecoachingradio.com.

Email Tim Harris.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription