But I want to "help" you! - Posted by Jack

Posted by Kristine-CA on July 21, 2003 at 17:23:46:

Dear JT: thank you for the thoughtful words about bull frogs and negotiating. While I’ve heard the bull frog theory before, I’ve never been the one gradually turning up the flame.

Thanks again for the very useful suggestions. Sincerely, Kristine

But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Jack

Posted by Jack on July 18, 2003 at 20:20:00:

I don’t know. You tell me.

For the past several years I’ve been using a certain “tone” in my marketing for sellers (ads, mailings, website, etc). Thinking about it, I’m not all that sure it’s the best thing to do, even though every “guru” with a few years experience and a 50 page course seems to think so.

When investors tell sellers we are there to “help” them out of their problems, I think this puts many seller on alert. I am in business to make a buck. Hopefully, lots of them. Yes, in most cases I’m going to also help the seller out of some sort of jam. But that’s not my main objective. It better NOT be.

I guess I believe in Ayn Rand’s old-fashioned capitalistic philosophy of help yourself, and you will be helping the whole as a result. Don’t be altruistic because it’s not healthy for the whole, and it’s bad for your business.

I just don’t think most sellers buy it when the investor comes off as a “savior”. I think it insults most seller’s intelligence.

Now I don’t think it hurts to include statements about “win/win” or mention that you can solve problems. But I’ve got to say, I’ve seen it overdone to a fault. There’s a fine line. But I think most sellers will be leary of someone pushing it over the line.

“If you’re payments are behind, if you’re house needs repairs…we can help you! We help all sorts of people out of bad situations. We’re the problem solvers!”


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on July 20, 2003 at 19:52:35:

I agree, investors (such as Marcos) that present themselves as helpers give honest investors a bad reputation.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Marcos

Posted by Marcos on July 20, 2003 at 09:25:29:

It’s an interesting thought you have posted. And the truth I believe lies somewhere else. Why are you so opposed to the idea that you are really there to help? When I knock on a door I really am there to help. And, because of that, I have no competition. Because I have it clear in my head, why I’m there, and why they are where they are.

Over a third of properties that go into foreclosure go to sale. Why? Because no one “helped”. You have to understand that this person has no idea of what is going on. They are scared, they are alone, they have no idea what to do. When I come to them, I do truly help. If they don’t need me, but need some information on how to help themselves I do that. But, I don’t sugarcoat the truth, if they want to sell with a realtor, I tell them what that path could look like. If they want to file BK, I can tell them horror stories of what that path could look like. If they feel like they can get a loan, I tell them places to call, and on occasion give a loan out myself. But more often than not, they only have one option, that is to sell the house, whether it’s to me as an investor, or at the sale. What I do is take people’s heads out of the sand, where they believe their fairy godmother will help them out, and have a to the point conversation with them where we discuss their options realistically. I realize that if they can save their house, they will. And for that reason I sleep easily at night. I also had a really great friend tell me this: “If you take the dollar signs out of your eyes and put the caring into your heart, then your wallet will overflow.” Realize that “help” to them, might be different than “help” means to me. “Help” to them almost universally means, help them to save their home. “Help” to me, means lets take an honest look at your situation and see what options are viable for you. I’m open to them having a viable option to save their homes, most don’t but a few do.

It’s worked for me. But, it’s definitely not for everyone.


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on July 20, 2003 at 01:02:33:

There is a big difference saying we are here to help you vs. we CAN help you. Bottom line, we CAN help you! I’m not HERE to help you, but I certainly CAN help you. I can help you get out from under those payments. I can help you restore your credit. I can help you from having to file BK. I can help you from ending up with a foreclosure on your record, which will follow you for the rest of your life. That is something that does not just go away after 7 years by simply falling off your credit report. Regardless of how long ago you had a foreclosure, loan applications ask if you EVER had a foreclosure. So even if it doesn’t show on your credit file after 7 years, you must still answer YES on a credit app. no matter how long ago it was. Answering no would be loan fraud! So yes, I CAN help you from ever having this happening where you won’t have something this following you for the rest of your life.

I’m not HERE to help. I can only help if you want to be helped. And in the process I’m doing it to make a profit. Nothing is for free. Now SOME of my profit may come from any equity you have in the property at some future date, IF you even have any equity, but most of my profit will come from my buyers, not you the seller. But if you have lots of equity where you can simply sell and get any of that equity for yourself, then by all means do it! You don’t need any help from me. But if you need the help, then I CAN help. But I’m not HERE just to help. I’m only here because I CAN help, if you WANT any help.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by jasonrei

Posted by jasonrei on July 19, 2003 at 09:45:26:

It depends. I’ve gone up to houses with the intention of just helping them and letting them know what their options might be. That’s my warm-up. After knocking on a few doors I get into lets-cut-thru-the-crap-and-cut-a-deal mode. I assume people know I’m there because I want to make some money.

Still, I don’t know which is a better approach. Suppose the right way is the one that gets results.

Finally, I think Ayn Rand’s philosophy was more of help yourself, what happens to the whole isn’t your concern. And I agree.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Bill H

Posted by Bill H on July 18, 2003 at 21:21:28:

I agree. Charity starts at home. Like the old cliche of the lady asked the sales clerk, “Can you help me out?” The sales clerk very graciously answered, “Yes Mam, I sure can. Which way did you come in?”

I think there is entirely too much “I’m here to help you.” How did you know I needed help?

Be upfront, truthful, fair, firm and have confidence in your voice…if you don’t believe in yourself it will come through and nobody else will.


How about “saving” their credit? - Posted by Gib

Posted by Gib on July 18, 2003 at 21:16:10:

That’s another line that gets me. Most people who are about to lose their home have a lot more to worry about than having a foreclosure on their credit report. Their credit is already trashed and a foreclosure isn’t going to hurt them that much more.


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on July 18, 2003 at 21:15:23:


Yes, these saying might all be overdone, but remember that you are not speaking (mailing) to those who think you are being way over the top, but to the one or two who are DESPERATE, and want what you can do for them TODAY… Who gives a hoot what the other 98 out of 100 of those folks think, anyway.

If I stop and talk to someone, (which is most of what I do, in lieu of mailings), and they didn’t appreciate my message… that is their problem, not mine. I am only interested in speaking to those who are interested in the message. Much like a Preacher who is spouting his message to the sinners, and of course most want to dismiss the info as boloney, but these Preachers are only interested in the down and out wayward soul who needs them, and wants to hear their message.

I have been yelled at, run off, had the dog released on me, etc., etc., but when it all sorts out at the end of the day, when I go home I am NOT in foreclosure. The folks who I attempted to provide a message to as well as an immediate solution, are stilling there embroiled in a heap of worry and despair. Keeping that in perspective allows me to knock on anyones door who is in the throws of foreclosure. I must only think back to a handful of success stories, of those who were SO GLAD that I knocked on their door, and all the rest runs right off my back.

Who gives a d@mn about the RED FLAGS…

Just the way that I view things…


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Joe Kaiser

Posted by Joe Kaiser on July 18, 2003 at 20:42:35:

Recent,ly, I had a fellow ask me to please stop helping him. So, I
know what you mean.

It quickly becomes apparent that the help we offer doesn’t come
cheap . . . so the notion that we’re wolves in sheeps’ clothing goes
away rather quickly.

I tell them up front . . . I’m in the game to make a buck or two and
cheaper solutions may be available to them.

However . . .

I can get it done, today.

I can stop the pain, today.

I can solve the problem, today.

I’m not selling “help” or “solutions” so much as I’m selling “today.”

“Win/win” is the biggest bit of fluff out there.


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Brenda Whittaker

Posted by Brenda Whittaker on July 26, 2003 at 16:14:22:

I also agree. If I were the seller and heard that, I’d be angry and defensive, and in fact, I’ve tried that tactic as the investor, and people just ignore me, refusing to deal with me. People aren’t always that stupid.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Gib

Posted by Gib on July 20, 2003 at 15:45:15:

That is a good point about a loan app asking about previous foreclosure. I hadn’t thought about that.


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Rich Hyams

Posted by Rich Hyams on July 20, 2003 at 20:35:01:

“Finally, I think Ayn Rand’s philosophy was more of help yourself, what happens to the whole isn’t your concern. And I agree.”

You got the first part right, the second part is that a rising tide lifts all boats. If each person in a society is working to make his own life as good as it can be, the entire sciety benefits with higher standards of living and better economies.

CAPITALISM: THE UNKNOWN IDEAL is a collection of essays, several by Alan Greenspan. It basically tells how a capitalist system is the only way for a moral society to live. Incidently, it also provides the highest standard of living for the people. This is why the USA is the richest, most powerful nation that the world has ever seen and also why we have the highest standard of living in the world. They talk about how all this left wing social security, medicaid, welfare, etc., etc, does nothing to help society and actually brings down the standard of living.

I agree completely that this is exemplified in a good real estate investor. He can make a bunch of money and incidently help the people he is dealing with.


I can’t think of a good way to introduce that into the first conversation with a prospect. I just can’t really come up with a way to make it sound endearing and trustworthy. Trust and confidence are the most important things to relay to prospects…and don’t ever let them know that you refer to them as ‘prospects’.

I will say, “Listen, this is what I do and I am real good at it. I am only going to actually get involved if I know I can help you out and make a profit for myself.”

Remember, I am a rookie and my opinion is probably worthless.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by Rick(MD)

Posted by Rick(MD) on July 19, 2003 at 13:42:25:


I like your style. One Question if you don’t mind. When you go to the door, do you ever leave anything if they are not home? If so, what do you leave. Thanks


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by jasonrei

Posted by jasonrei on July 21, 2003 at 08:43:49:

But then, what about her philosophy as expressed in her books like “We The Living” and “The Fountainhead”? In those books the main character did what they wanted without too much concern for what society wanted or how it might or might not benefit.

But then, “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal” is also a good book. Too bad Alan Greenspan has gone to the other side. And I agree that capitalism is the only moral system, but unlike Rand I think morality is subjective.

And now back to real estate : )
I mostly deal with properties where my only contact with a seller is through my written offers. I have done a few pre-foreclosures. First I would tell them that I saw that their property might be coming up for foreclosure and I thought maybe I could help. Usually they’d say it was taken care of (and that was the truth). I’d go on to briefly explain what was scheduled to happen. I’d give them their trustee’s contact info and I’d tell them a bit about bankruptcy, etc. as means to stop the sale. I’d then tell them that I bought houses and could come up with cash quickly. Usually they do most of the talking. If they want to sell they will call me back. I don’t guess that I’ve felt the need to seem honest or dependable.

Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on July 19, 2003 at 13:59:56:


I will often times leave a business card, with a hand written note on the back…

"We make up back payments and taxes;
Call if interested"

Or occasionally I will leave a copy of something that I have printed out from public record… slightly modified, which indicates when the sale is, etc… I will hand write a similar note on that piece… I looks kind of official, as if maybe the Sheriff may have posted the notice, but I never attempt to impersonate the officials…

No real magic, other than making the calls, being informed and knowing what to say when they answer the door… Even at that, you will be lucky to get one out of 10… or 50… Knocking on pre-foreclosures is a low percentage play, at best… but I still nail some of them, b/c I get out there and go after them when they seem to have all the right indgredients.

Just the way that I view things…


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by js-Indianapolis

Posted by js-Indianapolis on July 19, 2003 at 16:37:59:

“when they seem to have all the right indgredients.”

Can you post that recipe? Apparently, I’m missing some of the ingredients. My list has only one. Equity. And I don’t see enough of that to keep me really busy. Anything else to throw in?

Equity is not always the issue… - Posted by JT-IN

Posted by JT-IN on July 19, 2003 at 18:05:20:

Don’t get me wrong, equity is great when it is there, but those are the ones that all the players go after, right. Thsi will be difficult to explain in a post, because it is sometimes abstract. I look for circumstantial items, such as amounts of mtgs that would allow for equity to be CREATED, as in the case of larger Jr mtgs, etc.

I just did a deal where there was not a lick of equity. In fact it was way over-encumbered. A comm’l bldg with 1.3 mil in mtgs, but only worth about 500K. I can tell you that most folks weren’t working that one… Good thing… Bottom line is that I worked with the owner of the property, and structured a deal that said if I can do THIS… you will do THAT; Deed over the property… and sign a Lease.

Guess what, I did my part of THIS, and he did his part of THAT, and I now bought a building that previously had 1.3 mil in mtgs for $ 187750. Why did that deal happen, b/c it had a certain situation of 3 mtgs, that I could VISUALIZE getting all of the Banks to play along… Now let me tell you that initially, they didn’t want to play… but after about 12 weeks I wore them down… I ended up with all mtgs on the property, the deed and dismissed the lawsuit of foreclosure.

There are many deals that all the rest of the folks are out chasing, that I never even darken the doorstep. Why, maybe the owner couldn’t convey clear title to the property even if you get them to play nice… You see, I check all that stuff before I even go talk to the property owner. I will venture to say that before I go talk to them, I know more about the case than the Atty that has filed the foreclosure, more than the homeowner about their peril, and have a plausible solution worked out in my mind to everyones problems… Then I go talk to Joe Homeowner, and see where that takes us… sometimes not too far, but I basically do things in reverse than most folks working foreclosure leads.

One benefit of this approach is that if they are interested in a solution, they surely know… that I know what the answer is… because I have the answer when I arrive, as opposed to having to check thsi and get back to them, etc… Sound familiar…?

Anyway, I realize that this is somewhat abstract, but it what I spend a fair amount of time doing; Research… I find that it pays very well to KNOW what is going on… and I rarely ever talk to someone who I can’t help in some way, if they are interested in the solution.

Just the way that I view things…


Re: But I want to “help” you! - Posted by James (fl)

Posted by James (fl) on July 19, 2003 at 17:39:38:


Do you ever post anything positive? I’ve been reading through some of your posts, and can’t find a whole lot. It all seems like criticism and pesimism to me.
Just a thought!

When you know more about the property… - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on July 20, 2003 at 14:32:13:

JT: thanks for the inspiring post. I have a question for you regarding all the things you know about the property and the equity before you meet with the sellers. I don’t meet with sellers anymore until I’ve figured out if there is any equity or if I can solve the various title and lien issues. Been learning that one the hard way, let me tell you.

But when I talking with the sellers and they either skip over something important or lie, I don’t know how to politely, but firmly, point out what I know and keep the negotiations on track. It’s backfired on me several times to say what I know. Whether it’s the fact that they own only a partial interest, or have an IRS lien or a judgement against them, if I’m the one point it out, they get angry with me. And it shuts down negotiations with out-of-town sellers whom I mostly work with on the phone.

There must be a good way to put the truth back into the discussion without offending anyone. None of these issues is personal. It’s just the facts about the deal that need to be addressed in order to get it done.

Any suggestions? You seem to have this one figured out. Sincerely, Kristine