How To Find Cash Buyers For Apartment Buildings

find cash buyers for apartment buildingsHow to find cash buyers for apartment buildings. It’s the second most important part of the process, right in there behind finding a smoking hot deal. It is where the money comes from to close the deal, so it’s definitely important.

Too often though, ‘important’ gets equated to hard, or difficult.

If you have done your work properly in finding and negotiating a deal worth doing, and not cut any corners, finding a serious buyer with cash who wants to close asap, is almost a formality. There is work involved, of course, but the right tools and process flush out an end-buyer pretty easily.

 

How To Build A Buyers List

For the sake of example, you have a deal coming together. The seller is motivated, occupancy is 50%, rents haven’t been raised in 5 years, there is deferred maintenance, you have sent your LOI to the owner and after a bit of back and forth he signs and faxes you a copy of the signed agreement.

The property is in Lawrence Township, Indianapolis.

Time to get going with finding a buyer. Faxed LOI in hand and hard copies in the mail, this is the perfect opportunity to reach out and make contact with potential buyers.

So think, if you have a deal in a certain part of town, who are the people most likely to want to buy it?

Well, other apartment owners successfully operating apartment buildings in the same area.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Key word: “successfully”.

They already know the area, have done the research, and are comfortable owning property there. Owning another property nearby their existing property increases the return on their original research,  helps create synergy with marketing for tenants, and builds their brand.

Plus buying out your competitors is always a good business move.

So a good sized list of high probability buyers are right there in your immediate vicinity. All you need to do is contact them, and ask them if they’re interested.

 

How Do You Make Contact With The Owners Of Nearby Properties?

A direct mail campaign to all property owners in the area, or of all properties the same unit size and property class in the same city, with phone call follow up would be just the thing.

A colored postcard flags the owner that you are here. Most won’t respond, there’s not enough evidence yet it’s worth their time. But you hijack their senses, make an impression on their awareness which, whether they like it or not, they will probably remember for the next 3-4 years.

I wouldn’t make the card stock hot pink, but definitely galaxy gold, with black type in Times New Roman or Georgia font. The copy would be something like the following.

cash buyers for apartment buildings

Again, the response to the card will be regular direct mail response rates; 1-2%. More effort is needed for you to be on the phone with a decision-maker, learning whether they are, or are not, interested in the property.

A serious apartment operator is always interested in expanding their portfolio, and always on the lookout for “deals”. But they are busy, and they get contacted by a lot of people wanting to take up their time.

Your challenge is to punch through that, and signal that you have something the apartment investor “wants”, and is worth spending their time on.

Hence the need for the follow up phone call.

But first thing is first. Where do you get the list of owners of all the apartment buildings, within say, a five mile radius of your property? Or for larger properties, within the County?

 

Where Do You Get The List?

You can get the property tax rolls, but those don’t provide phone numbers, and often the owners name is an LLC or partnership name.

Also, many properties have multiple owners, so rather than just sending a letter addressed to the Manager of the LLC at the business address on the tax record and hoping for the best, it would be better to find out the names of all the LLC partners, their individual addresses, and their phone numbers.

You can get all of this information with a real estate data analytics providor. There are a number of them out there. There are those focused on the real estate itself, like CoreLogic, and to the other extreme there is Costar which captures all of the rental and leasing info as well as the real estate data. Costar is prohibitively expensive, unless you have a brokerage or an existing business with plenty of cashflow. And there are higher end options also providing commercial default data and market analytics.

The tool that is most reasonably priced and provides all the data needed for wholesaling apartment buildings is ProspectNow. For the lead generation model we’re talking about here, it provides the property address, the addresses of all the owners, and the phone numbers of all the owners.

You have a property you are selling with a specific address in a specific Township, City, County.

With ProspectNow do a search that identifies all of the multifamily properties within a defined area. You can specify the parameters of the properties, e.g. 5-20 units, or 100-200 units. You can define the area, e.g. within a 3 mile radius, within a certain Township or Townships, or within the entire County.

Smaller properties are more numerous, so tighter and more localized search parameters are needed. Larger properties are fewer, so the parameters will cover a wider area.

Whatever your search criteria, you can generate a very targeted list of multifamily owners, complete with the address of the property they own, their mailing address, and their personal phone numbers.

Boom!

With the individual contact info of each partner of each property, you now shoot them the colored postcard above, alerting them to the smoking hot deal available near the property they already own.

This:

  • Gets past gatekeepers
  • Gets your message to all partners, in the event one may want to buy individually.

 

Response To Mailing

This brings us to positioning.

When sellers and buyers interact, it is a battle for control. The one that exerts the most control usually prevails with getting the deal that favors them.

Ultimately, it’s a Win/Win deal that you want to put together (you won’t make it to closing if it’s not). You already have deal that is a screaming win for the buyer. You are just looking for someone who “can” buy, who also acknowledges the deal is a screaming win for them, and won’t feel the need to try and screw you out of your assignment fee.

You do that by positioning yourself as the Prize, and making buyer prospects jump through hoops to get to you. Each hoop you have set up is a screen for criteria that is important to you. At any stage in the process, if they refuse to give you what you’re asking, you stop their progress at that point and eliminate them as a buyer.

Because you control the deal, you start on the negotiating high ground. This keeps you there, while screening out all the tire kickers, sleazebags, flakes, and leaving you with only those who want the deal, can perform, and just want to go straight ahead in the process so they can close.

You don’t have to be a great negotiator to do this, you just have to stick to your script.

 

Screening Buyer Prospects

So the mailing goes out.

For the calls that come in directly from the postcard, they are greeted with a voice message that repeats the basic deal details, and asks them to leave their name and phone number, along with the best time for you to call.

You return their call at the time they indicate, and run them through a script. Your script offers the first hoop you want them to jump through. Now, they either jump through the hoop, or they don’t. You are not trying to persuade them.

When on the phone with prospective buyers, your mindset is, “I don’t care who you are, who you think you are, how much money you say you have. All I want to know is, are you interested in this property, do you have the ability to buy? If ‘Yes’ … prove it.”

The way they prove it is making it through the series of obstacles you put in their way.

The script would be something like the following:

 

BP (Buyer Prospect): Hello?

You: Hi, may I speak to Jim?

BP: This is Jim.

You: Hi Jim, this is Jerry from Colt Capital. I’m returning your call on the 40 unit in Lawrence Township Indianapolis?

BP: Yes Jerry. How are you?

You: I’m fine. Thank you.

BP: Well I’d like to get some information about the property. Do you have some more info you can send me?

You: I sure do. Before I send that out though, I need you to sign an NDNC (Non-Disclosure Non-Compete Agreement).

 

This is the first hoop you present to the buyer prospect. You want to ensure the person you reveal the deal info to is not going to go around you to deal directly with the seller, or talk about the deal to anyone else who might be tempted to do the same.

As an existing property owner, this is not the first one of these they would have signed. So, presented with this question, they are either interested in the deal or not.

If they are not, the conversation would go something like the following:

 

BP: OK, well, I don’t want a whole package, I just want a bit more info to see if I’m interested.

You: I understand. To go forward though I need a signed NDNC. With that I’ll send you a deal summary with all the information about the property.

BP: I just want a bit more information. I don’t want to sign anything.

You: OK. Well let me let me know if you change your mind.

BP: (silence) Alright. Good bye.

 

So the property I’m selling will have over $1M in equity, and five figures in monthly positive cashflow once it is fully stabilized. This owner, despite being first in line and having the opportunity handed to him, has taken himself out of contention over a simple non-disclosure agreement. (Note: Watch “Accidental Empires” and Bill Gates’s response to a similar request for the the right way to handle this situation.)

Who knows why, but his behavior told us there wasn’t a lot of interest in the deal. You would think he should be interested, but whatever is going on with him in his life or in his business, for whatever reason, he was not.

It’s not your job to know why, only to recognize the buyer prospect’s interest, or the lack of it. And that is demonstrated by what they do, not what they say.

Your buyer prospects earn the right to get closer to the deal by doing all the things you ask them to do. They can say whatever they want. You are looking at what they “do”.

If the buyer prospect is interested, the conversation would go something like the following:

 

BP: Not a problem. You want to fax it over or email?

You: I can email it to you.

BP: OK. Send it to Stuart at goldenindyproperties.com

You: Stuart at goldenindyproperties.com. No problem. I’ll send it right over.

BP: OK. Talk again soon. Bye.

You: Bye.

 

Start Building Your Buyer List

For every buyer prospect on your list that responds, add them to your Buyer List. From ProspectNow, get all of their contact information and info regarding the property(s) they currently own. As they make their way through your process you also add info regarding their financial strength, cash reserves, lines of credit, and overall ability to buy.

You also add the guy who didn’t want to sign the NDNC initially. His ego is in the way for now, but he’ll probably be back in touch once he realizes the mistake he made.

Give your mailing 5 business days for the calls to come in. For those on your mailing list who have not responded, follow up with a phone call.

 

You Must Follow Up

To reap the real value in the list you have just generated and mailed to, you must follow up on the phone. The postcard may have tweaked some interest, and a few calls, but to get in contact with those who have serious interest in, and the ability to close on your deal, you will have to pro-actively get on the phone and flush them out.

It’s OK. We’re not talking about cold-calling a cold list. We are talking about making first contact with a highly-targeted prospect who, thanks to your postcard, already knows who you are and that you want to talk about something they potentially really want.

The script to use for following up with the rest of the list would be as follows:

 

BP (Buyer Prospect): Hello?

You: Hi, may I speak to Vince?

BP: This is Vince.

You: Hi Vince, this is Jerry from Colt Capital. I sent you a gold postcard 5 days ago. I was wondering if you received that?

BP: Yes, I did. I thought it was interesting. I’ve been meaning to call you.

You: OK.

BP: What’s your name, what company are you with?

You: My name is Jerry Smith. I’m with Colt Capital. We buy and sell apartment buildings in the Indianapolis area. Our objective is to provide great deals to apartment operators so you can build your portfolio more effectively.

The current deal is a 40 unit. We’re selling it for $1.7M. Fully stabilized it’s worth $4.2M. It needs $400K in repairs. Is that something you would be interested in?

BP: Yes it is. If those are the numbers, I’m interested. Do you have any more information you can send me?

You: I sure do. Before I send that out though, I need you to sign an NDNC (Non-Disclosure Non-Compete Agreement).

BP: Not a problem. You want to fax it over or email?

You: I can email it to you.

BP: OK. Send it to Vince at goldenindyproperties.com

You: Vince at goldenindyproperties.com. No problem. I’ll send it right over.

BP: OK. Talk again soon. Bye.

You: Bye.

 

After completing this call you email the NDNC, get the buyer prospect’s information from ProspectNow and enter into your Contact Manager, along with notes of the call. Schedule a follow-up call for 3 days, then make the next call on your list.

The above scenario is the basic script. There will be some back and forth while your prospect tries to get something for nothing and go around you. But ultimately, there will be interest, or there won’t. You are asking them, “is this something you would be interested in?” If the answer is not ‘yes’, ask why not. It may be a motivated seller (trying to get “out”) to follow up on later. Or, they may not be in buying mode at the moment. Ask when they will be buying again. The property may be too small, too big. Ask for their buying criteria.

 

Tools To Find Cash Buyers For Apartment Buildings

If you have the Apartment Wholesaling System, the deal you are calling with is truly a smoking hot deal, and this would reveal itself to any apartment operator after minimal research, so the law of Supply and Demand, along with Human Greed, dictate that you will have netted several serious buyers upon completing the ProspectNow generated local owner list.

If you are focusing efforts on a single target market, the above process will put you in touch with every serious buyer in that market, after 3-6 months of deal making activity.

If you are buying across the country, the above process is likewise, a way to get to the most serious buyers in that market in the shortest amount of time. Whether wholesaling a 20 unit property, or 350 units, the process is the same.

ProspectNow is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal for apartment wholesaling deals. The above process flushes out the initial group of high probability buyer prospects. Successive tests, like providing legitimate proof of funds, and paying in an assignment fee deposit, whittle the group down to the real buyer who you now have aptly incentivized to move quickly through the process and close.

This is how to find cash buyers for apartment buildings in the market you are working in. The more you use this process, the better your buyers list becomes, and you learn who the real players in your market are you can rely on to close.