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Put another way: why would anyone be willing to sell at a price that would make it extremely attractive to a potential landlord? Why wouldn't they run the math and try to price it at a level near the margin of what a potential landlord would accept?

I can't answer for everyone, but the folks who sold me their double needed to get out from under the payments. Desperately.

1. They had thought they sold the house to someone who, apparently, couldn't actually qualify for financing.

2. Based on their belief that their house was sold, they moved out of state.

3. The sale fell through. They found themselves responsible for 2 mortgages, two water bills, etc. and taxes were due in a couple months (another $1000).

4. They hired a real estate agent (while remaining out of state) and put the house on the market at a sell-it-quick $80K (that type of house generally sold for $85K to $105K at the time).

5. The following week the price dropped to $75K.

6. I pounced, smelling a deal. I saw it, made an offer, and it got accepted.

Apparently the offer was high enough to allow them to pay off what they owed on the property, which was all they wanted at that point.

Many buyers would have asked the sellers to clean up the house, maybe paint it, etc. I requested none of that - I simply made an offer, as is, to take it off their hands. Mind you, this house needed some work (fortunately, the kind of work that I'm good at) and there was a lot of clean-up to be done. It looked like they had moved in a hurry.

It may not have been the wisest move on their part, but the deal accomplished what they needed. That's the key - every seller needs *something* out of the sale, and that "something" is not necessarily the highest price possible. If you can find out what that "something" is and make it happen, you can get a good deal. In their case, all they wanted was a guaranteed sale that would allow them to pay it off and get on with their relocated lives.

I've run across two sellers like this. Unfortunately, on the second one, another buyer made a better offer than I did (although mine was higher). The other offer didn't require an inspection - and the seller didn't want to risk the sale falling through due to something that turned up on the inspection. What really stinks about that deal is it was even BETTER than my current property (it was a duplex in better shape than my rental that I could have owned for $64,000) and I knew that the inspection wouldn't turn up anything I couldn't deal with. I just didn't trust my own inspecting skills sufficiently at that point in time to make the offer without a safety net. If I had that same deal in front of me today, I'd jump on it. I'm still kicking myself. :(

You do get better at this sort of thing, with practice.

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