Real Estate Investment News & Blog

A Super Motivated Seller: The Burned Out Landlord

Connecting with burned out landlords can lead to finding some great deals and buying houses directly from motivated sellers. And believe me, there are plenty of burned out landlords in the real estate business.

Have you ever been a burned out landlord? I once was.

My very first duplex caused my “burn out” in 1990. I wanted to jump into real estate, but I had no training and no clue how to do it. I jumped in anyway and quickly became burned out as I learned by going to the so-called “school of hard knocks.”

I had to learn about repairs, finding tenants, and collecting rent. But I had no one to teach me so I learned by doing, rather than through intentional education or coaching.

Once I educated myself and really learned the real estate investing business, I began to love the property management side of our investing model. And we LOVE “burned out” landlords.

Here are three ways to connect with burned out landlords:

1. Mattresses and the Sheriff

As you are driving around in the morning be on the look-out for mattresses and other junk being moved out of a house. You are really in luck if there is a police car and Sheriff still at the property. What would this be a sign of? An active crime scene? No, but it could be a great place to find a burned out landlord.

Find a landlord changing out locks, talking with a Sheriff, or carrying out a mattress and you will likely be at an active eviction.

Take a few minutes and stop to talk to the landlord. Ask him if he needs some help and build a conversation that leads to your asking him if he wants to sell his house to you.  Catching him during an active eviction means he is likely to be a motivated seller and you can help solve his problems by buying the house.

2. The Courthouse

super motivated sellers

Watch for landlords processing their unlawful detainers. They can be very motivated sellers.

Have you ever been to court for an unlawful detainer and witnessed another landlord being given a very hard time by a judge? If so, you have likely found another motivated seller who has just become a burned out landlord.

Follow him outside the courthouse and ask if you can help solve his problem by buying his house without any real estate commission, you can buy it as-is and at a fair price. You will have his attention and an opportunity to buy a house.

A variation of this lead generation technique is to hang out at the clerk’s office and watch for landlords processing their unlawful detainers. Build the conversation and see if you can buy their house.

3. For Rent or For Sale?

I have bought a lot of houses directly from owners looking to rent houses. I call a lot of “For Rent” signs while driving around and simply tell the owner I am looking to a buy a house in this area and then ask if he knows anyone looking to sell. This works especially well if the house has been obviously vacant for a long-time or needs a lot of deferred maintenance or repairs.

This process for finding burned out landlords can be extended to calling directly from the “For Rent” section in your local newspaper or Craigslist. It can also be automated using a texting or calling service to leave a message to a list of landlords looking to rent houses using a service such as Voice Shot.

Are you ready to go out and find some houses to buy?  Finding burned out landlords is true guerrilla marketing because it is very cheap and also effective. Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you. Learning to generate leads from motivated sellers is a journey, and marketing for burned out landlords is one way to connect with truly motivated sellers.

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About the Author...

Jim Ingersoll is a real estate entrepreneur who has bought and sold hundreds of homes. He is the author of Investing Now and Cash Flow Now (both available at, and enjoys speaking and coaching others on how to obtain their financial freedom.

You can visit Jim at and

You can find Jim on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Kjell "Shell" Nelson says:

    Excellent article; all to many times, the inexperienced “owners” are the “best” sellers. However, one must be careful to not appear to be taking advantage of the situation……….. as in the eyes of the court……. you can be perceived as a “professional”, and thus run the risk of the transaction being “reversed” if the “seller” proves that you intentionally knew or deliberately took advantage.

    There is case law that has set precedence, especially in “hard” economic times.

    • tenzin says:

      She’ll, u still kicking, it’s your old partner, Tenzin….. Portfolio lending group….. Hope all is well

  2. Jim Ingersoll says:


    Glad you liked it and thanks a lot for sharing. Burned out landlords are an excellent source for buying houses.

    One other thing with the burned out landlords is sometimes you can buy a package of houses just by asking them if they have other rentals they would like to sell. They are also accustomed to receiving monthly payments and may be a good source of seller financing leads as well.


  3. Martin says:

    Im very thankful that i found this website, to be honest, you have all the information needed by any investor, regardless of how long you have been in Real Estate Investing.The information is explained in a simple format that everyone who knows how to read can get a point.Thanks once again and keep feeding and educating us with this Wealthy Information.

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