Have you ever been in the middle of buying websites on Flippa and then had one bought right out from underneath you? Before you had a chance to put in a thoughtful bid? This simple trick can keep you in the running, even if the auction is over. Being outbid can make you feel resentful or even bitter about the whole buying process. This super-simple little trick, which takes about two minutes of your time and is completely free, can turn your investing mindset around and get you back on on track to being a successful buyer.
Website for Sale: Persistence and Patience Pay
Just like buying houses, buying a website–even a small starter one–takes time, effort, and persistence. You still have to do your due diligence. When I purchased my first house, I was outbid ten times. I was successful on the eleventh try. One time, I was outbid by $100,000 for a house where the tiny kitchen drawers didn’t even open, and they had just found asbestos in the walls! This happened twenty-five years ago in the very expensive, cutthroat San Francisco Bay Area, but really??!!?. Yes, REALLY.
This Flippa buying trick requires a lot less time and heartache than buying a house in San Francisco.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the auction has closed for Brandable Tech, but the seller is still open to offers. (You can also see from the screenshot that I am a “lowballer” and simply biding my time catch the right fish for a low price. Classic lowballing technique.)
This is great, but it is even BETTER if you have already established communication with the seller and communicating on a personal level.
How Does Buying Websites on Flippa Work?
To buy websites on Flippa, there are two methods: Auctions and Classifieds. An auction has a definite end date. This trick can work for both methods.
When you are interested in a website, the first thing you do is hit the Watch button. (You can also set an alert for similar businesses so you get alerted via email when a business that fits your preferences is listed.) But watching a website does not get the attention of the seller. You are anonymous from the seller’s point of view if you are only watching. Even though we live in an online world, we still live in a transactional, person-to-person world in many ways. So, most importantly, you need to message the seller and start a conversation.
This starts an email trail (through Flippa‘s messaging system) that means that the seller can contact you (and you can contact them):
- when the auction is over and the property is not sold (did not meet the reserve price or simply bids were too low)
- the accepted winner backs out for some reason and/or the sale does not go through
- the classified ad for the website gets little to no attention, or the offers are too low, or it runs out
In other words, you can re-open negotiations, possibly more to your advantage as a buyer, by simply staying in touch with the seller via Flippa messaging. AND, even better, the seller might reach out and contact YOU, which puts you on even better footing for negotiating a good deal. Plus, there are a lot fewer people vying for the website at that point.
To get the seller’s attention and STAY on their radar, you need to interact with them through messaging.
Buying a Website on Flippa: Asking Questions
You can ask anything that starts the conversation going, as long as it is relevant, and you want to make sure to keep it short and straight to the point. Conversations I have started in the past include how much space is needed for hosting, requesting access to Google Analytics (which you can also do without opening a message at all–just click the Request GA Access button and it auto-opens a message), competitor names, and more.
Do not ask about anything that is clearly stated in the listing; this just wastes time and might tick off the seller. You want to let them me know you are a serious buyer with some valid questions and that you have taken the time to read their listing and give it your consideration.
The Waiting Game
Once you have messaged the seller, just sit back and wait. That website might come back around to you at a considerably better price (or downright cheap!) with much less competition.
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Disclaimer: All the information provided above and on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional investment, legal, or tax advice. You should conduct your own research or consult with a professional financial advisor when investing.