Expired listings can be a goldmine of leads. Here you have sellers motivated by a real need—their house isn’t selling! This gives the most important ingredient for successful selling—urgency.
If you can pick up these leads, you can easily turn a profit. Many expired listings may be expired not because the house is bad, but may simply have had a poor price, or insufficient exposure. The right agent can quickly turn these around.
An awful lot can be written on expired listings, but what’s most important is to start with the fundamentals—the essentials of convincing expired listing sellers they should do business with you, and not the tens of other agents wanting their business.
One: Understand what expired listing sellers need
The starting point is understanding what these sellers are after. If you fail to get this right, you can’t make an accurate pitch and you’re beaten before you start.
It’s not just “They want to sell their house.” That’s certainly the end goal, of course, but any realtor can promise them that. Ten more realtors are going to send them letters saying just that. To stand out from the crowd, you need to go beyond and break it down a little. The better way to approach this is answering “What do they want in a realtor?” There are two important points.
First, an expired lister wants a realtor who knows what they’re doing. This goes without saying—if they had this in the first place they might not be in this position.
To be specific, they need a realtor who can see why their home did not sell in the first place. Was it priced too high? Did the home have some obvious defects? Was it not staged enough? They need a realtor who can see these faults and offer them a way to solve them, not just a realtor who sticks the property back on the market as-is and hopes for the best.
Second, they want a realtor who is persistent. Their home may have some slight defects that have kept it from selling. It may take a persistent realtor to get the best price. It will also take a persistent realtor to work through any red tape attached to short sale issues but most of all they need to know you will be there for them.
Two: Show how specific you can meet these needs
What will qualify you to meet these points? This is the second essential, and the one where it pays to do some critical thinking. Here are five ways to show you’re the right realtor. If you have one? Great. If you have all five—even better.
1. Track record in the neighborhood
Obviously, a track record counts for a lot. To be specific, being able to show you’ve consistently sold homes in the lister’s neighborhood will count for more than most anything else you could mention. So start collecting those success stories—you’ll need them.
2. Track record in dealing with expired listing problems
There are many reasons why houses do not sell. They may be priced incorrectly, they may be short sales and subject to more red tape, or they might be simply marketed incorrectly. If you have specific expertise in these areas, this can be a real boon to sellers looking for these skills in an agent.
Even if the particular expired lister does not have one of these specific problems, they can still be impressed by them. A realtor who has the persistence and skill to handle short sales and get an expired listing over the line, can be reasonably expected to have the competency to handle many other expired listing problems.
3. Pricing history
Because incorrect pricing is a major contributing factor to expired listings, having a detailed understanding of pricing history for the specific neighborhood will be a real boon when convincing expired listers. This is always worth mentioning in any initial contact. You can do one better, however.
4. Detailed local market knowledge
Beyond pricing trends, why are these houses priced as they are? Is there a common thread between the highest earners?
If you can discuss in a pricing report the factors that have led to a particular pricing trend in a neighborhood—and relate it to your prospect’s current situation, you’ll be much more impressive (and more interesting to read, to boot) than anyone who simply regurgitates figures.
5. Demonstrated persistence
How long will you persevere in the case of problems? While very important to communicate, this is a skill best shown, not told. You can do so by repeated follow-up that most realtors just won’t do. Show your persistence by taking a look at our follow up guide here!