(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1.)
What are the best ways to identify owners of high-probability expired listings who will be the most likely to do business with you? It’s easy if you know where to look and how to prospect for them.
A primary challenge in working with expired listings is how to locate the owner’s contact information. The second challenge is competition from other agents. Most agents prospect recently expired listings. This means the competition can be intense. The question is how to be the first person who reaches the expired listing, how to make your services stand out from competitors, and finally, how to be sure that the person you are calling is not on The National Do Not Call Registry.
A simple way to compete for expired listings is to call on listings that expired four to six months ago. A major challenge, however, is discovering whether the property has transferred, is listed with another agent, and whether the owner is on the Do Not Call Registry. You can do this yourself, but the process can be quite time consuming. A different alternative is offered by the folks at TheRedX.com.
I recently spoke to Jared Jensen of TheRedX.com. This company provides a great solution for agents who do not want to do their own legwork and who would like to receive daily updates of newly expired listings in their area. Jensen’s company covers approximately 350 Multiple Listing Services representing 90 percent of the U.S. population. Once a listing expires, their system checks the public records to determine whether a sale has been recorded. They also check title records as well. The system also monitors when the property is placed back on the market. While you could do this yourself, tracking all these details can be a very difficult task.
Subscribers receive a list of newly expired listings. The printout looks much like your e-mail list in Outlook. The list includes the property address, owners’ names, and telephone numbers. The printout identifies whether some or all owners are on the Do Not Call Registry, as approximately 45 percent of the owners will be on the list. What this means is that you can legally contact 55 percent of the owners by telephone. The other owners you will have to contact by mail. The system can also be use to scrub FSBO and call-capture leads as well.
The mailing feature on this program is attractive. You can use it to contact owners outside the area by mail or to contact those who are on the Do Not Call Registry. All you have to do is click on their mail merge program and select which of their prospecting letters that you would like to use, and the system will print the letter and the envelope for you automatically.
After locating an expired-listing lead, you must then determine what to include in your expired-listing package. Items to consider include your “Premium Marketing Plan.” This would include the 20 Web sites where you will post the listings, a customized Web site that uses the seller’s property address as the URL (i.e. www.345ElmStreet.com), as well as your print and traditional marketing programs. The point to emphasize is that maximum exposure to the market place results in maximum price to the owner. You could lead off your letter with a question like this:
Your property recently appeared as “expired” on the Any Town Multiple Listing Service. There are three reasons listings expire: price, condition, and/or marketing. Did your last agent provide your property with a Premium Marketing Plan that included exposure on 20 different Web sites, a customized Web site for your property (www.656MainStreet.com), as well as open house, post card marketing, and print advertising? If not, this may be the reason your property did not sell. If you would like to learn more about how to get your property sold now, please contact me at 800-555-1234 to learn more.
Make sure that the information that you send the seller includes a marketing calendar that outlines when the events on your Premium Marketing Plan will occur. Also, be sure to include a comparable market analysis and testimonials from past sellers.
When you meet the owner of the expired listing for a face-to-face appointment, ask detailed questions about the property. Take notes. Inquire about what they would like to see done differently in terms of marketing. If the seller vents about the past agent, never criticize the other agent. Instead, listen quietly and then explain, “This is what we do at XYZ Real Estate to get your home sold for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.”
To convert more expired-listing leads into closed business, all you really need is a system for finding them and a strong marketing plan that eliminates competitors. Helping sellers understand the market dynamics will assist you in obtaining the expired listing at the right price. Mastering this simple approach will help you generate business for years to come.
Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.