Expired listings are critical to healthy real estate success. In fact, some agents focus exclusively on expired listings when they first start, and it helps their career take off. Expired listings sellers have already made the hardest decision they have to make — the decision to sell their property — and all you have to do is seize the opportunity. Here’s how.

Expired listings are critical to healthy real estate success. In fact, I focused exclusively on expired listings when I first started in the business, and they are how I got my career off the ground.

To this day, expired listings are what I train my team members to strive for from the day they walk through the door.

Why are expired listings so valuable? Because they are the holy grail of sales: the “warm lead.” Expired listings sellers have already made the hardest decision they have to make — the decision to sell their property. There is no time wasted trying to convince them that now is the time to sell or that a real estate broker can net 18 percent more than they can on their own.”

They’ve already decided to sell, and more importantly, they’ve already decided to give a broker a shot. All you need to do is show them why what you and your team does is better than what they’ve already experienced.

I find there are usually three reasons why a listing doesn’t sell in New York City: marketing, price and a lack of cooperation with co-brokers. So, if you can convince the sellers how you’ll do better on each of these points, you’re in a good position to take another shot at the expired listing.

In many cases, I would prefer to be the second agent on a listing rather than the first. If a property has been listed once, you’ve seen how it performs, what went well and what didn’t. I mean, would you rather fight Mike Tyson in his prime and fresh out of the locker room? Or would you rather watch him go a few rounds before you got in the ring?

Here are a few tips for making an expired listing your next closed sale:

1. Find those leads

Invest in your business by working with a reputable third-party service that provides you with expired listing owner information — specifically name, phone number, cell phone and email. Efficiency is key, so do your research to find the best firm.

Remember that time is money. I won’t bore you with a “back in my day” story, but when I started in 2006, I had to scour and research all types of websites to find numbers. Today, you pay for a subscription, and they do all of that work for you! Invest in your business and save your time for more productive work. It’s worth it!

2. Make contact

When should we be making these phone calls? To me, the obvious answer is: When the majority of people are home or available to speak. Assuming most people work a 9-to-5 job, calling after 5 p.m. and on the weekends is likely most efficient. That doesn’t mean you can’t call at other times — just understand you might get a lot of voicemails.

Do not be afraid to knock on doors either. If you do, partner up with someone. Create a bunch of listing presentations and have them with you ready to go. If there is a listing in your farm or in the area you want to become well-known in, then go to the house and introduce yourself to the owner! If you don’t, someone else will.

3. Add value

You must have a system for demonstrating what you would do differently. Print the expired listing, grab a highlighter and highlight everything that you would do better. Does it need more photos or better photos? Is the price too high? Is the co-broke too low? Is the information accurate and compelling? Did the previous broker abbreviate the entire description like it’s 1995?

If you’re prepared with this kind of information, you’ll have a solid grasp of at least some of the things that went wrong the first time. Then, when you do get the appointment, you can compare it to what you would do better, putting yourself in a great position for securing the listing.

4. Practice, practice, practice

You need to understand that the key to success is practice. Make the calls, and even if you fail, keep making the calls. All you need is a 10 percent success rate to make six figures with expired listings.

This is real estate 101 — it’s a numbers game. Every “no” leads to a “yes.” Look at your marketplace, figure out the average “success fee” earned on a listing side transaction. Now, figure out how many expired listings you would need to secure and sell to reach your monetary goal.

If someone came up to you and asked you to make 1,000 phone calls a year, and they’d pay you $250,000, would you do it? That’s a clear response: Yes, of course you would! Well, that’s what expired listings are, they are warm leads who want to sell and all you need to do is call them. So, why aren’t you?

Lou Belisario is a licensed associate real estate agent at Compass in New York. Follow the Belisario Team on Instagram and Twitter

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