Getting out and finding sellers before they list can be a lot of work — but so is writing 40 offers and only having one of them go through. Here’s how to find potential listings without spending large amounts of money.

These are unprecedented times in the real estate world. In almost all markets across the country, there’s a lack of sellers, an overflow of buyers, and just simply too few houses to satisfy the massive demand.

What does this mean for agents working with buyers? Your clients are coming up against some stiff competition with every home they put an offer in on. 

In some markets, it’s just mildly annoying with a few other offers here and there. In others, it’s more frustrating, with multiple offers on every property you make an offer on. Then there are the crazy markets, where the expectations include 30 to 40 offers pouring in. 

Those last ones are the markets where the sales are going 10 to 15 percent over the asking price, and in some situations, if you are not an all-cash offer, then you have no chance of winning the deal at all. 

For real estate agents who work mostly with buyers and for buyer-heavy teams, this situation can only be described as an emergency. Your livelihood is based on your ability to successfully get your buyers into the homes they want. And right now, your livelihood is at stake. 

So, what can you do about it? In this article, we’re going over several emergency real estate strategies to keep your business moving during these tough times without spending large amounts of money on paid leads and marketing.

What’s the problem?

Compared to seller’s agents, buyer’s agents are always constrained by the fact that they are physically showing houses to their clients and taking the time to research and find the best houses that meet their clients’ needs and wants.

They also have to take the time to write offers. So, if you’re writing 10 to 15 offers without one going through, then you’ve got a large strain on your time with nothing to show for it. In other words, how do buyer’s agents and teams keep their businesses afloat and thriving in the current crazy market? That’s the problem we’re trying to solve.

1. Cold real estate prospecting: Call expired listings 

Because it’s such a strong seller’s market right now, one of the best ways to successfully make deals for your buyers is to find homes that aren’t yet listed. There are several ways you can do this, but it’s important to remember to make it clear to the seller that you represent the buyers and have a responsibility to them, not the sellers.

The first strategy for cold real estate prospecting is contacting expired listingsThere may not be many expireds in your market right now because homes are selling so easily. With that said, it’s worth checking out.

It’s also a good idea to call past expired listings from previous years. Contact listings that expired in 2017, 2018 or 2019 and ask if they would still like to sell their home. There’s a good possibility that some people don’t even realize what’s happening in the market right now.

You may even find homeowners with expired listings who aren’t interested in listing their home but who may be open to having you bring a buyer by the house.

2. Look through withdrawn FSBOs

In most markets, for sale by owners (FSBOs) are most likely having an easier-than-normal time selling their homes. However, similar to expired listings, there still may be some who are having trouble for a number of different reasons. Also, similar to the strategy for expired listings, go through withdrawn FSBO listings from previous years.

Again, you may find people whose homes were taken off the market and who may feel reluctant to go through the process again. You might also find people who don’t understand what’s going on around them in the real estate world.

Believe it or not, there are people who don’t watch the news or scroll through social media. They either don’t know about the current seller’s market or don’t quite understand what it means for them. 

It’s your job to educate them and then tell them they don’t have to go through the stressful process of selling their home again because you have a buyer who is very interested in their home right now. 

3. Go door-knocking 

In addition to calling expired listings and FSBOs, you also need to keep your ear to the ground in your market. Contact rental property owners to see if they would rather sell than rent because of the current market.

If they seem like reluctant landlords, then they may be open to having your buyer stop by. Look for things like for-rent-by-owner signs and people handling home improvement projects. Talk to your network to see if anyone knows anyone who is thinking of selling. Pull out all the stops. 

If your market allows it, get out there, go door-knocking, and start trying to make new contacts. Remember, your goal is to find properties whose owners are willing to sell but who haven’t listed them yet.

How to find more sellers, too 

What’s great about these strategies is that they also give you the potential opportunity to sign seller clients. Even if your first or second buyer doesn’t end up putting in an offer on the house, as you’re bringing buyers by these properties that aren’t even listed, the owner may suddenly become open to listing their home.

When they see you bringing buyers by and recognize your initiative, they might come to the realization that, even if your initial buyers fall through, you’re the person to sign with to get their property sold.

Aren’t these strategies too much work, though?

Getting out and finding sellers before they list can be a lot of work. But so is writing 40 offers and only having one of them go through. These strategies aren’t necessarily more work, they are just different work — and they may have a better chance of bearing fruit than what you are currently doing. 

Calling expireds and FSBOs, finding reluctant landlords and reaching out to your network to find potential sellers are all ways that you can find homes for your buyers without spending large amounts of money purchasing leads.

The current market calls for creative strategies that involve thinking outside the box or doing things you wouldn’t normally do.  

Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales and the current director of lead generation for Global Living Companies at Keller Williams in Philadelphia. Follow him on Facebook or checkout his Facebook group.

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