This article was last updated Dec. 5, 2022.
The agent who controls the listings controls the market. In other words, if you’re looking to have the best year of your career in 2023, you’re going to need more listings.
With a mix of old-school and new-school areas of focus, these 22 strategies will help you stay top-of-mind, connect with the right people and scoop up more listings this year.
1. Listings that expired within the past 6 to 24 months
When a listing expires in the MLS, the seller receives dozens — or more — of calls from agents looking to relist the home for the sellers. The onslaught of calls can be overwhelming to sellers, and they can become numb to the process of speaking to agents.
But most agents stop calling if the seller does not relist the home within a few weeks. The calls are minimal to zero once the home has not been relisted for sale within six months of expiration.
This creates an opportunity for agents willing to do a little homework, because even if the home was overpriced six months ago, odds are the value has changed dramatically since the home was listed for sale.
Start by searching for listings that expired six to 24 months ago, and search the tax records and the MLS to make sure the home was not relisted or sold since it expired. Then make a simple call with a script similar to this:
Hi, Mr. or Mrs. Seller, this is (agent name) with (company name). I saw that you had your house for sale last year, and I was calling to see if you still planned to sell it at some point in the future.
2. Unsolicited video CMAs
One of the best ways to add value to homeowners is by providing them with a personalized home valuation. If you are looking to take this to the next level, provide them with a video where you record your screen, and go through their updated valuation, showing them the comparable homes and their potential net after closing costs.
I used BombBomb to do this in the fourth quarter of 2018, and I did one for every day that I worked that quarter. I ended up doing 72 video unsolicited CMAs, and within six months, I generated over $11 million in listings directly from these unsolicited video CMAs. It works.
To see the article, I wrote going over this strategy in detail, you can click here.
3. Homebot for past buyers
Keeping in touch with past buyers on a consistent basis leads to future listings. One of the best ways to provide consistent and valuable information about your past buyer’s home is through Homebot.
Homebot delivers personalized insights on the value of their home along with actionable steps to help them make the best decisions possible about one of their most valuable assets.
The report is like a brokerage account report for equities and bonds from a financial company. The detail of the Homebot monthly emails comes with your branding and drives home the idea that you are the professional resource for your client.
4. Just-sold messages using Slybroadcast
Activity breeds activity. Our ability to let homeowners know about recently closed sales in their neighborhood positions us as the agent of choice if they are considering selling.
We all know phone calls are an extremely effective way to stay top-of-mind for potential listings, but finding the time to reach 50 to 100 homeowners by phone is difficult.
Slybroadcast provides the opportunity to record one voicemail message and drop it in the voicemail boxes of as many people as we’d like. The process involves gathering the phone numbers of the homeowners you wish to leave the voicemail for. Upload those numbers from a spreadsheet to Slybroadcast. Record your voicemail, and schedule the time for it to go out.
The cost varies depending upon the number of voicemails you plan to send, but around 10 cents per voicemail makes this extremely affordable compared to the cost of producing and mailing postcards. The script for the call could be something like this:
This is (agent name) with (agent company), and we wanted to make sure you knew that your neighbor at (address) just sold their home for (sales price), which has moved the value of the homes in the neighborhood up dramatically. We had multiple offers on the home and have some buyers that missed out that may be willing to pay a premium for a home in the neighborhood like yours.
If you are curious about how this sale moved your price up, please give me a call at (your phone number), and I will be glad to provide you with a free, no-obligation updated valuation analysis of your home. Again, this is (agent name) with (agent company), and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
5. Social media marketing home-needed posts
Most agents have buyers that they have been unable to find the perfect home for. Social media provides an easy way to go the extra mile for your buyer clients and to potentially uncover some listing opportunities. A post like the following is a great way to find your next listing:
I could really use your help! I’ve got clients looking for a four-bedroom home in (area of your city or neighborhood). They are ready to buy, and I just haven’t been able to find them the perfect place. If you or someone you know has a home, they would consider selling meeting this criteria, please private message me for a confidential update on your home’s value. Thanks in advance for the help!
6. Probate listings
Probate is the process of settling an estate after someone passes away. This process involves the transfer of real estate to heirs or a sale by the estate. The probate process involves the court appointing an executor of the estate who is given the right to sell the property.
Many of these probate cases will have a desire to sell so they can settle debts of the estate or pass cash along to the heirs. This is a great opportunity to assist estates and generate listings.
7. Real estate farming your own neighborhood
Farming is a foundational piece of almost every top-producing agent I know. Don’t overlook the opportunity to farm your own neighborhood.
Many of your neighbors already know, like, and trust you, so make sure you are not neglecting the opportunities that are literally closest to home.
8. SmartZip (predictive analytics)
There are certain activities or searches that are made leading up to someone contacting a real estate agent to list their home.
What if there was a way to leverage those activities to be able to target the people who are most likely to list their home for sale in the next year based on their actions? There is a way to target these homeowners — and SmartZip is a great way to do so.
Utilizing big data and predictive analytics, SmartZip states it has a 72 percent prediction accuracy rate on who is preparing to sell their home. A tool like SmartZip gives you the ability to target your marketing efforts to the most likely to list homeowners providing a tremendous opportunity to generate more listings in the coming year.
Many long-term rentals are managed by the owner of the homes or condos they are advertising for rent. Contacting these owners is a great way to find investors who are usually buying and selling properties on a relatively consistent basis.
A phone call to these owners can generate conversations that lead to assisting them with the sale of one or more of their properties or in helping them find their next investment property to purchase.
10. Circle prospecting
Tried-and-true is the way I would describe the strategy of circle prospecting. The term circle prospecting comes from the old-school way I used to prospect by taking a map with the subject property I was calling about and circling the 20 to 30 houses closest to the subject home.
Call with information about a home for sale, a home that went under contract or a home that recently sold near their home. Here is an example of the script I use when a home comes on the market:
Hi Mr. or Mrs. Homeowner, my name is (agent name) with (agent’s company). We just listed the home at (address) for sale, and we are calling the neighbors to make sure you are aware of it coming on the market in case you have friends or family who may be looking to buy in your neighborhood.
We wanted to give all the people in the neighborhood the opportunity to help pick their future neighbors. Do you know of anyone I should share the information about this home with?
This is a great way to uncover buyer leads, but be sure to end the call with the following:
By the way, I would be the worst real estate agent in the world if I didn’t at least ask if there is a price where you might consider selling.
Circle prospecting works whether you are calling about an open house, new listing, pending contract or a recent sale in the neighborhood that moved the value of their home.
11. 3- to 7-year-old tract built neighborhoods
One of the best ways to generate listings is to make sure you are adding value in areas where there is limited competition. Neighborhoods where the builder’s onsite sales team moves to the next neighborhood when the current neighborhood sells out are a great place to find listing opportunities.
The onsite agent has moved on, so many of these homeowners are “orphan” opportunities because they do not have an agent they know, like and trust servicing their neighborhood.
These neighborhoods currently have a lot of equity if they were built in the past three to seven years, and many of these owners will be looking to rotate into another home in the 3- to 7-year window. Targeting these neighborhoods provides a great opportunity to find your next farming neighborhood.
12. Open houses
Open houses do help sell houses, but they are just as likely to uncover listing opportunities with neighbors. Neighbors who are considering selling will come to open houses to gauge how their home compares to the home hosting the open house. The key is to identify the neighbors from the potential buyers when possible.
This can be accomplished by inviting owners in the neighborhood to see the home 30 minutes before the general public open house begins. Notify them by mailer, door-knocking or a phone call to let them know homeowners in the neighborhood are welcome to come 30 minutes prior to the open house so they can avoid the crowds during the general open house.
This is a simple way to identify the other homeowners in the neighborhood that may consider selling their homes.
BoldLeads is an online lead source that identifies homeowners who are looking for a valuation opinion on their home. The leads are then passed onto the agents who’ve paid for them.
These are online leads, so you will need to work a number of them to find the ones that are ready to list, but this is a great way to build a database of homeowners that leads to listings now or in the future.
14. Divorce leads
National statistics show that 1.2 million U.S. couples get divorced every year, and 61 percent of them list their home for sale. Although this statistic is sad, this means there are roughly 732,000 divorcing couples listing their homes for sale in the coming year.
Develop relationships with divorce attorneys, and offer services like free valuation analysis for these attorney’s clients to generate listings. This is an area where the sale of the home for the divorcing couple can help them move on from the relationship and step into the next chapter of their lives.
15. Out-of-town homeowners
Out-of-town homeowners are less emotionally attached to these homes than most primary residence owners are. This creates an opportunity when we are in the current part of the real estate cycle where prices have rapidly increased.
Providing updated valuation analysis to these homeowners has the potential to be a target rich environment in the coming year.
16. For-sale-by-owners (FSBO)
For-sale-by-owners are raising their hand and saying they want to sell their home. Many lack the marketing, negotiation and legal knowledge needed to get their homes sold, so many of them eventually list with an agent.
Developing a plan of action to show your value and consistency will lead to listings for your business.
17. Out-of-town lot owners
Out-of-town lot owners are even less emotional about the property than out-of-town homeowners mentioned above. This is a great place to generate listings and one of the most common places I’ve looked for listings throughout my career.
18. Build a relationship with a builder
Along the lines of the out-of-town lot owners is building a relationship with builders who are building spec homes.
One of the biggest challenges builders have is finding lots. By asking builders what type of lots they are looking for, you can begin to add value to the builders and build a relationship that leads to listing their spec homes for them.
19. Leads group
Leads groups like BNI are a great place to find people in other businesses that are looking to grow.
The premise of the group is that at each meeting you must bring at least one lead or referral to a member of the group. By working together, everyone in the group should see their business grow.
20. Expired listings
I mentioned the six- to 24-month-old expired listings at the beginning of this article, but don’t sleep on the opportunity expiring listings present on the day they expire. Most of these homes will be relisted, and your ability to communicate value to these homeowners will lead to listings.
Door-knocking involves going door to door with something of value for the homeowner. This could be a market report, open house or sale information or a neighborhood sales report.
Although many are hesitant to try this strategy, nothing beats face-to-face communication with potential sellers, and door-knocking will provide you opportunities.
22. Top 25 VIP list
There are 25 people in your sphere of influence or past clients who will send you referrals if you are top-of-mind for them. By providing small gifts or thank-you cards for sending referrals, this group will feed your business.
A great way to stay in contact with this list is to call, text or private message one of these members every business day. This means having a personal contact with each of them about every five weeks. This strategy ensures that you will be consistent in your communication and relationship with this valuable group of people.
If your business is to be all that you want it to be this year, generating listings will be a big part of your growth. Implement one or many of these tried-and-true strategies — and you will have your best year ever.