Expired listing scripts

Among the strategies for getting more listings, expired listings is commonly mentioned. It’s a polarizing topic with agents because, similar to FSBOs, cold outreach to sellers with expired listings isn’t always pleasant. The prickly nature of these prospects turns off many agents, however, there are many agents that have quietly used expired listing strategies to win listing after listing…and it’s those results, that we’re here to explore.

Turning sellers’ assumptions and anxieties about realtors on their head requires more than just small talk and a smooth voice. It’s about demonstrating, that you’re not like the rest and genuinely invested in a seller’s success.

This is where using scripts can help. Not because these are the magic words that will win over every seller. Instead it’s because you’ll have the words ready for most every scenario and/or disgruntled seller’s objection. And while you may not recite these words verbatim, you will have concepts to pick from. And then you can focus on delivery and empathizing with your prospect.

Expired listing scripts

We’ve also included videos of real estate sales superstars like Ricky Carruth and Brian Borino live cold calling expired listings so check it out!

So here’s a little roadmap on how we’re going to help you win over more sellers with expired listings scripts:

What are expired listings?

Expired listings refer to properties that were listed for sale on the real estate market but did not sell within the term of the listing agreement between the homeowner and the listing agent. When the agreement expires without the property being sold or the listing term not being extended, the property is taken off the market and becomes an “expired listing.”

Several reasons can lead to a listing becoming expired:

  1. Overpricing: The property might have been priced too high compared to its actual market value or similar homes in the area.
  2. Property Condition: The property might be in poor condition, making it less attractive to potential buyers.
  3. Ineffective Marketing: The listing agent may not have marketed the property effectively, resulting in fewer potential buyers being aware of the listing.
  4. Economic or Market Conditions: In slow real estate markets or economic downturns, listings are more likely to expire because fewer people are buying homes.
  5. Uncooperative Sellers: Sometimes sellers might be too restrictive about showing times, unwilling to negotiate, or hesitant to make necessary repairs, all of which can deter potential buyers.

Real estate agents often pursue expired listings as potential leads, believing that the homeowner might still be motivated to sell and might consider relisting with a new agent. Agents will approach homeowners of expired listings with the hope of securing a new listing agreement and successfully selling the property where the previous agent did not.

Expired listing scripts

We’re going to get into a bunch of expired listing scripts here as well as some videos that really capture the tone and style of executing the call, but remember these scripts are interchangeable and meant as a guide. You can modify and adjust as you see fit.

Here are a couple expired listing scripts from legendary coach, Tom Ferry.

Agent: Hi _____, I noticed your home was no longer on the market. I was calling to see… do you still want to sell it?

[If it is clear they are getting lots of calls, use these effective lines to defuse the frustration]

Agent: Are you getting a lot of calls?

Seller: [probably will respond YES with obvious annoyance]

[defuse their annoyance with humor]

Agent: These agents are like rats coming out of the woodwork…aren’t they? Can you imagine if you had to work with these people everyday like I do.

[then get into the seller’s motivation]

Agent: If you… sold this home… where would you be going to next?

Seller: [typically responds with vague details on their plan]

Agent: What is your time frame to be moved?

Seller: [responds with timing]

Agent: …Ouch

[now set up your pitch]

Agent: Why do you think your home did not sell?

Seller: [explains their theory]

Agent: Really? And how did you pick the last agent?

Seller: [explains their criteria]

Agent: That obviously didn’t qualify them to sell your home [say in half joking tone]. Has anyone told you exactly why your home did not sell?

Seller: [reiterates their theory]

Agent: Great. The only reason a home does not sell in today’s market is because of exposure…did you know that?

Seller: [they will typically agree half-heartedly]

Agent: If I can show you how to upgrade your exposure to the market and get your home sold would that be of interest to you?

Seller: [they will typically agree …again half-heartedly]

Agent: Perfect! Let’s meet for 15-20 minutes so you can see exactly what it will take to… sell your home. [give a few times for the seller to decide from – sooner is better]

This Tom Ferry script is specific to a very recently expired listing (ideally you’re calling the day after it expired).

Agent: Hi, I’m [Name] with [Company]. I’m sure you know your home came up today as an expired listing… and I was curious… if I wrote an all cash, great terms offer yesterday… where would you be moving to?

Seller: [typically responds with vague details on their plan]

Agent: Is that something you’d still like to do?

Seller: [they will typically agree half-heartedly]

Agent: I’ve discovered there’s only 3 reasons a great home like yours doesn’t sell.
– The Marketing and Exposure on the home wasn’t enough to attract the buyers and agents in the area.
– The home didn’t show well or capture the buyer’s emotions…
– The pricing strategy… I’m curious. There are 2 ways to price… High for negotiations or Fair Market Price to create a potential bidding war. Which did your agent recommend?

Seller: [they respond usually justifying some decision that was made]

Agent: Bottom line is if I can market it properly and sell your home in the next 30 days, would it be worth it for us to sit down and explore it?

Seller: [they will typically agree half-heartedly]

Agent: Perfect! Let’s meet for 15-20 minutes so you can see exactly what it will take to… sell your home. [give a few times for the seller to decide from – sooner is better]

Here’s an open ended expired script that you can use to get the conversation going in the right direction. You can add in a closing (confirming an appointment) that seems appropriate for the situation.

Agent: Hi. I am looking for [seller’s name]. This is [your name] with [company]. I noticed your home was no longer posted online and I was calling to see is it on or off the market?

Seller: [probably will confirm that it’s off the market with some annoyance]

Agent: Are you getting a lot of calls?

Seller: [probably will respond YES with obvious annoyance]

Agent: You may be asking yourself… where were these agents when my home was on the market, right?

Seller: [probably will respond YES with obvious annoyance]

Agent: If you had sold this home where were you moving to?
Seller: [typically responds with vague details on their plan with annoyance]

[keep probing]

Agent: If I brought you an all cash buyer, close in 30 days, where would you like to move to?

Seller: [typically shares their new location… hopefully with less annoyance]

Agent: What was your original time frame to sell and be moved?

Seller: [typically elaborates on their plan]

Agent: Ouch!/Really? Why do you think your home did not sell?

Seller: [explains their theory]

Agent: Really? How did you pick the last agent you listed with?

Seller: [explains their criteria]

Agent: Knowing what you now know… what will you expect from the next agent you choose?

Seller: [explains their new criteria]

Agent: What type of feedback did you get from the people who saw your home? Tell me more about that.

Seller: [explains feedback]

[now you can loop this into one of the closing approaches from the other scripts]

Tristan Ahumada from Lab Coat Agents, also has some great expired scripts. Here’s one that also includes a few common types of seller push-backs when trying to lock down the appointment.

Agent: Hi, this is [your name] with [brokerage], how are you?

Seller: [“fine” but clearly already slightly annoyed]

Agent: Excellent! Well, I’m calling about your home that is no longer on the market. Did you sell the home?

Seller: [almost always “No”]

Agent: I’m sorry to hear that. I’m not calling to rush you back into another contract, I was calling to see how I can help. Why do you think your home didn’t sell this last time?

Seller: [explains their theory and now clearly annoyed]

Agent: What did your agent do that you liked best?

Seller: [shares what they liked – still annoyed]

Agent: What do you feel they should have done?

Seller: [almost always some version of “Sold my home”]

Agent: I Understand, are you familiar with the techniques we use which helped us sell 110 Homes last year?

Seller: [almost always some version of “No” still annoyed…but hopefully now intrigued]

Agent: Well, we do things differently than other realtors, one thing we do to increase the exposure of all the homes we sell is to place them on the international MLS. Which the majority of agents don’t know exists. When would be a good time to show you all of other techniques, today or tomorrow at 5pm?

Seller: [almost always a brush off like “Not today, we want to take it slow”]

Agent: So, if I can show you how to sell your home in the time that you need, wouldn’t that benefit you?

Seller: [almost always some version of “Yes” …but hopefully very intrigued]

Agent: Great, would today at 5pm or 6 be better for you?

Seller: [likely another brush off like “No, we want to wait” …but hopefully very intrigued]

Agent: So, you mean that if I brought you a full price offer you wouldn’t take it?

Seller: [almost always some version of “well yes” …and hopefully still intrigued]

Agent: Ok. I have time tomorrow at 5pm or 6pm which time is better for you?

Here we have Krista Schrader from Lab Coat Agents talking about Expired Scripts and how to dial in your approach to these calls so you can maximize success.

And here’s another script for expireds that’s similar to above but adds some more empathy before going in for the close.

Agent: Good morning [seller’s name]! This is [your name] with [brokerage]. How are you this morning?

Seller: [again usually says “fine” – already slightly annoyed]

Agent: Awesome! I’m great as well thank you for asking. I saw your home at [insert address] just came off the the market. Why didn’t it sell? And did you have any offers?

Seller: [explains their theory and describes if any offers – their guard is up by now]

[If needed probe deeper without being too pushy or accusatory]

Agent: What was the particular reason it didn’t sell?

Seller: [explains their theory in more detail]

Agent: What was the reason for having the home on the market? Were you moving out of state or is this a rental?
Seller: [typically responds with vague details on their plan]

Agent: I know it’s extremely frustrating and I’m sure you want to move to [insert destination] because of [repeat their reason], is that still the plan?

Seller: [typically responds that this is still the plan]

Agent: Great I figured. I make these calls everyday and have help a lot of people like you sell when they’ve cancelled their contact or their contact has expired. I work for a top brokerage here in town and honestly have specialized in properties that have come off the market because I saw the need for the specialization. There is always a way for us to get your home sold and get you the net you want at closing, and….in a time frame that wont be [insert previous days on market] like you dealt with before. I’m going to be in your neighborhood this evening and again tomorrow. What day or time would work for me to stop by real quick take a look and get a marketing game plan together to get you to [price or terms goal the seller would like to achieve]?

If you haven’t heard of Brian Borino from Real Estate Rockstars, he’s a master of sales and scripting and his Real Estate Agent Development focused Facebook Group Real Estate Rockstars is a great resource in general. Here he introduces the concept of going after Expired Listings and how to approach these (often disgruntled) prospects for maximum impact.

And in this 2nd (much shorter) Borino video, he does a live cold call with an Expired listing seller…which demonstrates all the learnings from the above video.

Scripts for Cold Calling Older Expireds

Older expireds can be better opportunities because these sellers aren’t getting bombarded by as many agents and therefore may be more receptive to your message.

In this case Tristan details a script for older expireds.

Agent: Hi [seller’s name], this is [your name] with [brokerage] and I’m calling about the house you were selling on [street name] way back in [year listing expired]. Did you ever sell that home?

Seller: [usually says “no” and gives reason – already slightly annoyed]

Agent: Yeah I understand. Have you thought about selling your home now, in this current market?”

Seller: [again usually says “no” and gives reason – already slightly annoyed]

Agent: Ok. Well, thanks for your time (First Name). One last question for you. If I could get you a cash offer from one of our investors (buyers) in 2 days would that interest you?

Seller: [will typically say “YES” or “It Depends what the offer would be”]

Agent: Well, I work with a group of investors that are always looking to buy homes at the right price and turn around and sell them or keep them as rentals. Have you given a thought to what you would want to sell your home for?

Seller: [will typically say “Yes”]

Agent: Ok. I’ll check to see how that matches up with what they are looking for. The market is much better than when you were trying to sell, so that may be possible. What do you think stopped your home from selling last time?

Seller: [explains their theory]

Agent: Got it! My investors are looking for deals, so if their number doesn’t match up with what you are looking for I will let you know. Do you want me to also pull up a market analysis on your home so you know what it’s worth in an open market?

Seller: [will typically say “Sure”]

Agent: Great. I will do that and also make a Net Sheet for you to show you how much you will net if you sell it for the amount you want and the amount the investor offers if it’s different than your offer. I’ll also make a third net sheet that shows what you would net in the open market.

Seller: [will typically say “ok”]

Agent: I’ll get those 3 estimates to you and let you know what that looks like. Can I stop by on [sometime in the next 1-2 days] at [a time in the early evening] to drop those off and go over the Net Sheets with you?

Seller: [will typically say “I’ll have to check”]

Agent: It only takes about 25 minutes to show you. I can do it on my way back home from the office at [time A] or is [time B] ok? (Or would you like to do a Video Conferencing call where we can share my screen and I can show you there.)

Seller: [will typically say “ok” or sometimes “Let’s do a zoom”]

Agent: Thanks, I’ll call you back.

Ricky Carruth is one of the masters of cold calling. This video is him live cold calling old expired listings. Great thing about this video is that (while it’s a long video) it’s not edited at all…so you can see what it’s really like to cold call expires listings. PLUS he answers questions from other agents while he’s doing it.

Scripts for ISAs calling Expired Listings

Some teams have inside sales reps (aka real estate ISA) dialing local expireds on their behalf. Here’s an expired listing script for an ISA to use. Keep in mind (especially for ISAs) this is a volume activity so they will need to get used to a fair amount of rejection.

ISA: Hi, is this _________? Hey _____________! My name is ________. I work for a real estate team in the area. Well the reason for my call is that I saw your home came off the market and I wanted to find out if it is still available or if it actually sold.

ISA: When will you be looking to …HIRE THE RIGHT AGENT… for the job to sell it?

Seller: [typically responds with vague details – but usually is annoyed]

ISA: Fantastic, well we specialize in selling homes that didn’t sell the first time AND I was hoping you’d be free to …get together…for about 15 minutes or so to talk to my agent about why your house didn’t sell and what needs to happen in order for it to sell at this point. Which usually works better for you, weekdays or weekends? Mornings or Afternoons?

Seller: [typically responds not interested and sometimes objects that they’d rather have the agent give them a call]

ISA: I can appreciate that and our agent will always give you a call ahead of time before heading out to the property. And in order for our team to determine the best approach to getting the property sold we would need to see the house right? I see my agent will be in your area towards the end of the week. Which usually works better for you, weekdays or weekends? Mornings or Afternoons?

Expired listing objections

Here are a few objection handlers to use when dealing with expired listings and the most common ways they may push back.

Already selected another agents: When the seller has already decided to list with another real estate agent your options to win the listing limited. BUT if they haven’t yet signed an agreement, you’ve still got a chance.

Seller: We’ve already chosen another agent/friend in the business.
Agent: I can appreciate that… have you signed an agreement with them?

[IF Seller says “No”]

Agent: Let me ask you a question… after (x) months on the market and knowing what you NOW know… wouldn’t it be worth just 15 minutes to hear a different opinion… and a new fresh approach? It will only take me 15 minutes… are you free this afternoon?

Planning to take the property off the market: If the seller has decided not to sell after the listing expired, try and learn more about their original motivation to sell and what changed. If their response is reaction-based or emotion driven, then try to get them to re-align with their original reason to sell…and convince them to take an appointment with you so you can explain why you’ll achieve the desired result.

Seller: We’re taking the home off the market.

Agent: That’s understandable after this result. Why’d you originally list the home?

Seller: [insert reason for selling]

[IF the reason is still relevant today…]

Agent: Let’s meet for 15 minutes so I can share my proven plan that’s worked for [insert proof point] and if it makes sense, we’ll figure out next steps that work for you.
… and if it doesn’t, it was just 15 minutes. Sound good?

Going to try and list the property themselves: We have a deep dive on FSBO scripts that have a lot of responses that you can use but here’s a quick response to a seller that’s looking to list the home on their own.

Seller: We’re going to try it on our own for a while.

Agent: I can appreciate that… and let me ask you a question… If i could sell your home in the next 30 days… and save you time … would it be worth just 15 minutes to hear exactly how I can do it?

Frustrated with agents after this experience: Due to a negative experience, it’s common for sellers to feel disillusioned with real estate professionals. Go back to their motivation to sell (what HAD them thinking about selling the home in the first place?). Then set yourself apart and talk about results you’ve achieved.

Seller: You agents are all the same.

Agent: I hear you and actually at [company name] here in [city] we sell [x] times more homes than our competition… would it be worth just 15 minutes to hear exactly how we can do it with your home?

Frustrated with you because you’re trying to help them only after their listing expired: Similar to above you want to remind them the reason they sold before…and set yourself apart and lead with the results you and your team have delivered.

Seller: Where were you when my home was on the market?

Agent: That’s a great question… I was busy fulfilling the promises I made to my sellers to show, market and sell their homes… I didn’t even know your home was on the market until today when the agreement expired… scary huh? That’s exactly why we should get together… I specialize in selling homes other agents didn’t and have a 19 point marketing plan I know you’ll be impressed with… what time can we get together to go over it?

Other expired listing objections:

Seller is going with the same agent as before.

Here’s how to address this:
a. What’s your agent going to do differently this time?
b. Did you receive any offers while the home was on the market?
c. Why didn’t those offers work out?
d. How many showings did you have?
e. What was the feedback from those showings?

Seller is going to rent the property instead.

Here’s how to address this:
a. Have you ever been a landlord before?
b. Are you comfortable writing up the appropriate contracts and handling those transactions?
c. Have you thought about having to go through the eviction process if the tenants don’t work out and what’s entailed?
d. Wouldn’t it make sense to…Sell the home…and avoid the hassle of potentially having to deal with an eviction or the repairs and upkeep of having someone you don’t know in the property? Great, That’s exactly why you should meet with one of my agents to discuss what needs to happen this time to get the property sold. What works best for you weekdays or weekends?

General tips for expired listing scripts and cold calling

Many agents swear that they do better without scripts…citing that scripts make people sound robotic and that prospects can sense that the conversation is a “scripted sales call” and get turned off. There maybe something to that so here are suggestions regardless of your position on using word for word scripting

Setting up for success with cold calling expired listings:

Timing is everything right? Well then time your expired calls to have the best chance for reaching the seller by calling weekday evenings (5pm-7:30pm) or mornings 7:45am-11am.

Also you’ll need numbers for expired listings: Thankfully, modern technology and specialized service providers present us with an abundance of resources. Key players in this space include powerhouses like Vulcan7 and RedX…and there are specialized services for this kind of data too.

Now it’s time to get your mind right and check your tone. When calling expired the tonality has to be right. It can’t be aggressive or forceful and it has to be natural and genuine. Before you begin your calls get yourself into the right mindset. Think of ways you can help the people that you are calling and make sure to listen.

Even if you hate scripts, consider a call structure for your expired listing outreach

Generally you want to get some basics right even if you’re freestyling your cold calling approach:

Delivering the perfect intro with expireds:

  • Make sure you use their name. You don’t want to ask “is this _____?” They’ll know it’s a sales call and their guard will go up immediately.
  • Name your brokerage in your intro “This is [your name] with [brokerage]. How are you this morning?” so they know you’re a real estate agent and you’re with a (hopefully) recognizable and reputable brokerage or real estate team.

Building up the conversation with 3 goals:

  • Build rapport
    • Find similarities. Find what the pain points were.)
    • Respond to their emotion…not just their words
    • Agree and affirm
  • Tap into their original motivation for selling
    • Do you still NEED to sell your house?
    • May I ask where you are moving to?
    • How soon do you need to be there?
    • Why did you first put your home on the market?
  • Establish your credibility – give specific facts whenever appropriate about your track record:
    • How many of the expired listings you’ve sold?
    • How many of your listings have expired this year compared to how many homes you’ve sold?
    • How long has it been since a property of yours expired?

Use probing questions as the expired listing conversation unfolds:

  • Why do YOU think that your home didn’t sell?
  • How did you go about choosing the last agent you listed with?
  • What did the agent do that you liked the best?
  • What do you feel that they should have done?
  • How many showings did you have? Did you receive any feedback from those?
  • Did you receive any offers? How many?
  • Why didn’t any of those offers work out?

Follow up after expired listing calls: the likelihood you set the appointment is slim. But the followup will be key. Here are some tips so you nail the follow up:

  • Take notes on the key points gathered during the call:
    • What was their biggest complaint
    • Where did they want to go and what time frame
    • Note the top three objections they had
  • Follow up cadence:
    • Any new lead that’s warm/hot needs to be called at least three times that week
    • Continue to follow up weekly for the following 3-10 weeks.
    • At 6 months and beyond follow up monthly

Expect a high percent of rejection but don’t be deterred:

After each call, remember to take a step back, shake off the negativity, and refocus your energy. Every new phone number, is a fresh start so don’t let your emotions from the last call intrude. Understanding your individual strengths and fine-tuning your approach based on feedback can turn these calls into your secret weapon. So, swing away with unbridled enthusiasm.

Navigating through expired listings cold calls is not for the timid…. but whether you go with a script or just a loose structure, we hope you’ve picked up a few nuggets to win over expired listing sellers.

Utilize these concepts where they make sense, hone your approach, and keep going with this quote in the back in your mind.

Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.

Chris Grosser

So, step forward and be ready. Because you can either expect to win the trust of a seller who had a sub-par outcome OR expect yet another bitter seller to tell you to F*** off.

(Oh, and did we mention that rejection is a bit part of this process)

All kidding aside, winning over expired listings is completely possible. It’s just a matter of preparation, perseverance, and enduring positivity. Go forth and conquer some expireds!

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