Are listings needed asap in your biz? Are you a real estate agent searching for listings like your keys that went missing? You’re not the only one searching high and low but we are going to cover how to succeed in getting those much needed listings where other agents are failing.
First a reality check: getting listings quickly in any market condition can be challenging, especially when inventory is low. And since housing supply shortages are common in many markets, listings are especially coveted by agents. But don’t worry, motivated agents can find hidden listing inventory with these strategies.
So two of the strategies we focus on below (Expired Listings and FSBOs) are all about taking advantage of existing listings. That means seller prospecting and listing prep time and expense are reduced significantly. But these tactics aren’t secrets so you’ll have competition…so the more creative you are with your approach, the more opportunities you can create for yourself.
To help you set yourself apart, we’ll get into scripts and much more in this post as well as some ideas to find uncover brand new listings for quick results…so let’s get started and find the listings you need!
An effective strategy for agents looking for quick listings is contacting expired listings. When a property is listed on the market but doesn’t sell in the required time frame, it becomes an expired listing. These listings are often overlooked and can be a goldmine when it comes to finding hidden inventory. Contacting owners of expired listings can be a great opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise as an agent. Here are some tips to help you effectively contact expired listings:
1. Call regularly: Consistency is key when it comes to contacting owners of expired listings. Make sure that you are contacting them regularly without being too pushy or aggressive. Building a friendly and professional relationship can help you become their go-to agent when they decide to put their property back on the market. Also keep in mind, you’ll be rejected 90% of the time. Don’t let that affect your mindset and energy because you need to be on your A Game when you get that receptive seller.
2. Send out mailers: Sending out mailers can be an effective way to reach sellers with Expired Listings. But make sure that your marketing materials stand out from the competition and showcase your unique selling proposition (see “Get personal” below)
3. Offer a fresh perspective: When you speak to owners of expired listings, offer a fresh perspective on how you would approach selling their property. Highlight success stories in their local market or even guarantee results within a set period. By offering something new and innovative, you will stand out from the competition and showcase your expertise as an agent.
4. Get personal and be specific: There’s going to be lots of other agents vying for these expired listings so set yourself apart from the agents following the “spray and pray” model by showing some personal attention to the sellers problem: “My property isn’t selling!”. Use handwritten notes and customized marketing materials that showcase their exact property. Use these specific examples to tease at how you’d succeed where others have failed.
When it comes to the approach, many agents have found success with a light-hearted conversation. As an agent, it’s important to remind owners of expired listings not to take things too seriously. Break the ice with a joke like “Don’t worry…you couldn’t PAY me to sell your house ;)”. The humor can be disarming for a resistant prospect…and at a minimum you’ll leave an impression that you can build off of.
By mixing some creativity, rapport building, and real estate expertise, you have a better shot at succeeding with expired listings.
For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings
When it comes to finding hidden listings, one tactic that agents can use is contacting For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. FSBO listings are homes that are being sold by the homeowner without the assistance of a real estate agent. Despite the challenges that may come with reaching out to FSBO listings, it can be a fruitful strategy when listings are needed with a shortened sales cycle.
Firstly let’s talk about the downside with FSBOs: Generally speaking they’re not receptive to agents. After-all they already decided to list their property without an agent. So there’s an uphill battle there. The other problem is FSBOs are being contacted by TONS of agents that are trying to work their way into taking over their listing. That makes them particularly prickly prospects 😀 so expect annoyance, pushback, hangups, and the occasional profanity.
Ok now the good news: FSBO listings are motivated sellers who are eager to sell their property. Many homeowners choose to go the FSBO route to avoid paying commission fees to a real estate agent. By approaching them, you can offer them valuable assistance throughout the selling process, such as listing the property on the MLS, staging the home, and taking professional photos.
Here’s how to work your way in. Instead of talking about representing them as a listing agent, start by asking if they’d be ok if they brought you a buyer…(so YES you’ll need a buyer for this approach). Then provide the owner with feedback after the showing. This is your opportunity to try and secure a listing, so be sure to have a follow-up call script ready.
Here’s a flow chart that goes over this process:
A few more tips to consider as you work through these FSBO scripts.
- Keep It Simple: On the first call, avoid overwhelming the seller. Instead, aim to arrange an appointment. Rather than trying to be overly friendly, show that you are genuinely acting in the best interests of your buyers.
- Earn Their Trust: When calling, do so on behalf of your buyers. This shifts the focus from you to your clients. Use your buyers’ first names to add authenticity, and maintain a professional and succinct dialogue to earn the seller’s trust.
- Accomplish Your Goal: The conversation can take many paths, and it’s essential to be prepared. Know your talking points, refrain from getting entangled in premature negotiations, and ensure you secure an appointment. Be mindful of your limits in regards to legal and brokerage advice, and involve your supervising broker for support.
And remember that you’ll still receive a lot of pushback from FSBOs, but as you deal with their objections remember these stats that emphasize how many FSBO listings end up needing an agent:
- 36 percent of sellers try FSBO, but only 11 percent actually succeed (2020 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers)
- Median selling price for a FSBO home was $260,000. Median selling price of a real estate agent-assisted sale was $318,000 (2021 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers)
Overall, contacting FSBO listings can prove to be a valuable source of new listings for motivated agents (with THICK skin). By demonstrating your knowledge, building trust, and NOT rushing into the listing side of the convo, you can establish relationships with homeowners that can lead to future business and referrals. Prospecting for FSBO listings may take time and effort, but it is a creative strategy that can pay off in the long run.
Sphere of Influence
While FSBOs and Expireds are listings that are in plain site, your Sphere of Influence (aka SOI) is an effective way to discover hidden listing inventory by tapping into people that already know and trust you aka your sphere of influence. We’ve got an entire article just about your real estate SOI but the TLDR is that it comprises of your personal and professional networks, including friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and past clients. People in your sphere should be much easier to ask for referrals.
When real estate listings are needed on the quick we recommend a speed run of phone calls through your sphere to sniff out if anyone knows anyone that’s thinking of listing their home soon. Here’s a process you can use:
- Craft a script that’s not overtly talking business (let alone asking for a referral) especially at the beginning. Instead FROG them by discussing Family, Recreation, Occupation and Goals. Then look for a natural transition into business.
- Since you’re a real estate agent, that business conversation should pretty quickly lead into them asking “how’s the market now?”. If they don’t ask, you should be able to work it in by saying “the market in [insert location] is kinda going nuts right now”.
- Ok now you can weave in “if you know of anyone considering selling it’s a great time and we’ve got some buyers that were outbid and really want to be in [insert location]”.
- If nothing materializes there fine. Let the conversation flow naturally (consider more FROG topics) and then drop another less subtle referral request before ending the call: “if you do hear of someone interested in selling in the future, will you keep me in mind?”
So why FROG at all? When reaching out to your sphere of influence, it’s essential to keep in mind that this is not just a one-time activity. You need to nurture your relationships and build on them over time…and definitely not burn them by just asking for business all the time.
You can do this by staying in touch, sending them personalized messages on special occasions, and providing value-added services beyond the buying or selling transaction. In our deep dive on Sphere of Influence tactics we cover lots more details on this too.
Buying Listing Leads
Buying leads is a viable option for agents who need quick results and have budget. It’s gonna cost though…but for agents that lack the time or resources to implement other seller prospecting strategies it can be an ideal solution.
One popular service that offers exclusive seller leads and conversion training is Market Leader. For a flat monthly rate, agents can access a steady stream of top-quality leads and receive training to convert these leads into listings. They also offer training to make the most of their leads.
While buying leads can save time, there are some downsides to consider. Not all lead generation services are created equal, and you may end up wasting money on low-quality leads that are unlikely to convert…and these leads may not always be exclusive to you. It’s important to research and vet any lead generation service before investing your hard-earned money. As mentioned, buying leads can also be expensive, so keep an eye on your ROI!
If you do decide to go down the route of buying leads, keep in mind these phrases: “speed to lead” and the “fortune is in the follow up”. Yes these marketing cliches actually apply for any paid lead acquisition.
For many agents in most markets, listings are the holy grail. And because they’re sought after the competition is intense, but there are numerous options for agents willing to put in the effort. Hopefully these strategies work for landing these much needed listings and keep your real estate business thriving.