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Top 7 Tips For Landing Expired Listings For Real Estate Agents

By Matt Barr

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Expired listings are easy to find – a simple query in your MLS will turn them up. The sellers have just been through the process of listing their home and working with an agent, so they know the drill. And they’re usually highly motivated. Why wouldn’t you try to market to them and earn the right to re-list their home? Here are seven tips for successfully landing expired listings.

  1. Be prepared to overcome objections. Working with an agent didn’t help me sell last time, you may hear. Working with you won’t make any difference because the market around here is awful. Don’t be daunted. These objections aren’t unique to expired listings, are they? Plenty of people who are brand new sellers question real estate agents’ commissions and value these days. You’ve probably got a “30 second commercial” you use every day that explains what you do and how you add value – use it effectively and you’ll be over the hump with an expired listing too.

  2. Be prepared to shoulder some “blame.” This is difficult for a lot of real estate agents. It’s not your fault the house didn’t sell. But frankly, you all look alike to the seller. They’ll blame the entire worldwide population of real estate agents for their home not having sold. If you can roll with this understandable, emotional response and not be contentious about it, you’ll have a better chance of earning the listing. Don’t take it personally!

  3. Be different. Why are you the right agent this time? Is it because you’re the number one top listing super real estate agent in the area? Guess what? They probably heard that from their last agent, and that didn’t turn out so well. Half a dozen other agents angling for their listing are probably telling them that. Don’t just convince them you’re better, convince them you’re different. You have a cutting edge online marketing program that includes submitting the listing to sites like Oodle and Trulia, virtual tours, listing podcasts, an online listings exchange with other agents in the area… and so on. I’m like your last agent, only more won’t make the sale.

  4. Be specific on how you would improve their chances of a sale this time. You’ll take new photos. You’ll do a new CMA and see where the sweet spot is today for the asking price. If there was any verbiage you could improve on in the MLS listing or marketing materials – or better yet, if there were errors – say exactly what you would fix and how. This ties in to being different. Show some concrete examples. The seller should have a mental picture of a “before” and “after” their listing contract expired and the “after” should inspire a lot more confidence.

  5. Be gentle on price. The majority of expired listings expired because they were priced too high. You know that. But the vast majority of listings that were priced too high to sell were priced too high because the seller was stubborn. So saying the first thing you’ll do is lower the asking price by $20,000 isn’t going to help you earn the listing. Ask the seller why they think the home didn’t sell, and deal with those reasons. Do that new market analysis. Go over some recent comparable sales in the neighborhood with the seller. When you finally break the news that you may have to lower the asking price, it should be after you’ve earned the seller’s trust that you know what you’re doing.

  6. Be high-touch. Often, whether justified or not, sellers whose listing contracts expired without an offer feel as though they were hung out to dry by their last agent. Explain what you’re going to do every step of the way. Reassure the seller you’re not just doing the same things the old agent did. Those ways you said you were different? Show how. Take nothing for granted.

  7. Be proactive. We talked about the great reasons to go after expired listings. Why don’t more agents? Because the sellers are irritable and difficult. Because there must be something wrong with the property or it would have sold. Maybe, but you won’t know until you call and learn more about the seller and their situation. You don’t have to agree to take on a dud property or a dud seller. But you know what else keeps agents from going after expired listings? Themselves. They think if the seller wants to re-list they’ll just go with the same agent anyway. They think everyone and their brother are probably going after the expired listing. Commit yourself to making an effort to win some expired listings and you may be surprised how often neither of those things is true.

Matt Barr is Communications Director with a la mode, inc., a real estate technology company based in Oklahoma City which provides desktop, Web-based and mobile technology for appraisers, real estate agents, mortgage brokers and originators and home inspectors, including professionally prepared and effective automated marketing tools for real estate professionals. He has a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law and has been covering the real estate, mortgage and appraisal industries for more than five years.


Article Submitted On: August 08, 2007