Expired Listings? An Opportunity or a Distraction?

By
Education & Training with Advantage Solutions Group

 As market inventory has increased in most areas, more listings are not selling and show up as expired. Conventional wisdom is this is one of the best places to prospect if you want to increase your business. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes not. Should you be spending some time in this niche?

My question for my coaching clients is to ask themselves each day "what is the highest and best use of my time?" My companion question to ask yourself, "What 3 actions could I take today that would make the most difference?" Hint: these are not usually the squeakiest to-do items, but rather the things that could have a major impact on your short and long term goals.

Often, one of the actions that could make the biggest difference is prospecting. While I am in alignment with the concept that you'll be able to build business faster and more effortlessly with the people who know, like and respect you, I also believe most agents need to be looking outside these people if they really want more than they have now.

Expired listings offer an opportunity with a group of people that we know have an interest in selling. Now, you'll notice I didn't say they were motivated to sell, because, quite frankly, many of them are not. This is one of the reasons this niche takes some forethought and a great system to work. When I say some are not motivated, what I mean is they are not realistic about what they think their house should sell for. When this is coupled with a lack of need to sell (being transferred or bought another house), it might just be a total waste of time.

In the coming few weeks, I will be sharing some success strategies for working with Expireds.

 Today, let's start with these two concepts:

1. IT IS A NUMBERS GAME. I've been saying for years that it is a RELATIONSHIP GAME rather than a numbers game, and I still believe that most of the business we get is about building relationships. Expireds, however, may be in a hurry to get their house get back on the market and get sold quickly. You don't have the luxury of wooing them and building relationship over time. You must get their attention immediately and do it with credibility and differentiation so that they believe you are DIFFERENT than their previous agent. You don't want every one of these listings (Remember what I have said about life being too short to work with high maintenance people who don't respect you.... AKA jerks!). You have to be ready to get "no's", to not take it personally or let it mean anything about your worth, and to move on. You just say ,"NEXT"!!!

2. KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO. If you sense these people are either not a good fit for you personality-wise or they are not going to list where they need to, walk away. You must have standards to build a good business. Time, energy and money spent on people who aren't willing to do their part is wasted and lost forever. It is not much different than a doctor telling someone they need to stop smoking and the person not listening and then developing lung cancer. If the client won't do what it will take to get the home sold, it isn't your fault it doesn't sell. However, shame on you if you let them talk you into "trying" it when you KNOW it won't work. Set your standards and stick to them.
A Good question to ask yourself is: "Would you rather be liked or respected?"
Walk away with your integrity in tact (and they probably will call you when it expires again!)

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Rainer
77,081
Patrick Harfst
HomeSmart - Gilbert AZ

Joeann,

You always have such good info! Thank you for being so giving of your knowledge & leadership to this group... Expireds are (I think, anyway) the best way to work...

Have you written a book?

April 12, 2007 01:02 AM
Rainmaker
1,509,179
John Novak
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace

Our team regularly prospects expired listings. We've found that many of them are coachable on price, and are just happy to have an agent be up front and honest with them about the challenges of today's market.

April 12, 2007 02:33 AM
Rainer
50,395
Jody Deeds
Columbus Real Estate Pros
Bryant - I agree.  In the beginning I worked expireds how I was coached, send a letter every 3rd day and call them in between letters.  I did this, who knows how much time, energy and postage I put into that.  After tracking it a while, I discovered in my market...1 letter...1 time was it.  I had found if sellers didn't respond to my 1st letter, they didn't respond at all.  Now I send 1 letter and call the ones I can.  
April 12, 2007 07:20 AM
Anonymous #23
Anonymous
Anonymous

Joeann,

As juvenile as this sounds - could you post the process you use. I'm am still a rookie and while I get the general idea I find the whole process hard and confusing and I'm sure this is only because I don't quite understand how to properly work it in the MLS system.

In our MLS - I haven't found any way to view the seller's information unless it has a Disclosure attached to the listing and that's only if I can read their handwriting. Am I missing an important factor when searching for these listings?

Thank you :)

April 12, 2007 07:40 AM
Rainmaker
297,313
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
Realtor
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge
Nice post with some very valid points that I use myself... especially the standards and saying no to overpriced or uncooperative listings. I'm looking forward to your series on expireds. Thanks!
April 12, 2007 09:28 AM
Rainmaker
275,424
Joeann Fossland
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Advantage Solutions Group

Joe-I like the criteria that you use. This makes your time more productive, doesn't it? When you say you search ever morning, do you use The RedX? I have found it really makes the process even more profitable!

Gloria I am a coach and trainer so I am not actively sending out materials, but I am coaching people that are. Letters seem to be working better than cards, but the main thing is the differentiation and demonstration of why you will do things differently than the last agent.

Brian You are proof that consistency works! 2-4 a month is impressive. Do you call or just rely on the responses from your mailings?

Patrick Thank you. The book is in the works!

 

April 12, 2007 10:15 AM
Ambassador
550,989
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.

Joeann...

Our expired listing program has been at the center of our business model since we first opened our Company. No matter what else we try or do, we have never (as in ever) given up this program. For us it's been a major factor in our ongoing success in this business.

There is another way to use mailers to your advantage. Way back when, I used to drive around our farm area and when I saw a street with lots of for sale signs on it, I would do mailers for the entire street. We did this for years and years. When done with consistency it will generate listings. The problem with marketing like this is that salespeople are to quick to give up. For us giving up was never an option :)

I believe we have entered the kind of market where some good ole fashioned marketing will be useful for many folks. Especially for those who are farming in small rural areas. Try it folks. What do you have to lose except the cost of a stamp.

TLW...ROAR!

April 12, 2007 10:45 AM
Rainmaker
275,424
Joeann Fossland
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Advantage Solutions Group

John Thanks for sharing that-so many people make this harder than it has to be! Sounds like you are doing a great job!

Jody- Wow! That surprises me, but sounds like you have figured a system that works

Jennifer Not juvenile at all...we talk about this as going back to basics, but many people have never been trained or had to do this in the fast markets we were in.  I recommend to use The RedX for finding the information on the clients.

 Ryan- Thank you

Lovely Wife! Wow!!!! I just love the way you look at it. Now wonder you guys are successful :>)

April 12, 2007 10:08 PM
Ambassador
1,659,428
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Broker/ Owner HomeRome Realty-Author "Real Estate the Rome Way" 410-530-2400

 Joeanne,

Another wonderful blog...but you are the top blogger in the country..right?

Just today, I listened to your RECS interview with Jack Peckum. You were awesome!

April 12, 2007 10:27 PM
Rainmaker
275,424
Joeann Fossland
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Advantage Solutions Group
Margaret  What a compliment coming from one of the real estate agents I respect as one of the best in the country!!!! Thanks for stopping by!
April 13, 2007 07:21 AM
Ambassador
1,659,428
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome
Broker/ Owner HomeRome Realty-Author "Real Estate the Rome Way" 410-530-2400
We feel the same about each other, Joeann
April 13, 2007 07:34 AM
Rainmaker
26,279
Peg Silloway
The Silloway Press

Whether it's going after expired listings or any other aspect of your business, you've identified the REAL core of success, Joeann. "Set your standards and stick to them." When you have a solid understanding of what you do best, and what the best and most profitable use of your time is, then you are well on the way to building a successful business and fulfilling life. When you choose not to work with jerks, you open space and time to work with people who will be good clients and will send you more clients like themselves.  

Thanks for reminding me how good it can feel to say "No!" 

 

April 14, 2007 03:50 PM
Rainmaker
275,424
Joeann Fossland
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Advantage Solutions Group
Peg-Great to have you stop by! I couldn't agree more. Life is Too Short To Perfect Your Weaknesses!
April 16, 2007 08:11 AM
Anonymous #33
Anonymous
Char Koch
Does someone have a great letter they can share?  I send one post card....I've only been at this a month but so far nothing....maybe I'm too particular about who I'm sending and calling?
April 23, 2007 07:43 AM
Anonymous #34
Anonymous
Anonymous
I'm very interested in working the "Expired" listing niche market, but I am looking for a systematic and inexpensive way to do it.  Also, as I'm responding to this post, I am trying to figure out a way to write a compelling letter that will differentiate me from other Realtors.  Any advice? 
September 20, 2007 11:20 AM
Rainmaker
297,313
Ryan Hukill - Edmond
Realtor
ShowMeOKC Team of Paradigm AdvantEdge

Wayne, I have a system in place that's generating good solid leads and I can share that with you if you're interested. Feel free to email me.

September 20, 2007 01:31 PM
Anonymous #36
Anonymous
Anonymous
Thank you Ryan, I've just sent you an email. 
September 22, 2007 12:34 PM
Rainer
14,567
PJ Belle
ABR, GRI, SFR
Long and Foster

Thanks for the post can you please email me the series you had after that ?  I am also trying to locate a form letter I can use.  Thanks so very much PJ :)

March 01, 2009 09:45 PM
Rainmaker
45,698
April Stephens
Broker/Realtor - Johnston & Wake County
RE/MAX One Realty

I am getting ready to kick my listings into gear as well, thanks for all the tips.

 

March 05, 2009 10:35 PM
Rainmaker
275,424
Joeann Fossland
Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
Advantage Solutions Group

Hi PJ The follow up articles can be found here

http://activerain.com/blogs/joeann/archives/2007/04

April You GO GIRL!

March 06, 2009 11:02 AM
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Rainmaker
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Joeann Fossland

Master Certified Coach to Motivated Agents
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