Most of the agents asking me for advice all seem to have one thing in common. They have trouble getting listings. And as the market has changed recently with less inventory and more buyers, listings are more profitable than ever, but harder to obtain. Fortunately there are a lot of agents killing it right now and listing more than ever. So there is a way!
Let’s skip the small talk and jump into getting you some listings.
- Expired listings. These are some of the easiest to get because you already know they are a motivated seller. There are two types of expired listings you will deal with that you will have the possibility of listing. First you will come across the owner that had it listed, needs to sell, but their listing with the first agent expired. These people are ready to list again right away, you just have to convince them you are better than their last agent. Unfortunately it’s not always the last agent’s fault. Many of these types of sellers are unrealistic about pricing or the condition of their home and these are things you will have to overcome.The second type of seller is the one that wants to take some time and regroup. Possibly do some repairs to the home, or wait until the spring, etc… These are long term prospects and the way to get them is by keeping in touch. I personally do this with a 6 month series of postcards that go to all the expired listings in my target area.How to get expired’s to list with you. As I just mentioned I send a series of postcards. For listings I am extremely interested in I also send one or two hand-written notes. If you have more time on your hands, the best way to get an expired to list with you is go straight to the house and talk to them in person. Bring a very nice listing packet. The second best way is to try to get them on the phone. I just find sending out the postcards more scale-able. I can double the amount I send with minimal extra time needed, but if I double the amount of doors I knock on it uses up a tremendous amount of additional time.
- For sale by owners. This is much the same approach as we discussed with the expired listings, in fact I use many of the same mailers. You can find for sale by owners on Craigslist and on Zillow. For those of you that have the time, again it will get your foot in the door much faster if you drive to the house and actually meet the owner in person. It’s not for everyone, but those that are good at it can do very well.
- Out of state owners. It is pretty easy to search the county website and find properties that are owned by a person living out of state. Especially in a time like now where property values are starting to increase, you will find owners that moved away for work but couldn’t sell. Now the market may have changed enough that they are ready to list with you and move on. Just look up their phone number on the Internet, or write up a letter to mail to them.
- Referrals. I know, I know, I go on and on about referrals. But it’s for good reason. They are usually the easiest way to get your foot in the door. I have about 400 contacts in my phone. Do you think if I called every single one over the next 30 days and asked for a listing referral I’d get at least one listing?
- Builders. Especially the small to mid-size builders. Get a lsit of all the local builders in your area. Invite each one of them to lunch (you are buying of course!). Have a very nice professional marketing packet printed up to show them. Explain to them how much better you will market their homes than anyone else can. After the lunch is over email them to thank them for their time, the write a hand-written thank you letter and drop it in the mail to them. If you met with 2 builders a day for the next 30 days do you think you could get a new client?
- Investors. A lot of investors flip properties, so in this case you will most likely have to sell them a house first, and then get a listing. But that is OK, right? The easiest way to get investor leads currently is through craigslist. Just take the current HUD listings and post them on CL (you are allowed to do this, check your local MLS guidelines). Put basic info on the house. Right after that type “I specialize in finding foreclosed homes and investment properties. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to my property update list. I only email out good deals.” Trust me, this works. Post about 5 to 10 HUD listings each day and your list of investors will grow so fast.
There you have it. Proof that selling houses is a lot easier than most people make it seem. I’m getting pretty motivated myself to go list a few houses right now!