As a realtor, you’re under a lot of pressure to sell a property for the right price, and do so as efficiently as possible. And between your agency, your client, and the market as a whole, the pressure can come from a lot of different angles.
But pressure doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. In fact, some people thrive on it! So hey, while we’re on the trend of turning negatives to positives, let’s focus on one of a realtors biggest headaches: the expired listing letter.
We’ll have a look at what they are, and how to harness the opportunity they present in the perfect expired listing letter.
Let us define what exactly an “expired listing” is. When a property is “listed”, or put up for sale, it becomes associated with a specific time frame for selling. Once that time frame has run out, the listing is considered expired. At a minimum, the listing limit must be at least 60 days, however some properties have limits that last years.
Once a listing has expired a few things happen. First, the listing is removed from the MLS (multiple listing service system), and should be removed from all online content. Next, the sellers must decide if they want to stick with their current realtor and re-list the property, or they can choose to switch agents, penalty free.
There are some common misconceptions about expired listings, mostly created by folks outside the real estate bubble. So, it’s important to also address was an expired listing is not. An expired listing is not: damaged property, “unsellable”, a withdrawn listing, and most importantly….haunted.
When a listing expires every realtor immediately goes into damage control mode. The client, who has been through countless open houses, showings, and stagings, probably isn’t thrilled to have nothing to show for it. This frustration can create ample opportunity for you, as a competing agent, to swoop in and pitch the client as to why they should re-list…but this time with you as their realtor.
In order to convince the client why they should switch to you, not only is it up to you to quell their fears, but it’s your job to figure out why the property didn’t sell. Was the price set too high? Will the house sell for less than the debt owed on it? Was the property not putting its best face forward aesthetically?
So, once you pull those morning hot sheets from the MLS and see what properties are fair game, how do you turn those contacts in your CRM into clients? The most common action taking by realtors who have picked up on an expired listing then, is to send something called an expired listing letter.
Think of your expired listing letter like a sales pitch. While it’s your official intro to the client, and your best shot at a first impression, it’s not the only step you should take to close the deal. It’s always best practice to follow up.
However, a well-crafted expired listing letter can do more than enough to get your foot in the door (literally)!
There are a few elements that all the best expired listing letters have in common:
With these pieces in mind let’s complete the puzzle with some examples of real expired listing letters in action.
One of the best samples of an expired listing letter we’ve come across is from the experts over at Easy Agent Pro. Read through the letter and follow along with the sections, from there we’ll break it down a little further.
As this letter very clearly demonstrates, a letter doesn’t have to be pages and pages to get your point across. In fact, it really shouldn’t extend beyond one page. The example above shows how to work emotion into the introduction by empathizing with the buyer on their property not selling. As a bonus, this realtor also establishes their status and knowledge of the area at the same time, a great way to implicitly instill confidence.
From there, the realtor previews their marketing plan, accompanied by some hard numbers that demonstrate success in their methods. Finally, the call to action closes out the letter. In this example, the realtor chose to instill a sense of urgency with their CTA, a choice that is entirely personal!
As you’ll see with the various examples we’ll share below, each letter will vary based on the voice of each realtor. Here’s one particularly conversational example written by Finger Lakes Realtor & Copy Writer Don Stevens and submitted to Fit Small Business.
Don Stevens, cell: 585-694-8108
If you’re looking for something a little shorter, check out this one written by Secretsoftopsellingagents.com.
Today I noticed your home at 446 Housley Ave is no longer listed for sale within the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). My name is Jim Remley and I specialize in helping people who may be frustrated that their home sold didn’t sell the first time around. How? I offer my clients a different, unique approach to getting their home sold despite the market conditions.
Just one example of my marketing plan is the effective use of the internet to maximize exposure for your home. This is absolutely critical as 86% of buyers today use the internet as their primary information resource. In addition when working with sellers I offer my clients: – Complete Market Overview & Pricing Analysis – Enhanced RMLS listing and a linked virtual tour. – Dedicated website – specific to your listing. – Online Classified Advertising on Oodle, Craigslist, and Google Base. – Complete email ready property information kit for buyers. – Exclusive 25 Point Internet Marketing Strategy – Local and Regional Marketing.
If you are considering re-listing your home I would welcome the opportunity to interview for the job. Please give me a call or email at your convenience.
[Insert Your Name]
So, next time you saddle up to your keyboard and start writing an expired listing letter, just remember to include:
Throw in some special touches like a hand delivery, or small gift, and you’ll be on the road to re-list in no time!
For some more tips and tricks, check out our text marketing guide to real estate.