As a realtor, you’re under pressure to sell a property for the right price as efficiently as possible. And between your agency, your client, and the market, the pressure can come from lots of different angles.
But pressure doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, some people thrive on it! So, let’s look on the bright side and tackle a realtor’s biggest headache: the expired listing letter.
We’ll look at what they are, how to write them, and some ways you can use the perfect expired listing letter to bring in leads.
An expired listing is exactly what it sounds like—a property listing that has gone past the time limit set for it to sell.
When you list a property, it receives a specific time frame for selling. Once that time frame runs out, the listing expires. The listing limit must be at least 60 days, but some properties have limits that last years.
So, what happens when a listing expires? Well, a couple of things:
There are also a few common misconceptions non real-estate folks have about expired listings.
So, let’s discuss what an expired listing is not. An expired listing is not damaged property, “unsellable,” a withdrawn listing, or, most importantly….haunted.
When a listing expires, every realtor goes into damage-control mode. The client, who has been through countless open houses, showings, and stagings, won’t be happy about the setback.
The good news? This frustration can create an opportunity for you as a competing agent. You can now swoop in and convince the seller why they should re-list with you.
To convince your potential client why they should switch, you need to ease their fears. But you also need to figure out why the property didn’t sell. Ask yourself:
Once you spot an expired listing, how do you turn that seller into your client?
Most often, realtors send what’s called an “expired listing letter.”
Think of your letter like a sales pitch. It’s your official intro to the client and your best shot at a great first impression. But 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 letter will do plenty to get your foot in the door.
There are a few things that the letters have in common:
Let’s get inspired with a few examples of real expired listing letters in action.
One of the best expired listing letter examples 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 example demonstrates, a letter doesn’t have to be pages and pages to get your point across. In fact, it shouldn’t extend beyond one page.
The expired listing letter example above shows how to work emotion into the introduction by empathizing with the buyer about their property not selling. This realtor also establishes their status and knowledge of the area at the same time. That’s a great way to instill confidence.
From there, the realtor previews how they plan to market the home. This includes hard numbers that show the success of their methods.
Finally, they end with a call to action. In this example, the realtor chose to instill a sense of urgency with their CTA. That’s a completely personal choice.
As you’ll see with the other expired listing letter examples we’ll share below, each letter varies based on the voice of the realtor. Here’s a conversational example written by Finger Lakes Realtor and Copywriter Don Stevens and submitted to Fit Small Business.
In this example, notice the friendly, casual tone the writer uses while giving all the necessary information.
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 your letter to do its job, you first need to decide how to reach out to expired listings.
This is the easiest method for most realtors. You most likely already have access. The system lets you search expired listings by area. Then you can use your favorite CRM tool to keep track of communication with these leads.
This is a classic way to connect with leads. Calling sellers with expired listings is often faster and more personal than other methods. Your seller may appreciate the extra effort on your part. (More on expired listing scripts below.)
You’ve found some leads through your MLS or another resource. Now you can take advantage of text messages and their high open rates to get in contact with sellers quickly and effortlessly.
Emails are a communication method most people are comfortable with. You can paste your expired listing letter in and hit “send” in no time. Email is also a good medium for connecting with lots of leads at once.
Sending a letter by mail is an often-overlooked option in our tech-obsessed society. That said, snail mail is a good way to catch your seller’s eye because it’s unusual. Just make sure your letter looks professional and polished.
Do you have a good network of realtors in your area? If so, you can negotiate with other agents to swap expired listing leads for a commission or other opportunity.
Consider putting up flyers in local businesses around the community you serve. These can bring you sellers who haven’t started reaching out to other agents yet. Meeting people where they are is always a good idea for building trust.
After you figure out your favorite method to use when prospecting for expired listings, you’ll need to consider your expired listing scripts.
If you decide to call expired listings, you’ll need to work on what to say. An expired listing script makes this step a breeze.
Here’s a great example of an expired listing script by Mike Ferry that will help the interaction go smoothly:
Need more inspiration? Check out these other expired listing scripts.
Got more questions on expired listings? Here are a few easy answers to get you started:
When a listing agreement expires, you remove the listing from the MLS and—usually—all online content. Then, the seller must decide if they will re-list the property with the same real estate agent or choose another.
You can follow up with expired listings however you prefer to! Options include reaching out with emails, phone calls, letters, or local advertisements. These are all effective ways to get in touch with sellers who have expired listings.
Expired listing letters work if you do them right. If you come across as genuine, professional, and able to help, sellers are eager to have your help in re-listing their property.
The best way to write an expired listing letter is to use a good template and put your own spin on it. This approach will help you hit all the right points while sticking to your unique voice.
For more real estate marketing tips and tricks, check out our text marketing guide to real estate.
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