Prospecting expired listings is about as old of a prospecting technique as the first expired listing. Does it work? Absolutely. Will you list the first expired listing owner you contact? Probably not. To list expired listings regularly you need a strategy and a system. Prospecting expired listings in its basic form is like most other forms of prospecting. It’s a numbers game. You must go through the numbers with a consistent, regular, strategic system. Inventory is increasing and as a result there more and more salable expired listings.
There are problems with expired listings that you must find solutions to and include in your strategy. If a listing didn’t sell during the listing period it’s probably due to several basic problems. 1. It was listed for too short of a time or less than the average marketing time. 2. It was overpriced for the market or its condition. 3. It was not well marketed and not enough potential buyers outside of the MLS knew it was for sale. 4. It was not easy or nearly impossible to show to a buyer. It may also sometimes be caused by a forgetful or negligent broker but that’s rare since most MLS systems send an automated expiration reminder by email. It’s important to find out why it expired because if you can’t solve the problem it may expire for you too.
Another problem is contacting the owner. If they are on the National Do Not Call List you shouldn’t risk calling to solicit the listing. On the other hand, if the property is owner occupied, there is no Do Not Knock On The Door List. If the property is non-owner occupied you can use the property tax records for the owner’s tax mailing address. If they are out of the area, send a letter with your email address asking for theirs. Don’t be too sales like in your letter. Just send an inquiry about the disposition of the property. Once you have their name you can also use free online services to get their telephone numbers such as Zabasearch.com, Intelius.com, WhitePages.com or PrivateEye.com. These websites also have an extended pay service that will give you even more records of the owners contact info.
Another part of your strategy is when to contact the owner. The rule of thumb is the sooner the better after the listing expires in most cases. However, in a buyer’s market as we have today, you might also do your daily search going back a couple of weeks from today’s date. Cross check to see if the listing has been re-listed. The ones that haven’t will probably have much less competition from other brokers prospecting expired listings.
Once you’ve made contact with the owner how do you close for the listing? Look for my newsletter next week and we’ll go through how to go from introduction to close with an expired listing. And remember that any listing right now will probably make you commissions because of the high buyer interest.