Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Luke Feldbrugge
Expired listings are not just opportunities waiting to be seized; they are golden prospects. In a competitive industry like real estate, every advantage a real estate agent can gain is welcomed. When it comes to expired listings, the seller was already in the market once, and for some reason it didn’t work out. In our industry, at a minimum, that’s a warm prospect because it’s more than likely that the seller still wants to sell their home. To give you an advantage, we explore expired listings, the benefits of pursuing them, and how to leverage them effectively for your business.
What Do Expired Listings Mean?
An expired listing is one term used to explain when a seller’s home is taken off the market. But, there are two other terms to understand, especially if you’re looking to leverage expired real estate listings for prospecting.
An expired listing is a property listing agreement between a seller and a real estate agent that has reached its specified expiration date without the property being sold.
Can another agent contact an expired listing: Yes
It is acceptable for another real estate agent who did not represent the seller prior to the listing expiring to contact the seller after the listing has expired. There are times when the home sellers of expired listings are considering, and may prefer to work with a new agent to list their property if their expectations were not met.
This one is pretty self explanatory, but a canceled listing is a property listing agreement that has been terminated or canceled by either the seller or the listing agent before its specified expiration date.
Can another agent contact a canceled listing: Yes
Another real estate agent can contact the seller of a canceled listing since the listing agreement has been terminated. The seller is free to engage with any agent they choose.
A withdrawn listing is a property listing agreement that has been temporarily taken off the market by the seller, but the contract between the seller and the listing agent is still active.
Can another agent contact a withdrawn listing: No
In this case, the seller has NOT terminated the listing agreement. Therefore it is seen as an unethical practice to contact a withdrawn listing. It’s likely the seller has pulled the home from the market, but is still interested in selling and using their current real estate agent under the terms of their existing agreement.
14 Reasons Why Most Expired Listings Do Not Sell
Why do expired listings not sell? There can be any number of issues that cause a listing to expire. As a real estate agent looking to use expired listings as a prospect generating strategy, these issues become opportunities for you to offer a solution to the home seller. Do your research and try to determine what some of the issues each expired listing faced.
If you can find some listings that fall short on something where you tend to excel, those become the hottest opportunity for you to address first.
- Overpricing – Advising the seller to set an unrealistically high asking price can discourage potential buyers, leading to limited interest and the risk of the listing expiring. It’s crucial to provide a realistic price point based on market conditions.
- Poor Property Condition – Homes with significant maintenance issues may struggle to attract buyers. As agents, it’s essential to guide sellers on necessary repairs and improvements to enhance their property’s appeal.
- Inadequate Marketing – The agent did not create enough awareness and/or desire for the listing. Limited exposure of the property to potential buyers can result in a lack of showings and offers. Effective marketing strategies are a must.
- Ineffective Real Estate Agent – Selecting an agent who lacks the necessary skills, experience, or dedication can hinder the marketing and negotiation process, increasing the likelihood of listing expiration.
- Stale Listing – Listings that linger on the market without price adjustments or updates can become stale, reducing buyer interest. Agents should recommend periodic evaluations and necessary changes to keep listings fresh.
- Seasonal Factors – Recognize that the time of year can affect a property’s marketability. It may seem obvious, but there are times when seasonality is not an obvious factor for some sellers to realize or accept. It’s always best to mention optimal timing for listing a property, taking into consideration local seasonal trends.
- Economic Conditions – Broader economic factors can impact the overall real estate market’s health. The extremely low inventory the market is experiencing now is not playing a huge factor on expired listings, but inventory levels will improve. Stay informed about economic trends and advise sellers accordingly when considering the potential impact on their property’s sale.
- Inflexibility as a Seller – Sellers unwilling to negotiate on price, terms, or repairs can frustrate potential buyers and cause them to back out. As agents, it’s essential to educate sellers on the importance of flexibility to facilitate successful negotiations.
- Legal or Title Issues – Be vigilant for any legal or title issues that may delay the sale process. It’s always good to address these issues promptly and transparently.
- Competition – A high number of similar homes for sale in the same area can lead to increased competition. Advise sellers on pricing and presentation strategies to help their property stand out.
- Limited Showing Availability – Restrictive showing schedules or difficulties in accommodating potential buyers’ viewing requests can hinder the sale process. Encourage flexibility in scheduling showings to maximize exposure.
- Financing Challenges – Recognize that buyers facing financing challenges may struggle to secure a loan within the listing period. Be prepared to guide sellers on alternative strategies if financing issues arise.
- External Factors – External factors, like changes in neighborhood dynamics or infrastructure projects, can affect a property’s desirability. Stay informed about local developments and communicate potential impacts to sellers.
- Market Saturation – Acknowledge when a specific market or neighborhood becomes oversaturated with listings. Help sellers differentiate their property through effective marketing and pricing strategies.
Being a trusted solution provider for these issues is how expired listings can become a great prospecting strategy for your business.
How Do I Find Expired Listings Near Me?
Finding and capitalizing on expired listings can be a game-changer for real estate agents looking to expand their portfolio and provide valuable solutions to sellers. However, while the pursuit of expired listings can be a legit strategy, how you choose to do it can present questions in accordance with industry standards.
REALTOR® Targeting MLS Expired Listings
According to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, Article 16-3, between REALTORS: Information received through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS to whom such offers to provide services may be made.
The MLS was intended to be a collaborative tool for real estate professionals, so in the eyes of NAR, using the MLS tool to find expired listings and “offer similar services” to a client of a fellow REALTOR is frowned upon.
But, there are other ways to find expired listings in your area:
Network with Fellow Agents
Build relationships with other real estate agents to expand opportunities. Collaborate with agents who specialize in different niches, allowing you to access expired listings that match your expertise. Maintain connections with past, present, and potential clients to increase your chances of hearing about expired listings.
Check Public Records
Manually search public records, either by visiting archives or conducting online searches, to gather information such as time on the market and property owners. This method is free but likely time-consuming and administratively heavy work.
Purchase Expired Listings
Invest in online platforms that provide access to generated expired real estate listing leads.
Save time by avoiding extensive data sifting and focus on following up with leads using digital marketing or your preferred strategy. One of the more popular services offered is Vulcan7.
7 Benefits of Pursuing Expired Listings
Aside from the obvious advantage of working with a seller you didn’t represent the first time around, pursuing expired listings offers benefits that can significantly impact your business and reputation. Let’s explore the advantages of chasing down expired listings and turning them into golden opportunities.
- Reduced Competition – Expired listings often have less competition compared to new listings, which can give agents a better chance to secure the listing.
- Motivated Sellers – Sellers with expired listings are usually more motivated to sell, as they have already experienced the disappointment of their home not selling previously. Meaning, with a motivated seller, an expired listing could convert at a higher rate if handled well by the agent.
- Immediate Inventory – Contacting expired listings offers the potential to provide agents with immediate inventory to market, saving time and effort in sourcing new listings.
- Networking and Referral Potential – Building relationships with expired listing sellers, and becoming the agent who COULD sell their home, can lead to referrals and recommendations from that seller client. Plus it expands the agent’s contact database, which can be useful for future prospecting.
- Portfolio Growth – Adding expired listings to an agent’s portfolio demonstrates a track record of successfully selling challenging properties, enhancing their credibility.
- Skill Development – Working with expired listings can help agents sharpen their strategic thinking, negotiation, and sales skills; as they often need to address previous listing issues.
- Market Differentiation – Pursuing expired listings can be a unique selling proposition for an agent, setting them apart from competitors.
How Do You Handle Expired Listings?
When you’ve found your list of expired listings, then you can begin the process of contacting them, nurturing them and eventually converting them into satisfied clients. Here are some suggestions on how you can handle expired listings, and when you put these into play, remember to be consistent in your messaging and branding so they begin to remember you after awhile as a potential solution provider:
- Determine Your Strategy – Plan your approach thoughtfully as expired listing leads require nurturing and trust-building. Contact them consistently and strategically to stand out from other agents, but more importantly, attempt to offer a solution to the reasons you believe the listing expired without selling.
- Call Expired Listing Owners Directly – Develop a rapport-building script for direct calls, like the example Tom Ferry offers. Be concise, clear about your intent, and offer solutions. Focus on the seller’s needs and address objections.
- Send an Expired Listing Letter – Personalize a professional letter with a clear sales path. Offer fresh marketing strategies and invite further discussion.
- Email Sellers – Craft compelling emails to make a strong first impression with sellers if their home listing expired. Let them know specific strategies you can offer that will work better to sell their home. Follow up consistently to nurture these sellers and keep reiterating your message in different ways to keep it compelling.
- Email Drip Campaigns – Implement automated email campaigns to provide value (CMA, community news, market updates, special events), not just solicitations. Include neighborhood reports, seasonal greetings, and helpful tips. Segment contacts and track progress using email marketing tools.
- Build Trust on Social Media – Make sure your social profiles are in good standing and reflect what you want on them. Use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to establish trust and authority. Share successful sales, tips, and testimonials to create a positive online presence.
- Create & Share Videos – This is an important one. Use video to explain how you can assist a seller who’s recently experienced an expired listing, and the unique solutions you can provide to sell their home. This can help build trust with skeptical expired listing leads. Share personal, authentic videos and property walk-throughs.
- Online Advertising – If you have some money to spend on ads, consider using online ads on platforms like Google and social media.Target specific audiences in select markets, address their pain points, and lead them to dedicated landing pages.
- Send Mailers – Use direct mail, such as brochures, postcards, flyers, or newsletters, to capture homeowners’ attention. Experiment with various designs and messaging strategies.
- Offer Free Strategy Session – Present homeowners with a marketing strategy to clarify past issues and showcase your expertise. Describe your strategy, highlight effective sales approaches, and discuss successful past sales.
Stand Out More in Your Market with Homes for Heroes
Going after expired listings is a way to differentiate yourself in your local market. Homes for Heroes offers another strategic way to specialize, and a way to stand out from the competition.
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Simply submit your registration and schedule a time to learn more about the benefits of being a Homes for Heroes local market specialist, and become the agent or lender your community heroes want to work with for their home and mortgage needs.