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How to Generate Listings from Homes Not on the Market

Oct 24, 2019 9:00:00 AM

List more homes by playing "matchmaker" with buyers and sellers - follow these tips and you'll find more perfect pairs to grow your real estate business. 

Let's talk about generating listings from homes that are not on the market. 

The best way to do this is to come up with a buyer. How can a smart agent pull in the right buyer for a particular home? Well, first, you need to find out what your buyer wants — the area they want to live in, the size of the home they want and any deal-breakers or must-haves. Next, tell the buyer an email will go out explaining what they are looking for — and that the email will also go to homes that haven’t yet listed. 

Agents who are marketing to homes that aren’t actively listed need to have a firm plan in place that includes mailing out letters, introducing yourself and alerting buyers to off-market homes that fit their specific criteria. And, here's the other thing we can't forget. Whatever you send has to be relatable, and it has to tell a story. A marketing letter to a potential seller who hasn’t yet listed could say something like:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith are buyers I'm representing. They're looking to live in Eaglewood because Mr. Smith had a job transfer from the next county over and he's looking to move right away.

They're pre-approved, and they're ready to buy. 

Elaborate on the Smiths’ personal story in each marketing letter, and send the note on letterhead with contact information. Include the first names of the recipients. Personal is the key to getting these letters opened — and that goes for the outside of the letter, as well. Make sure to have a handwritten return address just with your name and not necessarily your company’s name, to make it even more personal. Use a fun stamp, too. The key is to make it look like a letter from someone they know and care about. That way, they're engaged from the moment they open it. 

When the owners have their interest piqued and call you to find out more about the buyer, this is when you should set up preview appointments. You don't have to bring your buyer out yet. Just set up preview appointments and gather information about the owners. Explain that you have a few homes you’re scouting for your buyers to keep them engaged. 

Finally, when the time is right, bring your buyer out to show them the homes with the owners you’ve connected with. Hopefully you can close a deal right away. But if not, you've at least found out who's getting ready to list, which is a golden opportunity. 

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As far as gathering information from these owners, find out why they contacted you and maybe what they thought of the letter and when they're thinking about moving. Find out all the particulars that we need to know as real estate agents in order to determine what type of follow-up would be best. 

Once you build successful relationships with buyers and owners who might be getting ready to sell, you'll become the local expert in your neighborhood very quickly. Compare this to blindly farming the neighborhood, where you have to send letter after letter and postcard after postcard. Figuring out what buyers are looking for and playing “matchmaker” with owners of houses that meet their criteria is a better strategy. And you could actually build that trust and rapport very quickly. 

If letters and phone calls or voicemails don’t excite you, or you want more variety, door knocking is of course another option. Knock on the door and introduce yourself — and leave a letter behind if no one is there. If the owners are open to chatting, find out what you need to know to relay information to buyers. Ask how the neighborhood is for their family. Let them talk about their neighbors — maybe their neighbors are moving soon, as well! 

For example, let’s say they tell you something like, “Our neighbor Marcus has a job transfer, and they’re moving out of state.” You just got two golden leads in a casual conversation. Now, when you go introduce yourself to Marcus, you can refer back to whatever door you knocked on. Name dropping is a great way to start a conversation, build trust and rapport, and get listings that other agents don't know about. 

Agents should be inspired to bring buyers to places you think THEY should see — rather than just letting a buyer drag you around everywhere. Many times, they will let you do the legwork if they trust you to find their dream house, and that means more seller connections for you.  

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Topics: lead conversion

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