Have you ever wondered how you can get listings from homeowners who are facing difficult times — maybe somebody going through a divorce or at risk of foreclosure? In these instances, homeowners need a compassionate agent like you to help them sell their homes.
These leads aren’t for everyone; you have to have a big heart. You have to be ready to serve and show kindness and compassion. If you're not ready or prepared to do that, don't pursue these lead sources because they're not for you. These leads are different than standard sellers who are selling for other reasons. So keep that in mind if you are going after these leads.
Foreclosures can be tough because you’re inherently dealing with people facing a huge financial and potentially personal hardship. Foreclosures can still be a great lead source, but you need to keep some important things in mind.
If you look at the stats, a lot of people at risk of foreclosure fall onto hard times because they lost a job or had some sort of health issue come up. In most cases, some sort of catastrophic event happened in their lives. Unfortunately, people in these situations get a lot of people harassing them, so if you approach them in that same vein, it's likely not going to end well.
Instead, the best way to approach folks facing foreclosure is to explain their options and to educate them on things they need to know. Then, if they do decide to list, they’ll probably use you as their real estate agent because you built that trust with them.
REO / Bank-Owned Homes
Real estate-owned homes (or REO homes) and bank-owned homes are properties that have been foreclosed upon and are now owned by the bank or another company. When this happens, you're obviously not dealing with someone in hardship anymore. At this point, it's all about the bank or company and building a relationship with the employee selling that home.
A member of our team works for a bank selling REO homes, so she knows a lot about this. She tells us that the agents who have their paperwork and processes together and are ready to serve the bank the best deal are usually the ones who get the listings.
The great thing about REO homes is that if you can establish a solid relationship with the bank, you can nab tons of repeat business. It's a really good niche. I know there are agents out there really succeeding in this niche.
The market has shifted over the past few years, and most people are able to get out of their homes — unlike in the recession — so REO leads are a bit softer than they used to be. But there are still opportunities out there.
Another way to find sellers is by finding people who are delinquent on their taxes. That information is in the public record. Here’s a website for looking up property tax records in your area.
While delinquent taxes are not always a sign that somebody absolutely needs to sell, it's definitely a sign that somebody could be facing hard times and might need to get out from under their debt. Owners with delinquent taxes are a great potential source of leads.
Keep in mind, too, there are a lot of investors out there who buy out tax deeds. They'll get houses for pennies on the dollar by paying off the home and paying off the lapsed taxes. I've heard about homeowners actually losing their homes over being delinquent on their taxes in these situations. Maybe the owners didn't understand what was happening, or maybe they moved out of the area and someone else was supposed to pay the taxes, but they missed out, and someone else bought the deed.
Remember the Brady Bunch movie from 1995, when the Brady family almost had their house taken away because they owed $20,000 in taxes? While real life is not as simple as winning a singing contest and signing over a check, tax delinquency does make homeowners vulnerable. If you can offer your expertise, you can help them sell.
Another niche that could be lucrative but requires a gentle touch is finding people going through divorce. Obviously, this is a very sensitive topic. Once again, if you go after people facing divorce insensitively, you're going to make a lot of people angry, and that's not going to serve you well at all.
Many times, when a couple gets a divorce, the real estate is liquidated in order to split the assets. A great way to connect with these leads is to reach out to attorneys who specialize in divorce and offer them resources to share with divorcing couples who might benefit from that information.
To land leads in the aforementioned niches, consider using our delinquent tax or divorce books, which take a sensitive approach to helping people sell at a difficult time. We are also in the process of writing a book for homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Visit authorify.com to learn more.