In the following re-blogged post, Lenn Harley has added important information to my earlier post on letter writing.
I would encourage all agents to take the time to construct well-written letters for this purpose, and to use them!
Because letter-writing is almost a lost art, that alone will make you stand out from your competitors.
And, you never know, you might find a gem of a house that your buyers will love. Even if you don't find just what your buyers were looking for, you'll be introducing yourself as a true professional while getting acquainted with more homeowners.
Personalize your letters
Len addresses this in the comments on her post, but in case you haven't read all the comments: Be SURE that each of your letters is addressed to the homeowner, both on the envelope and in the greeting on the letter.
Each letter should look as if it was written to only that one homeowner. And with contact management software, it's easy to do. So take the extra time to take that extra step.
Well, what about writing letters for home buyers??? It works for me.
Marte also writes: "You are merely another stranger who has invaded their mailbox."
UNLESS THE HOME OWNER FINDS HELPFUL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE IN THEIR MAILBOX.
I use business correspondence to generate potential homes for qualified home buyers. It works.
NOT YOUR USUAL JUNK MAIL. One of the reasons my letters are successful is, I believe, because the consumer is not used to receiving business correspondence from real estate agents. What they usually get every month or so is the same old, same old, post card with the big photo of the agent and a few words. Or, someone knocks on their door just as they sit down to dinner. Or, the phone rings just as they step out of the shower.
A well constructed business letter is taken seriously. Of course, you're still selling something. However, in this case, you're selling a well qualified, pre-approved ready willing and able home buyer. Just what many home owners are going to be seeking when they inquire about listing their home for sale. No, you're not looking for listings and you should make that perfectly clear in your letter. Don't try to pull the wool over the home owners' eyes. Consumers aren't stupid. The home owner will see right through you if you send letters claiming that you're representing a buyer seeking a home in their neighborhood and you can't produce a buyer.
WE NEED A HOUSE. When I'm on the prowl for a home for a buyer in a particular community, I send letters. They work. If I were a listing agent seeking listing, I could often pick up 2-3 listings with every 100 or so letters that I send. As it is, my letters generate about 6 telephone contacts from owners for every 100 letters I send.
My last round of letters seeking a home for a family was sent to 130 homes in a community in MD and generated 7 owner telephone and e-mail contacts with homes to view from which my buyers selected one that they loved. The owners accepted the buyers offer, saved money and my buyers got a home they love. All from a few letters.
THE NUMBERS ARE IN YOUR FAVOR. In every community over 2 years old there are always a number of owners getting ready to sell. It's all in the numbers. If you reach them before they are listed, you'll generate a higher return rate than then the usual return for direct mail advertising.
Good professional correspondence is a long lost art, if it ever was an art for most agents, which I doubt. I'm a word junkie and I started sending out personalized letters back in the 1980s. To the great surprise of my then broker, I generated a significant number of listings or homes for buyers to consider. I've used them since and trained several agents to do the same. Sadly, few have ever taken up the practice on a regular basis and would prefer to just wait for listings for sale. The MLS creates a dependency for many agents. Sad.
BE PRO-ACTIVE! If you're working with a good buyer client, tour the communities and if the buyers focus on a particular area or community, write a letter presenting your buyer to selected home owners. You just might find the perfect home for your buyers to buy.
YOUR KEYBOARD IS YOUR FRIEND. Let it take you to new lands of opportunity.
It works for me.
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988. Helping home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia.