One of the challenges when marketing to homeowners in pre foreclosure is to overcome their mistrust. In order to unthaw these emotionally frozen homeowners that are often feeling embarrassment, shame and guilt, it takes an entirely different mindset that what most agents are use to.
Most agents sell their services, but when approaching homeowners that are late on their mortgage payment, you should focus on solving their problem, not selling your services.
Distressed homeowners expect a real estate agent to want to sell the house. They expect a lawyer to want them to file a bankruptcy. They expect an investor to rip them off. They have nowhere to turn, in their minds, because their stereotypical thinking limits the possibilities that professionals provide.
The distressed homeowner should see that you are not only after the listing, but that you have a variety of tools in your toolbox to help them, including a loan modification, Deed In Lieu, forbearance, etc. One of the options, but not the only one in your tool box, is a short sale.
At first, this may seem counterintuitive since you are in the business of selling homes. Yet the homeowner needs to know that you have their best interest in mind. By presenting several options on the table, you overcome their stereotypical view of a REALTOR and gain trust by putting their welfare foremost. A homeowner is more likely to trust a professional that provides “ethical and compassionate solutions to problems with real estate loans”, than a REALTOR that merely lists homes.
I spoke to a gentleman today that has a thriving law firm that specializes in bankruptcy. He advertised “Debt relief without bankruptcy” to overcome the stereotype of a bankruptcy to differentiate himself and set appointments to get in front of people that did not understand bankruptcy. You, too, can find a way to trigger action in the distressed homeowner.
The concept to grasp is that you can get through to distressed homeowners if they view you as a trusted adviser that has is not motivated by the selfish gain of commission.
One of our clients that accesses our 30-60-90 day late list bore this out recently with a beach home in Southern California.
The homeowner could not afford the prime real estate and chose to move inland and rent the home to make the mortgage payment. The owner called in the agent to review the loan modification paperwork and the agent helped dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Later, when the loan mod was disapproved and with the options limited, the agent listed the home. Having held the homeowner’s hand from the beginning of this difficult and emotionally charged experience, the agent had proved that he was there to help and built rapport and trust.