Agents Are Branching Out to a New Listing Source

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

As you may know, in addition to custom letters, I offer more than 40 different sets of pre-writtenbranching out to new business prospecting and staying in touch letters.

 

While I don't create charts or keep exact track of how many of each letter set is sold, I do notice when a trend seems to be emerging. At one time, nearly half of the sets sold were for short sale prospecting.

The new trend: Prospecting to List Homes in Probate

In the past month or two, the trend has been leaning toward sales of the probate prospecting letters. Agents are reaching out to the owners of homes that are now vacant and showing the executors the advantages of selling prior to close of probate. They're also reaching out to attorneys, so my probate letter set includes messages to both.

It's a good idea, because in most cases, they lack competition.

Agents who can establish working relationships with probate attorneys can provide themselves with a good source of new listings, without much, if any, competition.

It seems that a lot of agents think those listings will involve too much work or red tape – or they don't even realize that homes CAN be sold before probate is finished.

Probate homes do involve a little extra work. An agent needs to have a good list of vendors who will take care of things the heirs don't want to or can't do. For instance, holding an estate sale or arranging for a donation and/or trips to the landfill. Since heirs are so often out of town, the agent also needs to have people on hand to clean, do yard work, and even make repairs – OR have a list of investors/flippers who will buy a house as-is.

Why is listing inventory so tight?

I know listings are scarce in many communities. Is this because homeowners are holding back, waiting to see if prices will rise? Or is it because they're afraid that if they sell they won't be able to find a replacement home?

If price is the issue, it's silly. When their home's price goes up, so will the price on a replacement home – unless they "move down" or choose a less expensive community. In their place, I'd be more concerned with making a new purchase before interest rates rise.

Another trend…

The other recent trend has been toward the property management letters. Are agents seeking new revenue sources through rental management?

The trend I'd like to see: More agents keeping in touch with past clients.

Agents across the country are crippling their own chances for success by letting people forget about them. My first several years as an agent I was one of those agents. I didn't think about it and my broker didn't mention it – probably because she didn't do it either. I had never heard of a contact management system or considered creating a database.

Then I started studying about real estate marketing and realized how foolish I'd been.

Past clients are the people who know you, like you, and would probably feel very good about referring friends to you – if they remembered. Or if your contact information was handy.sphere of influence

People in your sphere of influence are another rich source of business. But unless you talk with them regularly, even they forget to call when they need you, or when a friend mentions needing a good agent.

A speaker from the 1994 NAR Convention stands out in my mind for the story she told – and of course for the way she told it.

She had gone to church with her Mom and after the service was chatting with people outside. One of her Mom's friends started telling how she had just listed her house, then turned to her and said "Are you still in real estate honey?" She said she vowed from that day on that no one would forget that she was "Still in real estate – HONEY."

These letters will get you back on track – or on track if you've never been there!

My site offers two keeping in touch sets – one for getting back in touch with past clients  you've ignored for a while, and one for staying there for the next two years.

Check them out, and if you decide you need both, be sure to use the coupon code: Wednesday to get 15% off.

Imagescourtesy of Stuart Miles|FreDigitaPhotos.net and sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

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Rainmaker
212,375
Stefan Winter
Real Estate in IL & NV | Owner of Real Estate Web Tech | Daily Vlogger - Las Vegas, NV
Owner - Winter Group & Real Estate Web Tech

I did the forclosure letters when I started in real estate around 2008, stopped that about 2011. That is a really great idea about probate, never considered that.

Jun 13, 2015 06:06 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Stefan Winter From what I'm reading, we're about due for another round of short sales and foreclosures - unfortunately. 

Meanwhile, probate has been pretty much ignored, so offers opportunity for someone willing to do the work. 

Another option is to develop a relationship with an investor who seeks out his own probate properties. I have a client who has been supporting his family that way for 25 years, and he always uses an agent - both when he buys and again when he puts those houses back on the market after fix-up. 

Jun 13, 2015 06:29 AM #2
Rainer
150,519
Ed Macias
Real Estate Teammates - Miami, FL
Miami FL-REO Property Management Multifamily

Probate is always good for investors.

Jun 13, 2015 12:03 PM #3
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Ed Macias Yes - especially when the heirs live out of state and don't want to deal with getting a house ready for market. 

Jun 13, 2015 12:46 PM #4
Rainmaker
797,809
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Marte - I have often thought about learning more of the probate thing. I think that could be lucrative.

As far as past clients and sphere of influence, they are absolutely great resources for referrals. We must stay in touch with everyone. 

Jun 13, 2015 01:41 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Troy Erickson I think all you'd need is to read the State statutes, then gather up a group of reputable people to call on when clients need help with cleaning, etc. 

I did quite a lot of reading about probate several months ago when I was writing a long series of letters for a client. The rules are pretty simple. 

Jun 13, 2015 02:56 PM #6
Rainmaker
1,248,613
Alan Kirkpatrick
Austin Texas Homes - Round Rock, TX
Alan in Austin

Marte Cliff 

 

Very good post with great information. Have a wonderful weekend. 

Jun 13, 2015 11:44 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thanks Alan - a good weekend to you too. 

Jun 14, 2015 01:51 AM #8
Rainmaker
3,247,489
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC

Marte

Your post hits on a number of interesting points. In working the probate market . . . .  is a niche market that can lead to additional sources of business through the attorney's 

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 14, 2015 04:32 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Lou Ludwig Absolutely. If you create a relationship with an attorney who trusts you to do right by his or her clients, there's no telling where it could lead. 

Jun 14, 2015 04:52 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,278,827
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Marte, interesting source for new business. I'm going to keep it in mind.

Jun 15, 2015 08:31 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Donna Foerster I think it's a good idea. Once you gain the trust of one or two or three probate attorneys the listings will flow your way without much prodding.

Jun 15, 2015 09:16 AM #12
Ambassador
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I have never thought of reaching out to homes in probate.  That's something I may reconsider in the next six months.

Jun 26, 2015 08:38 AM #13
Rainmaker
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Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann Cleland Some of those folks need a reliable agent on their side - especially the ones who are trying to deal with Mom or Dad's house from out of state. 

Jun 26, 2015 08:58 AM #14
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I'm exploring a bunch of options right now to keep the pipeline full.  Estate sales likely require the same patience and understanding as Short Sales.  Good thing I'm well trained in patience by Short Sales.

Jun 27, 2015 05:49 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,529,928
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Chris Ann Cleland From the reading I've done, I'd say selling homes in probate would be simpler than doing short sales. You do need patience and understanding to deal with people who are grieving, and perhaps with an executor who wants all the heirs to come into agreement, but not the delays and red tape involved with having to get approval from the seller's lender.

Jun 27, 2015 06:18 AM #16
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