As you may know, in addition to custom letters, I offer more than 40 different sets of pre-written 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.
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.
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!
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