Be careful what you say to expired sellers.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I have a property that I'm getting ready to list, but it has been held up by nearly everything you can imagine. It's my property. So, that makes it a little easier to deal with, but that also makes it a financial drain when it should have been sold already. Initially, my painter had a heart-attack. He wanted to come back and finish the job, but it never happened. That was about six weeks wasted. Then, the flooring company took months to do the new floors. Anyway, we're at the end of a long overdue activation of the property. On the positive side, it looks amazing. I spent a lot of time upgrading, repairing and preparing the property.

I had it as a "Coming Soon" listing in our MLS, but because of the events in the early days of the preparations, the coming soon day limit came and went and I had to put it on a "Temporarily Off Market" status. Sadly, that also came and went and then it expired. Today, I received a flood of letters from Realtors wanting me to list with them. The first one I opened said, "If you are reading this letter then your Realtor has not sold your home." The second said, "I,m (spelled that way) absolutely shocked that your home hasn't sold." The second letter had so many false and misleading statements in it, that it was more fraud than fact. 

That brings me to my point, if you're going to go after expired listings let me give you a few pointers:

1. Don't insult the seller or the prior listing agent. My property never actually made it to the market. It wasn't a mistake that the agent (me) made, it was a series of insane events that kept it from being activated.

2. If you're trying to woo expired listings, don't send false information, inflated sales statistics and flat our lies in your marketing. A smart seller can find out the truth and you'll just look like another opportunist who will to say anything to make a buck.

3. Don't make promises you can't fulfill. Don't promise, "I can sell your house in 7 days," or "I'll make you're home disappear in half the time the average home sells in," or "Thousands of homes sold last month, but not yours. I can change that," etc. 

4. Don't patronize the seller. Statements like "I know you're frustrated," "I'm sure you had confidence in your agent, but he/she let you down," only adds to a seller's view of you as a vulture who has no idea why a home didn't sell. 

The letters I received were insulting, patronizing and down right baloney. One said that thousands of homes sold last month, when in reality, our market sells about 1900 a year. There are ways to get expired listings to re-list with you, but you might want to find out why a house didn't sell, or if the expired listing is in the process of being re-listed. That would be good to know before you send letters insulting the listing agent and the process that the listing went through. In my case, everything that held up the listing was the result of circumstances outside of my control. I didn't cause the painter to have a heart-attack. I didn't encourage the flooring company to take three times longer than normal. Not every expired listing is a result of an agent who didn't get the job done. Sometimes things just happen. 





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Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

"I,m (spelled that way) absolutely shocked that your home hasn't sold."


I'm absolutely not shocked that our industry has so many terrible communicators. You're right as always. The 'canned' missives miss a lot if the property has not been researched! 

Feb 09, 2020 04:52 AM #11
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

. . . and phone calls. I had a similar experience recently that garnered at least five phone calls a day for a week and they all had the same kind of "throw them under the bus" mentality. 

Feb 09, 2020 05:14 AM #12
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mike Cooper, GRI - this is an excellent point.  It applies to all sales.  I have received condescending sales presentation that implied that I didn't know anything.

Feb 09, 2020 05:46 AM #13
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Any agent who is marketing to expired sellers and wants to stand out, would be advised to pay attention to your advice! 

Did you get any materials that were actually done well?

Feb 09, 2020 07:02 AM #14
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I just canceled a listing at my clients request.  The next day, I called my clients.  Even though I warned them, they were shocked that they had so many calls and they were not happy.  The agents calling did just about everything you mentioned not to do.  I guess the first agent said, "the value looks good, your agent must not have marketed well."  My client, "you can stop right there, click."  I am interested in the question Kat Palmiotti asked, Did you get materials that were effective.  

Feb 09, 2020 07:47 AM #15
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my goodness, that really speaks of the ole feeding frenzy mentality - and it is quite desperate behavior. Who wants to hire a desperate agent?  Sorry you had so my mishaps on the way to getting the property ready to sell.  However, I'm sure it will pay off. 

And I too like Kat's question. Did anybody get it right? lol

Feb 09, 2020 08:07 AM #16
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

It always amazes me that these folks don’t even take time to investigate that the owner is an Agent!!!

Feb 09, 2020 08:49 AM #17
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I had two listings that I canceled in December - both were to be relisted by me in January/February. In our MLS, I actually transitioned the listings into something we have called the Private Listing Network (signed agreement but not syndicated publicly.)

Any agent could check to  see the listings were still active in another part of the MLS. But they didn't bother - they just called and harassed seller #1 for several days. 

Listing #2 is vacant but my client (now living out-of-state) did get several calls on her mobile! I stopped by the house for my weekly check and found a large package of marketing materials and letter stating many of the things you mentioned above.

I understand that it's a legitimate way to garner business, but as you said, do your homework!

Feb 09, 2020 09:17 AM #18
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA

Well that's a clever idea how to get a copy of everyone's marketing and know who is saying what.

Feb 09, 2020 10:32 AM #19
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Good afternoon, there are several coaching companies that state to call folks. 

Seems it must work as a lot of people are doing it. Although it is not for me. 

Feb 09, 2020 11:03 AM #20
Paula McDonald ~ GRI
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent post on this topic! I am here in Austin, TX for our Texas Realtors® Winter Conference and this has been a huge topic of discussion. All real estate agents need to pay attention - this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.

Feb 09, 2020 11:06 AM #21
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Back in the day we were told there are thousands of leads and the broker handed me the phone book said start calling the numbers. Yikes right 

Feb 09, 2020 11:34 AM #22
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

It is funny you write this, becuase i buy , fix and sell homes too. One of mine that i took off the market, then expired while i made some additional changes, lead me to getting a flood of letters. One agent that even said they have a buyer for my home if i list with them. I have been doing this for 34 years so most agents know me. Maybe some newbies or out of towners done, hence the letters. I di dcall that fella and had some fun with his clients, he never did show up with any buyers

Feb 09, 2020 01:07 PM #23
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Mike, this post has multiple levels of credibility.  You are seller, list agent and broker and it's all first-hand experience.  What an eye-opener.  We all must warn our sellers now when taking properties off the maket.

Feb 09, 2020 01:43 PM #24
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Consider yourself fortunate that you only got emails.

I had a client who 'cancelled' for the holidays... So we took it off mid November... planning on putting it back on the market February 1st.

I had warned him that he would be inundated with calls and emails from realtors wanting to have him re-list with them.  I told him to just tell them that we were still 'in contract' and would be reactivating in spring.

He tells me that within 24 hours, he had over two-dozen phone calls from hungry agents... some of them downright rude... hustling for his business.  What surprised the both of us was that many of them called on his cell phone.  How they got his cell phone is beyond me.

Feb 09, 2020 04:22 PM #25
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Reminds me of  Michael Jacobs post, Ask better questions this morning. Always better to lead with questions than statements.

Feb 10, 2020 08:13 AM #26
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

Have to say that misspellings make me crazy when someone is trying to pitch you something. Agents have the worst grammar skills on the planet I think. You'd think they would all be into video right?

Things happen but it doesn't seem that they even looked in the tax records that you are the agent & the owner. Pretty easy to see if that's the case in real estate year 1 book for dummies.

Feb 10, 2020 08:35 AM #27
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert - McKenna & Vane - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate

Mike Cooper, GRI , great post and full of the truth.  I am just afraid you are not reaching the right crowd, the uneducated real estate agent.  I wish I had a suggestion on how to do that for you.

Feb 10, 2020 08:41 AM #28
Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

Wow -those letters and solicitations sound just awful.  I don't see how those tactics would appeal to anyone.

Feb 10, 2020 03:49 PM #29
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Mike:

Sorry things did not go as planned or hoped for but this was a great way to provide some education about expired listing marketing. Sounds like a pretty awful bunch of letters.

I suspect most expired listing sellers are in a pretty emotional period and the wrong letters are certainly not going to entice them into calling the senders for help.


Feb 12, 2020 08:33 AM #30
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