Expired Listing

Marketing to Expired Listings for Real Estate Agents

When I was an active real estate agent, I wouldn’t say I liked marketing to expired listings. First of all in Boston, where I live, there were not very many expired listings. It was and still is, a hot market for real estate.  Second, the competition was significant. I remember knocking on the door of one expired listing the first day it expired at 9 AM and having him tell me I was the 19th agent that had contacted him that morning.

Another time I was assisting my broker with a listing that had expired.  I had to go to the condo and open the place for a contractor doing some repairs.  All the mail in the hallway when I opened the door was from agents marketing to the expired listing.  In short, I found the activity of marketing to expired listings to be very unproductive at best.

Marketing to Expired Listings that Makes Sense


Just about when I was ready to give up on marketing to expired listings totally, I listened to a podcast by Joshua Smith of GSD Mode. It changed my perspective and gave me a way of marketing to expired listings that produced just very positive results.

I am not saying that other systems, like the one by Borino, are inferior I am just saying that for me, in my market the method of marketing to expired listings explained in GSD Mode worked.

What makes this system so different you might ask. To start with you don’t sell to the homeowner.  What you do is ask for advice.  You need to understand that just like the expired listing I told you about most realtors are marketing to expired listings the day they show up in your Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and saying pretty much the same thing.

You want to be different from the other thousands of real estate agents in your state. Correct?  You want to differentiate yourself from the herd. Right?  You want to change to a better system.  True or False?

The system




The first thing you need to wrap your head around is the stats for your local area.

How many of those expired listings list again right away?  Some do.  In my area, it usually means that the listing agent had a deal in the works and forgot to extend the listing before closing.

How many of those lists again next year.?  Some people in my area think they can only sell or get the best price during the “selling season,” whatever that is.  Some take a break for a while then re-list.

How many of those that re-list do so in 30, 60 or 90 days? It would be best if you got this straight so that you can be in touch with those homeowners at the right time.  Remember, you want to be different, better at this, than other real estate agents. Now I am not saying you shouldn’t market to expired listings day one.  I am suggesting you need to be different.

Think about alternatives to selling until the time is right.



If you must reach out right away, send them a postcard or a handwritten note.  The note should not say much more than, “Sorry that the home you were trying to sell did not sell in the time you hoped.”

When the time is right to call the homeowner or go and visit them at their home, do it.  I prefer to call.  The script that follows is the one I used. It worked for me, and it might work for you.

The Script

“Hello Ms. Seller, this is Ray Stockwell from (Name of Your Agency).  First of all, I want to assure you that this is not a sale call.  You have probably been getting a lot of calls from real estate agents. Am I right? (pause). I want to assure you that I am not calling to beg you for your listing.  What I have learned is that an excellent way for me to grow my own business is to call homeowners like you.  People that had their home up for sale and were not successful in selling it.  That way I can learn how to help my clients more effectively. If I have your permission what I would like to do is ask you just three questions, and if I could do that, I would be happy to send you a $10 Starbucks or Dunkin gift card.   Once again let me repeat this is not a sales call, just a survey.  So with your permission, I would like to ask you just three brief questions.  Is that all right with you? (Pause and wait for a response)”


“I have three quick questions for you.  Thank you for taking the time to answer them.  I appreciate it.


 #1 – What did your real estate agent do that you felt they were great at doing? The things that made you happy you had chosen them and that you would want to see another real estate agent do?”


“#2 – What do you feel that they were not good at doing?  Where did they come up short?  What didn’t they do that they could have to sell your home?”


“#3 – If you were a real estate agent what would you differently to get your home sold? How would you combine what the real estate agent did well and did not do well?  This information will help me in the future to sell homes for my clients more effectively.”


The Strategy


Here is what you have done up until this point:

  1. You have positioned yourself as non-threatening to the home-owner.  The call is not to sell them anything you are only asking for them to share some knowledge with you.
  2. You have established a feeling of reciprocity. You are offering a gift card ($5 or $10 is what I would suggest providing, and I only ever had to send out one.) They will feel they owe you.  You are offering to give them something, so they will feel they need to provide you with something.
  3. You are building a report with them by listening to their feedback on the last real estate agent they worked with professionally. Just by paying attention to them you are demonstrating that you value them. Make sure they know that you are taking notes. This will indicate to the seller that their opinions have value.



Back to the Script


 “First I want to apologize for the experience you had with the last agent you worked and that you were let down.  As a professional real estate agent I provide each of my clients with a high degree of service, and I expect others to do thy same.  When they do not, I feel it deserves an apology.


It is sad that you had that experience.  Many real estate agents are part-time or otherwise not committed to providing a professional, enjoyable experience to their customers.  They should have guaranteed to you that they would (List those things that the seller said they did not do or did not do well. (Regularly communicate with them, hold an open house every weekend, advertise on Facebook, invite the neighbors, call them one a week to advise them what the status of the list was, or other things the seller might have said. ))


(Let’s say one of them was a regular follow-up)


 “Something I specialize in is communication.  I even have a guarantee I give to my clients that I will update them on any changes to the market I am aware of, any offers I receive on their behalf, and on what actions I have taken to sell their home regularly.  When I sign a listing agreement with you, I ask what your expectations are right up front. It is part of the contract I sign with you, it makes me accountable to you,  and if I fail to do as promised, I expect you to fire me.  I believe in being held responsible for my action or inaction. 


 As I said earlier this is not a sales call.  I want to thank you for the information you have given me.  It is beneficial and will help me with my clients. I want to offer a suggestion if you are open to it.”


“It seems that the things that your last real estate agent did not do well are things that I,  and my agency specialize in.  What I suggest is that we meet for coffee so that I could show you a marketing plan on how I would market your home to sell at the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.   There is absolutely no obligation and I would like to show you what a professional market plan for your home looks like so you can be better prepared when  you decide to list your home for sale again.”



“No worries. As I said this is not a sales call, it is a survey, I appreciate the time you have given me and the information you have provided me will make me a better agent.  I want to send that gift card to you right away so I want to confirm your mailing address. These cards are activated by email so if I could have that as well. 


You should get the card in the next day or two. If you don’t mind, I would like to keep in touch with you.  I want to keep you informed on the housing market.  Of course, if you need to reach me for any reason, I want to give you my phone number and e-mail address.


Thank you again for the time you gave me.”


That’s all there is to marketing to expired listings if the person on the phone agrees to meet with you now great!  If the person on the phone does not want to meet at this time, they may later.  In either scenario, you learned some insights into what a seller wants from a real estate agent.


I would then put the contact into the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database I use.  I am going to follow up with them,  They wanted to sell their home, and they will probably relist in a few weeks. Follow up is the key.  Keep top of mind.  Do what you promise.  You have shown how different you are from other real estate agents.


Try it for yourself.  I think it will help you dominate your market.


Let me know how it works for you.

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