16 Proven Strategies To Get More Real Estate Seller Leads
16 Proven Strategies To Get More Real Estate Seller Leads
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16 Proven Strategies To Get More Real Estate Seller Leads
Looking to get more real estate seller leads in 2023? If you’ve worked in real estate for more than 30 seconds, you’ve probably come to the (painful) realizations that 1. You need seller leads to become a top producer, and 2. Finding and converting seller leads is hard work.
In order to make the process a little easier, we updated our list of proven strategies to get real estate seller leads in 2023 and beyond. There are tons of great tips in here from our expert real estate pros at The Close and our friends at Douglas Elliman, as well as links to 12 deep-dive articles with scripts you can start using today.
1. Learn How to Find Hidden Listing Inventory
In his 28 years as a broker and coach, Sean Moudry has heard agents give every excuse in the book for why they can’t get real estate seller leads. You can probably guess what the most common excuse was: “But Sean, there’s just no inventory out there!” Sound familiar?
With interest rates rising and properties continuing to be snapped up in 2023, inventory is still at historic lows in many hot markets. But do you think that stopped Sean from getting leads and closing deals well above asking? Of course not. He just worked a little harder and leaned into other sources of listings. Here are three sources that I think will be especially promising this year:
- Homebuilders: The fact is, builders can’t turn on a dime with buyer demand, so they’re going to need help offloading inventory in a cooler market.
- Homeowners turned landlords: With the downturn in asking prices, there are bound to be owners who are renting out their properties, waiting for prices to rise again.
- Preforeclosures: There are struggling homeowners out there who could benefit from your expertise.
You can learn how to convert these three potential customers (and learn about six more inventory sources) in Sean’s article on the best strategies to find hidden listing inventory here:
2. Drive Traffic to Home Valuation Landing Pages
Every owner wants to know how much their investment is worth, and that’s even more true in a volatile market. In 2023, driving traffic to home valuation landing pages is still one of the best ways to generate top-of-funnel seller leads online. The only problem is that getting a low cost on pay-per-click ads and designing landing pages that actually convert is very difficult. Most agents don’t have the time or tech skills to do it.
Luckily, there is a much easier way to get seller leads from home valuation landing pages: You can “rent” your ZIP code on homevalues.com from Market Leader and start getting seller leads right away. You’ll get all the best real estate seller leads without the hassle.
3. Learn How to Work Expired Listings
The best advice I ever got about success in real estate—and maybe in life—was also the simplest:
“It’s better to be their first love, second spouse, and third real estate agent.”
While we don’t give relationship advice (yet), we can tell you from experience that this is true. First-time buyers and sellers almost always choose the wrong agent. That makes expired listings—properties that a real estate agent couldn’t sell in time—an excellent source of seller leads.
Of course, like all cold outreach, winging it is probably not a good idea. You likely won’t be the only agent trying to contact these owners, and they’ll have objections lined up for you. That’s why you’ll need a lead source and auto-dialer like REDX or Vortex, and you need to practice tried-and-true scripts and objection handlers if you want a shot at actually converting them.
4. Join a Team With Well-known Listing Agents
When you started out in real estate, you may have thought of yourself as a lone wolf, enjoying working without a boss telling you what to do when. But joining a team led by experienced listing agents will give you insights and the direct experience to start working seller leads faster. Sure you could figure it out on your own, and working under someone else might not live up to your expectations, but if you want a head start becoming a listing agent, joining a team is one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
5. Use Predictive Analytics to Target Homeowners BEFORE They’re Ready to Sell
If you want to get a taste of what the future of generating seller leads will look like, you need to integrate predictive analytics into your lead generation strategy. Of course, using artificial intelligence (AI) to generate seller leads sounds pretty intimidating to most agents—myself included—but you don’t need to know a lick of code to leverage the futuristic power of AI to generate real estate seller leads.
Predictive analytics companies like Offrs work their tech magic behind the scenes, using AI to parse more than 250 data points. They say they can predict more than 70% of listings over a 12-month period. Even better, Offrs technology somehow manages to predict listings months before they’re ready to sell, giving you the heads-up you need to secure clients before other agents know about it.
6. Help Distressed Homeowners
No matter how good the market is, there are always homeowners who fall behind on payments. With the recent rate hikes and markets softening in many cities, there is a good chance we will see more homeowners falling behind this year.
In some cases, they are able to recover from their situation by getting caught up on payments or negotiating a loan modification, but in most cases, they will have to sell the home to avoid foreclosure. That’s why working distressed properties can be a great way to get listings in any market.
While we don’t have a crystal ball to tell us where the housing market is heading this year, the Federal Reserve’s options are limited. They have signaled that quantitative tightening—raising interest rates to lower demand—will likely continue for the foreseeable future. But whatever happens in the market, learning how to help distressed homeowners is a crucial skill for every Realtor to learn. You never know when it will come in handy. Learn more about how to find and work with distressed homeowners in Sean’s course, “Survive and Thrive,” in The Close Pro.
7. Work Your Sphere to Find Real Estate Seller Leads in Your CRM
If you’re not working your sphere, you are leaving seller leads on the table. Period. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 63% of all sellers find their agent through their sphere. Since you’ve already got some sort of relationship with these people, you can skip the cold outreach tactics and start straight in on strengthening your existing relationship and nudging people toward becoming clients.
Miltiadis Kastanis, director of luxury sales in Miami Beach for Douglas Elliman, gets most of his seller leads from his network:
“My seller leads come from my network, from being on the scene, and from always being at the most happening events. My tips and tricks to keeping them as a full-time client is by being at their call even when it’s not related to real estate.
“I go to their personal events, support their causes, invite them to dinner parties, and so on. I become a part of their daily life and offer a superior level of service to make sure they don’t think of anyone else for their referrals or their personal real estate needs. I come from a hospitality background, so it’s really simple for me.”
8. Create an Action Plan for Lead Nurturing & Automate It
Since even the hottest seller leads can take months to convert, successful listing agents create action plans to nurture them for the long haul. Once they have a plan that works, they automate as much as they can. This makes your leads feel like you are devoting time, energy, and interest to their needs even when you’re busy drumming up new business.
Here’s a quick example of a nurturing action plan from Dina Goldentayer, a Douglas Elliman agent in Miami:
- Text message: Once per week
- Market update call: Every two weeks
- Coffee meetup: Once per month
Using an affordable customer relationship management (CRM) system like LionDesk, you can easily automate market analysis drips, birthday and holiday texts, meeting invites, and more. LionDesk also has an AI assistant, auto-dialer, and click-to-call features, so you won’t get bogged down with busy work.
9. Convert Rental Leads Into Seller Leads
While traditionally a seller lead generation strategy that only really worked in big cities, converting rental leads has become a viable plan for agents all over the country. Once you look at demographic shifts, it’s easy to see why. First, more people are renting now than ever before, and second, developers are building more and more high-end rentals outside of larger cities.
Here’s Manhattan luxury agent Adrian Radomski on just how lucrative converting rental leads can be:
“Treat every rental showing as if it were a large sale—you never know who you’re showing to. I’ve converted a $9,000 rental showing into a $4.2 million sale. That person then referred me to another family member, whose apartment we sold for $1.3 million.”
10. Get Over Your Fear of Cold Calling Expireds & FSBOs
While many people tend to avoid phone calls as if they were actually allergic to them, I still believe that the personal connection made on the phone is equal to 10 postcards or emails. It’s simple really—human beings are conditioned to both remember and react to interpersonal communication.
So when you’re planning out your lead generation and nurturing campaigns to convert seller leads, make sure you add regular phone calls to your plan. That means setting aside a few hours each day to cold call, as well as regularly picking up the phone and calling former clients just to check in and remind them you exist. Jennifer Alese, Ryan Serhant’s head of new development, didn’t mince words when we asked her how important calling leads is to getting listings. She also added a quick tip about diversifying your outreach methods to get a response:
“Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and talk. This is so important and goes such a long way. It’s a work day? Text them! At the end of the day, we are all in the same world and evolving with technology. Not everyone checks emails, answers calls, or listens to voicemail.”
Mia Caesar, an agent on Long Island, swears by cold calling expired listings to generate seller leads:
“Definitely tackle expired listings! It’s a free source of warm leads and it doesn’t cost anything to pick up the phone or knock on their door and introduce yourself. It’s a great way to get listings, learn your market, and get your name out there as a trusted resource. I also love that working with expired listings tests your problem-solving skills, since you have to market the home in a fresh, new way that wasn’t already done by the previous listing agent.”
11. Build a Library of Local Service Providers to Drive More Referrals
Another great way to drive seller leads is to build a library of local service providers. The idea is to be known as something of a local fixer. So if someone in your sphere needs something, they know you have connections.
Brian Babst of Compass in New York City agrees:
“For everyone I come in contact with, I position myself constantly as a helpful resource, and not as focused on the immediate listing. If they are confident I know the most cost-effective painter, the easiest place for window treatments, or best slice in the neighborhood, I know I’m going to be on their list when it’s time to sell. Especially in a time when there is a ‘concierge’ or an Angie’s List-style referral source for everything, people want to trust a ‘Brian’s List’ that’s actually handpicked and tested. Money and time matter—if you can prove you’re a helpful resource, the sellers will remember.”
12. Nurture Relationships With Local Business Owners
One underappreciated way to get real estate seller leads is to develop relationships with local influencers who will then become evangelists for your business. No, we’re not suggesting you go out for drinks with the local equivalent of Kim Kardashian. Instead, you can work to develop relationships with local business owners. Why local business owners? Simple. They know everyone, and new people moving to your farm want to know them.
You can always go out and talk to and interview local business owners for your blog or social media posts to build tons of local content for your leads. Or, you can use the system that Parkbench already perfected to give you a head start and help automate the process.
13. Work Open Houses to Find Seller Leads
Although many agents tend to ignore them, open houses can be an excellent place to find seller leads. Yes, you’ll get the inevitable parade of tire kickers and curious neighbors, but you’ll also get serious would-be sellers checking out the competition to see what their home might sell for. After all, every consumer thinks they’re the real estate expert these days, and what better way to get a lay of the land than checking out listings in person?
Open houses can be an especially fertile source for seller leads in affluent neighborhoods, as most residents never even see their neighbors’ driveways—let alone their living rooms.
Barbara Leogrande, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman Long Island, sees open houses as a perfect excuse to skip right past online lead gen and meet potential clients in person:
“Open houses are hands-down the best way to generate seller leads. I typically do two to three every weekend and find that it’s not only buyers who attend, but also homeowners scoping out the competition and subconsciously interviewing the agents they meet. Nothing beats a face-to-face, personal experience and making a great first impression. When they call me to list, they say, ‘Do you remember me? We met at your open house!’”
14. Work With Real Estate Investors & House Flippers
If you’re working in a reasonably sized city, chances are there are dozens of investors and house flippers buying, renovating, and selling houses every day. What most people don’t realize is that investors weren’t born yesterday. They know that their best chance to get top dollar when it comes time to sell their listing is to hire an agent to aggressively market the property.
Why shouldn’t that listing agent be you? If you have local expertise, marketing chops, and enough experience to get them great prices, then you can set yourself up with a steady supply of listings to close every month. Check out forums such as BiggerPockets to find potential contacts.
15. Find a New Niche to Work Seller Leads
If you’ve tried all the other ways to get seller leads here and you’re still not getting any, you might be working the wrong niche. Markets change, and staying ahead of the curve and working niches that are growing rather than shrinking just might be your ticket to getting more leads.
Just make sure you do your research here. Transitioning to a new niche is a risk and might not pay off if you choose the wrong one. And, of course, every market is different. Understanding the cycle that your particular area is in could be key to making the right choice. If you’re not sure where you stand, check out Sean Moudry’s guide to deciphering local real estate market cycles.
Here are six niches that we think will grow in the future:
16. Pitch Homeowners With a Highly Detailed Listing Marketing Plan
Where and how you market a home for sale is at the very core of your fiduciary duty as a listing agent. After all, your plan for marketing a property is one of the key pieces of information homeowners use to make the decision to hire you or move on to the next agent. Unless you’re working in the middle of nowhere, there will always be another agent.
So take the time to put as much work into your listing marketing plan as you would into your comparative market analysis (CMA). While you should tailor your marketing plan for every new listing you pitch, you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, create a marketing plan that will work for any listing and modify it to appeal to the owners of each listing.
While you might think your CMA is more relevant to the homeowner’s pain points, chances are it’s not going to be very different from your competitor’s. You probably used the same software to produce it!
Over to You
Have a great strategy for getting seller leads that we missed? Let us know in the comments. We update our articles frequently to always give you the latest information, but technology and the markets are changing faster than ever these days. So if you have questions, pain points, or just want to share a cool tip, our digital door is always open. If you’re really struggling and want some support from fellow agents, join our Facebook Mastermind Group. Or check out our special report on the best real estate coaches to find someone who can help today.
Mortgage Rates Are Below 6 Percent
Mortgage rates peaked 12 weeks ago. They’re much lower now.
According to Freddie Mac, February 2023 begins with the average 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgage rate at 6.13 percent.
For many first-time buyers, the rate is even lower.
In December, the government introduced new rules to reduce mortgage rates for low- and moderate-income home buyers. Then, in mid-January, it introduced a second set of rules to lower interest rates on low-down payment mortgages for everyone.
Market forces are also improving rates.
Consumer costs dropped in most economic sectors last month, so the Federal Reserve is less likely to raise borrowing costs. Inflation and
As mortgage rates go down, purchasing power goes up.
For the same mortgage payment, February home buyers can buy 15 percent more home as compared to three months ago, and analysts expect rates to drop again over the next 60 days. Wall Street believes that the Federal Reserve stopped economic inflation and engineered a soft landing for the U.S. economy.
When inflation pressures retreat, so do mortgage rates.
Home Values Aren’t Headed For A Crash
The U.S. housing market isn’t headed for a crash, and data suggests that a market bottom is already here.
According to real estate data company Altos Research, February 2023 begins with just 466,000 single-family homes for sale, marking the tightest home inventory since last June.
Altos Research also reports an uptick in home sales.
February begins with 264,000 homes under contract to sell, representing a 12 percent jump from the New Year. And according to the National Association of REALTORS®, more than half of homes sold sold within a month.
Home buyer activity is up sharply this year, too.
Homebuyer.com data shows a 73.9 percent jump in mortgage applications in January compared to the prior month, and search traffic for first-time home buyer queries such as “first-time home buyer grants” and “what credit score do you need to buy a house” doubled in the same period.
At the current pace of home sales, NAR reports, buyers would buy up every U.S. home listed for sale before the start of June.
Data points like these are the hallmarks of healthy, expanding markets.
Sellers Are “Throwing Money” At Buyers Right Now
A third reason why February 2023 is a good time to buy a home, to borrow a phrase from Axios, is “sellers are throwing money at buyers right now.”
A sample of real estate contracts shows 42% of home sellers gave concessions to buyers recently, including money for home repairs, closing costs, and mortgage rate buydowns. Another one-third of sellers lowered their home’s sale price to make their homes more attractive to buyers.
Today’s home sellers behave like they’ve lost their leverage over buyers. The data suggests they haven’t.
For buyers, the current housing climate represents opportunity. Buyers can make demands, and those demands get met by sellers. Between now and late March, buyers will retain this advantage and can buy terrific homes at lower, more affordable prices.
Mortgage Rate Discounts For First-Time Buyers
Effective immediately, eligible first-time buyers get automatic mortgage rate discounts on their conventional mortgage loans.
Through the FHFA First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Rate Discount, low- and moderate-income first-time buyers can purchase a primary home, finance it with a conventional fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage, and get a discounted mortgage rate.
The FHFA First-Time Home Buyer Mortgage Rate Discount changes the math of “Should I rent or buy a home?”
The money-saving program is valid for single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and multi-unit properties. Qualified buyers automatically get mortgage rate discounts of up to 1.75 percentage points off their mortgage rate, with no additional documentation.
The discount program is temporary, another reason why February 2023 is a good time to buy a home. Once the program’s gone, mortgage rates go up.
Click here to check your discount eligibility.
Buying A Home With A Small Down Payment
For many first-time home buyers, when it’s time to buy a home, it’s time to buy a home – it doesn’t matter whether current interest rates are too high, available home supplies are too low, or there’s enough money saved up in the bank.
Homeownership can’t always wait.
Thankfully, first-time buyers can achieve their American Dream of homeownership without having 20 percent saved for a down payment.
Buyers can use several government-backed low down payment mortgages and down payment assistance programs available to eligible buyers.
Plus, it’s getting easier to get a mortgage approved.
Lenders have lowered minimum credit score requirements for certain low- and zero-down loans and Congress also is stepping in to assist.
Nine homeownership and affordable housing bills are working through Congress to give first-time buyers programs tax credits, cash grants, and other purchase incentives. Watch this video for a review of the programs.
Buying A Home Into The 2023 Housing Market
February 2023 is a good time to buy your first home. Mortgage rates are down, home prices are settled, and buyers have leverage over sellers.
Our advice for today’s home buyers:
First, do your mortgage pre-approval. Mortgage pre-approvals use today’s mortgage rates to tell you how much home you can afford and set realistic boundaries for your home search.
Every successful purchase starts with a good pre-approval. It’s never too early to get one.
Second, do work on your credit score. Review your credit report for errors and supplement your monthly bill-paying with a credit-building service such as StellarFi that can work in as few as 30 days.
Third, research down payment assistance programs in your area via the HUD website. Some programs may have been discontinued or defunded in the new year, so call the local provider to verify availability.
Author: Dan Green
It’s All About Curb Appeal: The Simple Landscaping Task That Can Boost Your Home’s Value The Most
Those who would rather not lug the lawnmower out to tackle their grass generally pay about $415 for lawn maintenance.
A home’s exterior and front yard are “the first thing that many homebuyers see as they drive up,” says NAR’s Vice President of Research Jessica Lautz. “It does impact whether a buyer is willing to step inside.”
Having a beautifully landscaped property not only helps with a home’s resale value, but it also often keeps the neighbors happy. Homeowners who neglect their yards might face peer pressure to keep their properties tidy so as not to drag down local home values.
First-Time Home Buyer? Here’s How to Improve Your Credit Score
Pull your credit report
There are three major U.S. credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion), and each releases its own credit scores and reports (a more detailed history that’s used to determine your score). Their scores should be roughly equivalent, although they do pull from different sources. For example, Experian considers on-time rent payments while TransUnion has detailed information about previous employers.
To access these scores and reports, financial planner Bob Forrest of Mutual of Omaha recommends using AnnualCreditReport.com, where you can get a free copy of your report every 12 months from each credit-reporting company. It doesn’t include your credit score, though—you’ll have to go to each company for that, and pay a small fee.
Or check with your credit card company: A variety of card issuers offer free access to scores and reports, says Michael Chadwick, owner of Chadwick Financial Advisors in Unionville, CT. Once you’ve got your report, thoroughly review it page by page, particularly the “adverse accounts” section that details late payments and other slip-ups.
Does The Home You Want To Buy Qualify For A USDA Loan? Here’s How To Tell
What type of home qualifies for a USDA loan?
While there is a lot of flexibility in the type of home that may be accepted for a USDA home loan—including condos, townhouses, and new construction—not all homes will qualify. Since USDA loans are meant to help lower-income homebuyers, it’s not intended to be used to buy a mansion. On the contrary, eligible homes must appear “modest” relative to their location. In many cases, that boils down to square footage.
“The general USDA standards for eligible properties include a living area typically between 400 and 2,000 square feet,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “The property’s value is another indicator of whether or not the house is modest.”
While the exact limits will vary by area, another general rule of thumb is that the land itself cannot be worth more than 30% of the value of the actual home sitting on said property.