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Three Steps On How I Landed My First Million-Dollar Listing

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I am sharing the 3 steps I took with no marketing budget and nothing by time and determination on my hands to land my very first listing.  These are the very same steps that I took which lead me to my very first million-dollar listing, which was listed at $1,300,000.00. I charged a flat 6% commission, which would have been split 50/50 with whoever brought me a buyer. My marketing was so good, that I ended up finding the buyer myself, which meant I got to keep the whole 6% commission. Do the math; you can do this too! My total cost you may ask? Nothing but a lot of time and a lot of long nights. Imagine you selling a couple of these million dollar homes a year, you would easily be making over $100,000.00 a year. Is it hard? It’s much harder than you think.

1.) Hand Written Direct Mail: When I first started in real estate, I had a very limited marketing budget, which my guess is that yours is very limited as well. Everyone I knew was doing these super fancy direct mail campaigns, which were nice and all, but really expensive. All I had was a lot of time and a lot of determination. I started hunting and preying on this little thing called expired luxury listings in my market.

For those who don’t know about expired listings, it is a home, which sat on the market for months and never sold so the contract expired and, therefore, is available as a potential listing for you. Once I had a solid list of expired listings, I personally wrote hand written letters as to why I thought their home did not sell and what I could do to achieve a sale if they list with me.

Clients responded well to this simple marketing technique because it was not the usual, your home did not sell postcard everyone near them got. This takes a lot of time, I was writing 100 letters a night, my handwriting is far from the best so the next best thing that I transitioned to was a typewriter thanks to the tip from another luxury agent outside of my market. My target client knew about the typewriter, but of course us millennials, not so much so it always struck good conversations when we actually met and they saw how young I was.

2.) Construct a Current Market Analysis: After I sent out the initial expired mailings which were all hand written, I would stay up late at night creating a current market analysis (CMA) for all the expired luxury homes I had on my list. This CMA was mailed out about 2 weeks after the initial letter. I wasted no time, others will say send out a piece every month or so, I did not have that kind of time to wait. I had a son and bills to pay so I needed deals fast.

These were full in-depth analysis of how much the home was worth to me, and how much it could ultimately sell for. In this CMA I would include the exact steps I would take to market the home and the time frame I believed it would take to sell the home. I also included all the recent sales in the area and any direct competition their homes had. This created realistic expectations when we actually met, and because I already slipped all the data on the table before hand it eliminated many of the awkward confrontations you can run into with sellers.

This created a ton of value for my clients, and it was great training for me to stay up to date on the market. In order to do this you need to know your market, very well so do some for friends and family. Practice makes perfect!

3.) Door Knocking To Close The Deal: About two weeks from the date they would have received my custom CMA, I was out and about knocking on all the luxury homes, I had touched with my hand written letter and my CMA. I did not ever feel like I was intruding, and aside from that I knew I could sell their home, I knew I would be of service, and I knew they would love how aggressive I was if they listed their home with me.

I approached them first asking if they received any of my material, and if they did not I would have extra copies of the letter and the CMA in my car. They loved how prepared I was. The majority of the time they would have received my material, and already had a list of questions for me. From here on out all I needed to do was having a killer listing presentation and the listing was all mine for the taking. This is not to say I never got rejected (trust me I did plenty of times) but I kept at it and I kept knocking until they sat down with me always offering something of value. I wouldn’t stop until they either listed with me, or with another agent. Side note don’t be annoying either, be professional and always asked if they mind if you stop by with any relevant market information.

I’ll leave you with these to start, if you’re in real estate and want to list a million dollar home be confident, know your market, and most importantly hustle! This business is not easy like any other business so treat it as such. It’s yours if you don’t care for it and nurture it will not grow. The market is ever changing everywhere, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel with some fancy mailer, or website, etc. Although these are good things to implement in your practice, keep it basic and simple don’t get lost in this noisy world of real estate.


Alexander Lopez is the founder of The Lopez Group, New Buffalo, Michigan's premier team of Real Estate Professionals with Sotheby's International Realty, specializing in unique, luxury, and waterfront homes. Alexander Lopez and The Lopez Group are in the process of expanding their expertise to the great city of Chicago.