How Expired Listings Helped Me Land My First Million-Dollar Listing


Expired luxury listings can be a double-edged sword; it can work for a lot of people who put in the time and effort and get a massive list of potential listings and people wanting to hear what you have to offer or you can ultimately put in the time and effort and yet still waste a lot of valuable time writing letters, knocking on doors, making phones calls and never (and I mean never) get the luxury listing you were hoping for. Regardless of this risk, I still love using expired listings. They are my number one source of new business that is not a referral. A lot of agents in my market overlook them, for whatever reason; to me though it’s a gold mine, I just have to find the right expired listings to go after. Here’s why I love them and go after them, they are essentially an unlimited source of motivated seller leads.

Expired leads are available every single day, for free. Everyday homes are expiring in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system either because the contract with the other agent expired, they are priced to high which caused it to never sell, you may have unrealistic sellers, or the sellers fired their agent or vice versa (I’ve done that before). Regardless, the leads are free and the individuals are wanting to sell so it makes it that much easier to close the deal with your expertise and marketing. Here’s what I look for while hunting down these expired leads, so that I am not wasting a lot of valuable time. Hopefully this brings you value.

1.)   How old is the lead: The very first thing you should look for while hunting down an expired luxury listing is how long its been expired for. Most systems have a tendency to show you everything within the last 12 month; although those can be very good quality leads sometime later, but when I first started I stayed away from anything over 60 days old. Why? Because I wanted those fresh expired listings that are probably disappointed with their agent, disappointed with the way the home was marketed and is still fresh on their minds. I wanted those individuals who wanted to sell, and probably needed to sell to move on with their lives, I found out that those sellers that have an older expired listing essentially settled home, and figured they would try again in a couple years or just not sell at all which in turn wasted a lot of my time. I had no time to hunt the older leads and nurture them; I would search for expired leads within the last 60 days because those were my goldmine.

2.)   Are the sellers realistic: Many times, you would find many luxury listings that are just overpriced. It pisses me off, that other agents would list a home for much more then it worth. Either because they suck at valuating the property or they just jumped the gun on a price recommendation simply because it would get them a listing and a sign on the yard. Even worse is that they can’t negotiate pricing, and the sellers had all the control, that’s a scary thought. After I compile a list of all the expired listings I want to go after the next step is to gauge how realistic the sellers are on the pricing, I would do my own personal analysis base on a few factors I will go into detail about on another post. With this information I would gauge whether or not the house was priced accurately, and or whether or not the sellers just wanted much more then the home is worth. Those that are ridiculously high, with unrealistic expectations I place on the back burner. Remember you want business now, not later. Once you have some money in your pocket and some listings on the market focus on those leads that you have to nurture and educate on the pricing.

3.)   Am I truly different: The last step in my process is if I can I truly with all my heart do something much different then what the pervious agent did and get results. This is a serious topic, as many agents in the market pick up and list anything and do the exact same thing over and over again they take some pictures, they place the listing in the MLS which in turn places it on all the online websites like Realtor, Zillow, and Trulia and then they cross their fingers and hope someone buys the property before their contract with the seller expires. Don’t just do this! Before I even send out my hand written letter to these expired listings, I research what the previous agent did for marketing, and how in depth he/she was with it. The reason for this is because if they do the same thing I’m doing and would do then I’m bringing the seller no value at all, and they will never just let me list their home on my good looks, well they can but I don’t think that has happened often. I need to make sure that my marketing differentiates greatly then from the previous agent. If the house was priced accurately, and the agent did the exact type of marketing as I’ll do then that will be a waste of time in my eyes for the sellers and myself. I want to come in to a listing that will allow me to do what I do, and garner me much success and value to the sellers that they refer me to all their rich friends and family so I never want a home I have listed to expire without selling, it happens trust me but it sucks to lose one!

Simple right? No way. After these three steps are completed and I have narrowed my list down to the expired listings I want to pursue then comes the actually hunting. This is just a stepping stone to writing a killer letter to the sellers, which opens the door to a lot of conversations and of course listings. It’s worked for me in my market greatly and I know it can work for you. If all you have is time, and in need of some quality leads that you wont have to pay for, go ahead and hunt them down in your MLS. Don’t give me excuses that no one wants to listen to you, that your to young, etc. I just turned 24 years old, and have never received any devastating rejection that hindered me from closing a luxury deal.

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.