This article is part of a larger series on Real Estate Lead Generation and Marketing.
When a listing has been placed on the MLS® system, it is given a specific time frame before it expires. Once the time frame has passed, the listing is marked inactive. However, just because a listing is inactive doesn’t mean there isn’t still a motivated seller. Expired listing letters then are a useful way to connect agents with these potential leads.
It is worth noting that expired listing letters work best for lead generation when they come across as sincere and speak to the specific reasons as to why a seller should trust you with their home. This is why we highly recommend creating custom messages when reaching out to frustrated sellers rather than using a form letter. We’ve consolidated some examples you can use for inspiration when crafting letters of your own and explained why they work.
Example Expired Listing Letter #1
Dear Francis and Susan:
Have you heard the news? The real estate market’s values are skyrocketing, houses are selling like hotcakes, and all you have to do to get your home sold is put a sign in the yard.
SO WHAT HAPPENED IN THE CASE OF YOUR HOME?
Fact is, there is more to selling a home than putting it in the MLS and putting a sign in the yard … in any type of market. There has to be a strategic and precise plan in place.
Inside you’ll find our “My Home Didn’t Sell, Now What?” guide that will offer insight on what might have happened and how it can be corrected.
Hopefully, by the time you read this, we will have already met in person, but on the chance I missed you, let me take a moment to introduce myself! My name is Don Stevens, and I am a real estate agent at RealtyUSA.
The reason for my recent visit is to show you that I’m more than just another phone call or email … or another real estate agent making promises they can’t fulfill.
Your home didn’t sell, and there’s probably some disappointment. This has likely caused some disruptions in your life and possibly delayed future plans. You put a lot of work into getting your house ready to sell, and I can only imagine the frustration you must feel now that it didn’t.
Are you still interested in selling your home if you could get the right offer?
If so, then we should talk. I’d like to show you our Property Marketing Plan so you can see my firm’s approach to selling real estate.
In an effort to conserve paper, I did not attach the plan here, so please give me a call and I’ll be happy to email that over to you!
Take some time to read through this information and absorb it. If you have any questions about the information you received, or anything else I can offer guidance on, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Don Stevens, cell: 000-000-0000
This marketing piece is not intended as a solicitation for properties currently in an exclusive agreement with another broker.
Source: Finger Lakes Realtor & Copywriter Don Stevens
Why This Letter Works
This letter isn’t delivered on its own. It’s attached to a guide that directly addresses the questions and thoughts that most expired listing owners have. Since most homeowners who were unable to sell their house feel overwhelmed and confused, they will be open to working with someone who can provide the exact answers and solutions to their problems.
Example Expired Listing Letter #2
As an agent in [insert neighborhood/city], I study the market closely and watch which homes sell and which homes don’t. I’ve noticed that you put your home on the market and it didn’t sell. I realize there are many reasons homes don’t sell, and one of those may have been that you simply decided not to move. If that is the case, this letter may not be of interest to you. However, if you still want to move, here is some information that may be useful.
Last year, homes in the [insert neighborhood/city] sold for an average of [insert percentage] of asking price. Many of my clients are surprised at how high this number is, and I explain that buyers are shopping for the best-priced home in their price range. Once they have found that home, they are usually willing to pay close to asking price, even if they start lower. The overpriced homes can’t compete with a similar home that is priced well, and therefore an offer never comes in.
As a real estate professional, I completely understand the stress of putting your home on the market. I pride myself on minimizing that stress by taking a very honest and comprehensive look at your situation and goals. If you are still considering moving, I would like to offer you a no-obligation move analysis. A move analysis examines your overall goals, and then I give you an honest opinion as to whether or not your goals are feasible.
I hope this letter finds you well, and please feel free to contact me at any time.
[Insert Your Name]
Why This Letter Works
By using specific statistics about the seller’s neighborhood, this broker doesn’t just claim that they have local expertise—they prove it. They also use the statistic to make a point and discuss what will be different about his marketing and selling strategy, which gives the homeowner a reason to believe their home won’t expire a second time.
Example Expired Listing Letter #3
Att: Steven Sheldon RE: 123 Main St
Today I noticed your home at 123 Main St is no longer listed for sale within the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). My name is Jim Remley and I specialize in helping people who may be frustrated that their home didn’t sell the first time around. How? I offer my clients a different, unique approach to getting their home sold despite the market conditions.
Just one example of my marketing plan is the effective use of the internet to maximize exposure for your home. This is absolutely critical as 86% of buyers today use the internet as their primary information resource. In addition, when working with sellers, I offer my clients: Complete Market Overview & Pricing Analysis ; Enhanced RMLS listing and a linked virtual tour; Dedicated website, specific to your listing; Online Classified Advertising on Oodle, Craigslist, and Google Base; Complete email-ready property information kit for buyers; and Exclusive 25-Point Internet Marketing Strategy – Local and Regional Marketing.
If you are considering re-listing your home, I would welcome the opportunity to interview for the job. Please give me a call or email at your convenience.
[Insert Your Name]
Why This Letter Works
Almost immediately, this agent states that his specialty is helping owners of expired listings. Most homeowners are not aware that this is something that happens regularly or that some agents can specialize in it. This introduction peaks interest and builds trust in the agent’s expertise and methods.
Example Expired Listing Letter #4
I’m sorry to see that your home has not sold yet. You’re probably wondering why a real estate agent would be dropping off a package of paper towels to you right now. It’s actually not strange at all. I consider myself to be very much like a paper towel in today’s market because the number one reason a home will not sell in today’s market is something called absorption.
This is how it works. There are 240 single-family homes on the market in Lowell today. Eighteen homes sold in Lowell in the last month. If you are an average home seller priced at an average price, it will take 13 months for the market to ABSORB your home. That’s where you need a good paper towel—that’s where you need me.
Over the next seven days, you will receive several items of correspondence in the mail from me. Each of them will contain tools for helping you sell your home … not 13 months from now … but TODAY. I hope with each of these items you’ll learn how I am very different in the way I professionally market each home through closing.
Please call me at your earliest convenience for a confidential, one-on-one marketing consultation.
Andrew Armata, RE/MAX Prestige
Why This Letter Works
This letter will probably grab the homeowner’s full attention before they even start reading because it is attached to a random object—in this case, paper towels. In addition, the second paragraph promises even more random packages arriving, and who doesn’t enjoy receiving free packages? This letter grabs attention and holds attention through its delivery, its formatting, and its unique guarantee.
Example Expired Listing Letter #5
<Client name and address block>Hello <first name>,
I noticed your home listing expired recently and am sorry to hear that your home has not yet sold. The home sales process can certainly be a stressful and exhausting process.
Despite the challenges of today’s real estate market, I have seen success with real estate sales in your area. My recent sales of homes in your neighborhood include:
<insert 2-3 closed sales: two-bedroom, listed for xx months sold for $>
I would be thrilled to take the burden and stress of the home sales process off your shoulders. Please consider hiring me as your new listing agent. I have some creative ideas to ensure your property moves quickly and garners a sales price commensurate with its market value. I hope to hear from you soon.
<Contact block with name, RE license #, firm name, firm address, email, phone, and social media>
Disclaimer: This document is provided as a sample and does not constitute legal advice. Members should modify this document to address their specific needs and verify all information provided to ensure its accuracy and compliance with applicable law.
Why This Letter Works
This agent specifically states results they’ve gotten in the homeowner’s neighborhood. The homeowner may even recognize a few of the addresses and homes listed, which makes them immediately feel connected to this agent. This strategy also proves their knowledge and expertise without the agent having to make vague claims about their ability to sell this property.
Example Expired Listing Letter #6
Are You Fed Up With All the Reasons Your Home Didn’t Sell and Now Want Some Straight Answers?
You want to get on with life. You want to get your home sale behind you. But no one has stepped forward to make an offer.
“Why is this happening?”
The REAL reasons may shock you!
Dear Frustrated Homeowner,
Does it seem like your home will never sell?
Few people truly understand the frustrations you face trying to sell your home. Perhaps you’re in between jobs and need to start renting. Or maybe you want to buy your next home, but you feel paralyzed because you need to sell this home first.
Maybe you’ve dropped your life savings into this home. And because of the lousy economy, or unscrupulous people, you’re now trying to get your money out. The clock is ticking … and with each tick, you lose more and more of your hard-earned money.
My name is <<Your Name>>, and I am a REALTOR® specializing in difficult-to-sell properties.
In over <<10>> years of marketing “hard-to-sell” properties, I’ve learned a few things about why YOUR home is NOT selling.
Each home is different, and has special problems that make selling it difficult. That’s why I created a special program for people like you. I call it my “Maximum Home Value Audit.” It’s FREE and there’s absolutely No Obligation Whatsoever to work with me or any other agent.
My audit will show you:
- How to get the absolute highest price the market will pay for your home;
- The difference between functional and cosmetic issues with your home, and how easy-to-fix and inexpensive problems may be costing you thousands;
- How to “dress” your home to make it look like it’s worth thousands more (the way you live in a home, and the way you sell a home are TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS!);
- I’ll inspect your home and property from top to bottom to reveal true problems affecting its successful sale, from specific condition issues, through lot sighting, home sighting, and location. Then, I’ll tell you how to minimize the impact of negative issues, and promote positive features so you can get the very most money for your home—and sell it NOW!
As you can see, because of my experience, my Maximum Home Value Audit is a much higher level of service than what you may have experienced before.
Selling “Hard-to-Sell” Homes Is My Specialty!
And unlike other agents who will tell you anything just to get your listing, I’ll show you EXACTLY what your home is worth with a reliable, real-world analysis. No fancy figures. No hard sales pitches. Just the facts presented in a straightforward, easy-to-understand format for you.
THERE’S MORE: In the process of reviewing your home’s sale potential, I’ll also tell you how to get your property out to the most people possible through the internet.
You Can Put An End to You Frustrations … Stop the Hemorrhaging Flow of Your Equity Down the Drain, and Get On With Your Life RIGHT NOW!
I know there’s a tendency to put this letter aside, or “think about it later.” But every minute you spend sitting on an unsold home is costing you money! And in today’s overcrowded market (with more listings than buyers), you need to know all the smart ways to advertise and show your home to get a fast, top-dollar sale.
Right now, you can take advantage of my FREE, No Obligation “Maximum Home Value Audit” by simply picking up your phone and calling my Fast Response Hotline at 222-2222.
You have thousands of dollars and valuable time to gain—and absolutely NOTHING to lose by calling now. I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. Right now, you can end the frustrations of sitting on a home that simply won’t sell! You can stop flushing money down the drain with each passing day and get on with your life, simply by taking advantage of my FREE, No Obligation “Maximum Home Value Audit.” So call my Fast Response Hotline right now at 222-2222, and say goodbye to your old home … and hello to new freedom!
Why This Letter Works
This agent takes a unique approach by offering a free, no-obligation service to the homeowner before asking to take the listing. It’s similar to using a lead magnet, which is a small but irresistible offer that builds the connection between you and the homeowner. The free home audit offered by this agent will prove their value and expertise to the homeowner. If you can offer a simple, no-brainer product or service to expired listing owners, you’ll be much more likely to close the sale.
Why Customizing Your Expired Listing Letters Matters
It is good to keep in mind that you are probably not the only agent competing for this listing. Think about how you would feel after receiving essentially the same letter from a dozen different real estate agents. This is exactly why you should take the time to craft a different letter for each expired listing. You can also make it more eye-catching and less like everyone else’s letter by printing it with a service like ProspectsPLUS!, which specializes in real estate mailings.
The goal of your mailing is to show the seller that you can sell their house, even though the last agent couldn’t. Therefore, you need to figure out why the house didn’t sell before writing your letter.
While prospecting for potential expired leads, it is a good idea to also research identified properties using your MLS, Zillow sales history, or StreetEasy, and look for:
- How long the home was on the market
- The price
- How the listing was marketed (Was it properly photographed? Was the description accurate?)
- Information about the previous agent
- Information about the homeowner
- The condition of the home
- How the home was staged
By researching these property factors, you gain a better understanding of the problems that caused the listing to expire. You’ll increase your chances of getting the listing if you can tactfully use this information in your expired listing letter.
You can also learn about other ways to gain listings and identify leads by reading our article on real estate prospecting tips.
A great expired listing letter can get you new clients and help you establish authority in your farm area. However, they can be time-consuming to draft. In addition, it can be difficult for those starting out to convince a frustrated seller to give listing their home a second chance with just a sheet of paper.
That said, an expired listing letter doesn’t have to be the only tool you use to connect with these sellers. You can also pick up the phone and call them directly using a service called REDX, which not only helps you identify expired listings, but compares contact data against the do not call registry, and also provides you with proven scripts. You can learn more about this service and how it can help you gain more expired listing leads by visiting their website.