By Darryl Davis
RISMEDIA, September 8, 2008-If you’ve been following our series on Short Sales, you’ve learned all the skills and know-how necessary to complete a Short Sale. You may be asking, “So I know what to do; now how do I find homes that qualify for a short sale to put my knowledge to use?” After reading this series, you’ll never be at a loss for leads, again.The first place an agent should start in search of short sale leads is a Lis Pendens list or Notice of Default list. Once a bank files a motion against a homeowner for not paying their mortgage, it becomes public record. This is the Lis Pendens or Notice of Default list. You can sign up for a subscription, purchase the list or you can go to your County Clerk’s office to pull the information. When working with this list, there are a few ways to contact the homeowners without offending them. An effective system is a letter campaign.
The first letter should be very vague and inform the homeowner of the general market conditions. By explaining what is going on in the market, and how this is a common occurrence (defaulted mortgages), they will feel more comfortable as they realize they are not alone in this situation. As always, include your contact information in the letter and state that if they need more information, they can e-mail or call you. Another approach to your first letter to homeowners in default is to include a brochure that explains the mortgage crisis. Be careful not to pinpoint the homeowner you are mailing; your goal is to stir some emotions from them so they realize they are not alone and there is a resource they can call for help, which is you. For more information on this letter system – what to include, the appearance of the letters and how to handle sending them out – you can find in-depth instructions and explanations in our home-study course, www.ShortSaleDesignation.com.
Another effective tool to use for homeowners on the Lis Pendens list or Notice of Default list is door-knocking. However, it must be utilized with great caution and care. Try to appear as approachable and friendly as possible; remember the psychological state of homeowners who have people trying to collect debt from them constantly. Offer them information, inform them about the Lis Pendens list and how it is public record, and ask them to refer you if they know of anyone who may be facing foreclosure. Leave them with your contact information and solutions for foreclosure, similar to the letter system.
Another method you can use to generate leads is advertising. Simple roadside signs are inexpensive but powerful. Some ideas for roadside signs:
Are you in Foreclosure? Save Your Home!
We Buy Houses, All Cash.
Buy House All Cash, No Fee to Seller!
Big, bold signs with few words and big numbers are the most effective. In our Certified Short Sale Professional home-study course, you can find several sample dialogues on how to handle calls from your roadside signs.
Attorneys can be a great source of referrals. With the work load that short sales require, some attorneys do not want to deal with it. You can contact just about any type of attorney: bankruptcy attorneys, divorce attorneys, real estate attorneys etc. The best way to receive leads from these professionals is to build a rapport with them. Explain to them that you’ve closed deals with so-and-so bank, and that you have experience with Short Sales. Ask that they refer you any deals they may have because you’re the expert in your market. Additionally, you can target attorneys by sending out direct mail pieces or letters with information about what you do, and how you can help them.
What you may not realize is that you can find leads in the general public and community. Locate organizations such as churches, Kiwanis or Knights of Columbus and offer a free seminar to provide value to their community. At the seminar, hand out contact cards that the attendees fill out with their information. Most likely, no one will stand up to ask questions for fear of embarrassment during the seminar, so they can do so on their contact cards and hand it in at the end of the event. And voila, you now have leads to call. Be sure to keep the seminar short and informative, and consider a raffle or giveaway so that everyone in attendance is willing to hand in their contact card. At the end of the seminar, you now have information on homeowners who may be interested in hearing more about your services and how you can help them, or someone they know, to save their home and their credit.
Contrary to popular opinion, other real estate agents are a very valuable resource for leads. There are many real estate agents who are not familiar with the Short Sale process, or who do not particularly favor them, and as a result they are a lead generation source. By simply offering a referral fee program, other agents are willing to jump on board with you. When speaking with other agents about working with you on Short Sale deals, it is imperative to explain how you are opening a whole new stream of revenue for them on deals they would normally walk away from. What’s more, if you’re comfortable with any brokers or owners of real estate agencies, it becomes a possibility to offer a presentation to their office: “If you’ve got deals that are falling apart, or are losing business, I can be a resource for your office.” You’ll start to notice raised eyebrows as you mention your referral fee program and you will gain the support of an entire office of real estate agents.
The next avenue to target is Credit Repair companies. Not only are they an excellent source of leads for Short Sales, but also for buyers. People who have had their credit repaired are now buyers; the people who need their credit repaired are potential sellers. Explain to Credit Repair agents that you specialize in Short Sales and you’d like to work hand-in-hand with them, and possibly refer some of your defaulted homeowners to them so they can have their credit repaired. The two services are very complimentary to one another insofar that you, as the agent, can help homeowners to remove the mortgage debt and the credit repair company can then help restore their credit with ease (without the strain of an outstanding loan). When homeowners repair their credit, they then become possible future buyers.
The last lead generation source is Mortgage Brokers. Loan officers are a very powerful resource for Short Sale leads. When speaking with mortgage brokers, be sure to discuss how you can market Short Sales properly; as an agent you can handle all of the documentation such as the listing agreement and broker price opinions, and you can provide the bank with everything they need to complete the sale. By building a relationship that works for everyone involved, a win-win situation evolves where leads are passed back and forth consistently. Be sure to convey that being a short sale professional, you are going to let them do what they’re great at – write loans – while you do what you’re great at – negotiate short sales and sell real estate. Loan officers can offer you files of homeowners who applied for refinancing but do not have the credit to qualify, and as such they become potential Short Sale deals.
You’ll start to notice your business becomes full-circle. When you take files from loan officers to work on Short Sales, you can now funnel business to the Credit Repair agents. Once the homeowner’s credit is repaired, they may now be able to refinance, which will help the mortgage broker you’ve been dealing with.
As you can see, there is a wealth of lead generation sources out there in your everyday world. Properly utilized, these resources can become a steady stream of income for you and you can build a strong referral base. Short Sales open up opportunities that were once unavailable to you as an agent. For complete details, dialogues and techniques on how to handle these lead sources or how to market yourself as a specialist in Short Sales, be sure to visit us online, www.ShortSaleDesignation.com.
If you’ve been with us from the beginning, from Series 1 through 4, you’re on your way to becoming a Short Sale Pro! Take a refresher: Keep an eye out for our fifth, and final, articled in this five-part series, Series 5: A Summary of the Short Sale Process.
About the program: Darryl Davis‘ “CSSPTM: Certified Short Sale Professional” Home study designation course teaches agents and brokers how to fully understand and capitalize on the profitable and overlooked Short Sale market. Through this effective and informative learning program, you agents develop the tools and techniques to increase their sales, always receive a full commission and generate higher profits in any type of marketing condition. After completion of the program, each agent receives their designation as Certified Short Sale Professional.
To learn more and order the program, visit www.ShortSaleDesignation.com
About the author: One of the most sough-after speakers in real estate, Darryl Davis has been a Master Trainer and Advisor for the past 15 years. He has been named one of the Highest Rated Speakers at the National Association Of Realtors® Convention for the past 9 years. Darryl has directly impacted hundreds of thousands of real estate professionals with his live events, best-selling books, learning systems and coaching program.