Guest post by Alex Charfen, CEO of the Charfen Institute and author of the Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) Designation
Once shunned by the majority of real estate agents, short sale listings are quickly becoming the hottest ticket in town.
With 1 in 10 homeowners not paying their mortgage—and Major Lenders predicting huge increases in short sale closings in 2012—savvy agents are finding new and creative ways to find and attract distressed property listings.
A great place to start your outreach campaign is a list of NODs. Notices of Default, or NODs, are legal notices sent by a mortgage servicer to a homeowner who is 90 days late on their mortgage. Subscribe to REDX’s Pre-foreclosure leads to access a list of NODs in your area.
With a few simple modifications, you can use many of the same marketing techniques with NODs that have yielded you results when prospecting for traditional listings. For maximum impact, utilize the following:
1.    Multi-touch Approach
Don’t expect results after one call, mailing or door knock. The foreclosure process can take months, and many distressed homeowners will refuse to face the reality of their situation until their time has run out.
As with any effective outreach campaign, follow the “Rule of 7,” which states that the majority of prospects need to be contacted a minimum of seven times before they notice your message. Distressed homeowners, who are often in denial of their situation, may require even more touches. Stick with it; persistence is key when marketing to NODs.
2.    Multi-method Approach
Not all homeowners will respond to the same type of messaging. A consistent but varied approach to outreach will often yield the best results.
Include the following elements in your NOD outreach campaign:

  • Letter
  • Postcard
  • Free Report
  • Door Knock with Flyer or Door Hanger
  • Handwritten Note
  • Foreclosure Avoidance Seminar Invitation

Be sure to include your contact info, including a website address where they can download informative resources (such as a free report with foreclosure avoidance tips) in exchange for their name, email and phone number. This will help you track the success of your outreach and enable you to follow up with interested leads.
3.    Get in a “Saving” Mindset (not a “Selling” One)
Before you begin your outreach, get centered and set the intention that you are going to help the person you are contacting.
When you have a long list of NODs to tackle, it’s easy to forget there’s a real family on the other end, and they are probably going through one of the most difficult times in their lives. The threat of losing your home is frightening and highly emotional. Be respectful, and always set out with the intention of helping instead of selling.
Additionally, don’t imply that you know the homeowner themselves is in financial distress. For example, when door knocking say, “I’m out here today to let my neighbors know that if they or someone they know is behind on their mortgage payments and doesn’t know what to do, I am here to help.”
Now that you’ve connected with homeowners in your area who need help, make sure you’re listing their property the RIGHT way. Download our FREE report:  The 5 Steps to Listing a Successful Short Sale!