By Cole Oberndorfer
Pre-foreclosures, or short sales, are dominating the real estate market today. Almost every agent in the field today has had some kind of contact or experience with a pre-foreclosure lead of some sort; whether it be to pass it off to another agent specializing in that area, or to attempt the short sell themselves. Pre-foreclosures look to be a large source of income for the foreseeable future, so it is in the best interest of every agent to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the area of pre-foreclosure. The real challenge with any new endeavor is learning, and knowing how to do the work in that area. Great sources of information are always available to be tapped, brokers, fellow agents, internet sources. The attempt here is to give you basic information on prospecting pre-foreclosure leads to break the ground in this new area of work. But as always, the real test comes in going out and doing the work, and diving in to the deep end, as it were, to face that new challenge.
The onus of calling on leads of the pre-foreclosure category falls squarely on this question. Why go after the pre-foreclosure leads at all? Many agents view these as a lost cause or a waste of time, money, and effort. Those nay-saying agents couldn’t be farther from the truth. These homeowners are in a unique position where they need someone, hopefully you, to step in and be the expert, the person who is going to save them. These homeowners are a unique lead type due to their time constraints and the process involved. Don’t let this discourage you! Often agents become disheartened because there isn’t time, this is not true. There is still a great opportunity from the time of the notice of default, even up to the auction date to turn a sort sale around. Many banks and lenders, with credible people involved, will delay auctions or other proceedings if there is an opportunity to sell. So don’t be discouraged by the time frame of the processes involved. These are some incredibly motivated clients to get things moving so they can get on with their lives. Take advantage of these great leads and the circumstances that make them so desirable.
A Different Approach
Regardless of your standard sales approach, everyone has a different style; working with pre-foreclosures requires a different approach in one key way. Compassion. You may feel absolutely no connection with the situation that people are finding themselves in or you may have personal touches and feelings regarding their predicament, but compassion is absolutely necessary in dealing with these leads. Anyone in this situation finds themselves feeling vulnerable and awkward. Often it’s a very delicate subject to broach and if handled incorrectly, can result in hurt feelings, damaged relations, and very bad publicity. So approaching each and every lead with a delicate touch will immediately engender their trust towards you, and go a long way to allowing you to help them in this situation. So don’t be afraid to back of your normally aggressive approach, if that’s your normal method, to soften your approach when prospecting these leads.
Know the Law of the Land
Regarding the large amount of information available online for dealing with pre-foreclosures one you should absolutely take advantage of is www.foreclosurelaw.org This is a great source, and a necessity for any agent looking to break in to this area. You can quickly familiarize yourself with the laws and standard procedures used for foreclosures in your area. If you are still unfamiliar what each state requires for you to proceed and be successful after checking this site, again, check with your online sources and especially a broker to make sure that you are adhering to all the rules and procedures put in to place by your state and the laws that have effect there. The last thing you want to do is find yourself on the wrong side of the law, or giving out false/improper information to the prospects who are relying on you to be their expert, in many instances.
Pick Up the Phone
As always the old cliché holds true, there is no substitute for hard work. Prospecting these leads for short sales is ultimately a decision on your part to pick up the phone, and dial, or send out the mailers. Compassion, with a purpose, is the key way to securing these leads and maximizing your profits. When developing a script for calling these leads, or a mailer campaign, don’t be afraid to make a reference to the tough situation that they find themselves in, and the awkward situations that it can create. Let them know that as they are going through this situation they will likely feel uncomfortable and uneducated about the process and procedures and that as the expert you are there to help them, and make their lives easier by making the process as painless as possible for them. That being said, all of these mailers and phone scripts won’t do you any good unless you’re actually picking up the phone, or mailing out the mailers. Once your approach has been developed, get the leads and use them. Using a great lead service (The REDX) will help you immensely with getting the leads, their information, and saving you a large amount of time and money. Then, pick up the phone and dial, print the letters, postcards, labels, and get them in the mail; again, with the cliché, they can’t tell you no if you don’t ask.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and attempt to add another pillar of income to your repertoire. With the real estate market being what it is, there are untold amounts of vast wealth waiting for you out if you are willing to put in the work and prospect the leads. Gather the necessary information around you to be successful, be sensitive to the situation, and then do the work, dial or mail , and reap the benefits of your hard work and efforts. Good prospecting!
By Cole Oberndorfer