A couple of weeks ago, I posted my home for sale on Zillow. This is the only place I posted it, I did not put it in the MLS or on any other website. Apparently my name got placed on a For Sale By Owner list, and to date I have received at least 15 calls from Realtors.
I do not mind the calls themselves, I totally understand that this is a method Realtors use to get business. But let me tell what I do mind. (My point of posting this is not to be mean, but give a homeowner's point of view, and hopefully this will help with calling techniques)
- About 13 of the calls started with the person asking "if you were to sell, where would you move?". Some people even blurted out this question before saying hello (seriously). Because I heard this line so many times, it sounded very scripted and eventually just sounded like a canned sales pitch or the person was reading off a list of question supplied by the list service.
- Not one person has emailed me (my preferred method of communication) or even mailed me any literature. I assume this is because you would have actually had to go to Zillow to do this, as the email address wasn't supplied on the provided list. Had anyone done this, they would have stood out, at least a little.
- I told every person that called, that I was a Realtor. In IL you are required to say 'agent owned' in your home's marketing , no matter whether you are selling thru your brokerage or not, which I clearly stated in my marketing text on Zillow. This was news to every single person that called. In fact one person literally yelled at me for being not stating this (I had). I told everyone that Zillow was the only place I had posted my home, only one person was even familiar with this site. All this said was that no one had actually researched my home online and they were just calling down a list.
- No one gave me any sort of information that was interesting about themselves or my neighborhood or my house. No stats, no personal bio as to why I should use them. I would have liked to hear something like "I sold a home three blocks down from you a few months ago" or "I was just in your neighborhood with buyers last weekend" or "oh, I love that (store/restaurant/park) near your home". Something interesting and personal to get the conversation going would have been nice.
- ONE person said "I am working with some out of town buyers this weekend and I would love to show them your home, can I come preview it". I know from seminars that this is a technique taught, but maybe he was serious, I'll listen. I told him I too was a Realtor, but I would happily show him my home. He ended by saying he'll call me next week to set up a time for the buyers to come by. He never called, he didn't have buyers. I felt lied to.
- Another person called (opening with the line in bullet one) and the conversation turned toward price. Your home is overpriced she said. I know I said, I am not aggressively selling. She then preceded to very snappily tell me how it would never sell at this price and basically made me feel stupid for trying.
- One person opened with the statement that he was conducting a For Sale By Owner survey. I huge weakness for surveys, so sure, I would love to participate. Guess what, it wasn't a survey... sales pitch of questions asked from a list. The survey ended around the time that I told him I too was a Realtor. To his credit, he then shifted and asked if I knew of anyone that might be in the market. This was good, but here is what he asked- Do you know anyone looking to buy in the next 7-10 days? Hmmm, I don't think I'll ever know someone who will buy a home in 10 days. That's a pretty short window I said. His answer was, I don't really care about people who are looking within the next 2 years, that could be anyone. (my translation, I don't plan on being in the business two years from now). Further, why would I refer to you? I don't know anything about you (he hadn't even given me his name).
I have more, but I'll stop because this post is getting long. Point is, that not a single call I got would have made me list with anyone who tried. Some people were flat out rude to me. Others were very nice, but you could tell they were reading off a script and the minute they went off the script, the uncertainty of what to say next really came thru in their voice. Others just sounded clueless the whole time we were talking.
If you are going to work from a list, I think you could get so much further if you spend a little time researching the homeowner's situation. Of course you won't be able to bang through a list as fast, but I believe the quality of the call will be much higher and hopefully results in a higher closing percentage.
My overall experience of getting calls was very eye opening as to how the general public is treated by real estate professionals, and it was generally not good. I hope this post helps people who call For Sale By Owners to up the quality of the conversation they are having as they are also representing the industry as a whole with each call.