How to convert opposition listings (includes scripts)

If you don't reach out and help them, who will?

How to convert opposition listings (includes scripts)
Photo by vu anh / Unsplash

My old manager* loved to say:

"It's often the second mouse that gets the cheese..."

In a tough market, sometimes the best listings to get are the ones where you are the second agent the owners hire. The first salesperson does all the hard work educating the owners and testing unrealistic price expectations. Then you swoop in at the end like a breath of fresh air, with new ideas and energy, and benefit from highly motivated sellers, primed to meet the market.

When I started out in real estate back in 2007, converting old opposition listings was my no.1 source of business in the first 12 months. In fact, without this strategy, I don't know if I would have survived.

There are several reasons why targeting opposition stock is a fantastic way to secure listings:

  • Very little competition. You probably won't be up against 3 other agents second time around.
  • Owners willing to try new things. It's often easier second time around to secure marketing investment, or get owners to try campaign processes like Auction or Tender. You might also find they are more willing to improve presentation by decluttering, or taking on small repair jobs if it will help secure a sale.
  • Lower price expectations. Owners have tried it at their price, and the market has spoken. They are more open to feedback, having been 'rejected' by the market for 3+ months.
  • Less fee negotiation. Owners are less focused on cutting costs (like your commission). What they care about is: can you get the job done? Come in with a solid plan and back it up with consistent effort and they will pay you a reasonable fee.
  • Low-hanging marketing fruit. Many salespeople are just plain lazy. They use crappy photographs and boring 2 sentence adverts. They use the same main photo online for 3 months straight and never bother to try a different approach, like switching from an asking price to By Negotiation, Tender or Auction. Often a fresh approach is all that is needed to get these houses moving.

The main challenge when attempting to list a property that has already been on the market with another salesperson is that the owners feel dejected. They think no one likes their home and it will be extremely hard (if not impossible) to sell.

Your biggest competition isn't that they choose to go with another agent, it's that the owners decide to give up entirely.

Therefore, your key job in this process is to give them hope. To be a voice of positivity, reminding them that lots of good houses don't sell first time around. Focus on the fact that when they sign up with you they will be a brand new listing again, top of the search results on all the property portals. Assure them that there are always new buyers coming into the market, and if their property is currently on page 8 of trademe results (or whatever portal you use), it's possible lots of active buyers don't even know it's for sale!

How to approach opposition listings