Strategies When Marketing To Distressed Homeowners That Works

Posted by Jim Gaddis of

4359164358?profile=originalHaving worked with hundreds of agents that get in front of distressed homeowners, the biggest negative feedback that I've received is that a lot of those delinquent homeowners have their head in the sand or are not ready to immediately warm up to a stranger, particularly given the rough period they are experiencing in their lives. To be sure, getting through to them is not easy, but I want to avail the opportunity in this blog post to share some hard-won wisdom when reaching out to those troubled borrowers and converting them into  motivated sellers. 

There is a natural distrust between distressed homeowners and agents. After all, the entire media has told them for the past couple years that if someone is offering help to stave foreclosure, it's probably a scam. How do you overcome this   barrier? There are a few ways to clear this hurdle. 

#1 The key, in my view, is presenting yourself not as an opportunistic agent looking to list their home, but as a real estate expert that offers ethical, compassionate solutions to problems with real estate loans. Many agents I work with "lead in" with a loan modification. Loan mods are a joke you might say, or you don't make any money off of them. I grasp that. But the idea is to educate the homeowner on all of their options, including but not limited to a short sale. In the event that the mortgagor doesn't qualify for a loan modification, they are much more inclined to list their home with the agent that was there from square one advising them on all of their options. Trust is the name of the game. Distressed homeowners expect an agent to try to sell their home. They expect a lawyer to file bankruptcy. Their stereotypical views freeze them into inaction. By breaking out of the mold and establishing yourself as having the homeowner's best interest in mind, you can develop trust and rapport with gun shy homeowners.

#2 The call to action is critical. "Call me for a confidential consultation" won't motivate distressed homeowners in many cases. Those homeowners that would not otherwise pick up the phone to talk to a real estate agent may go to a website to download a free report such as "The Five Mistakes You Don't Want To Make If You Fall Behind On Your Mortgage Payment", or "How To Use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act To Stop Annoying Collection Calls". Such carrots will draw these delinquent homeowners in to learn more. At that point, they are not saying in their minds, "I want to hire this agent to sell my house". What they are saying in their minds is, "Geeze, I don't wan to make those five mistakes" or "It would be nice to stop all the harrassing calls". In this way, you are nurturing those delinquent homeowners along in an incubation process. 

#3 Benefits resonate with distressed homeowners much more than the features of your service. The reality is, distressed homeowners don't care whether you helped 28 homeowners avoid foreclosure last month, whether you are a member of the Better Business Bureau, or what training or designation you have. Credentials are fine, but their decision to work with you will be based mostly on emotion and whether they like you or not. As Zig Ziglar said, "people buy on emotion and justify their decision with logic". Those distressed homeowners care not initially about your credentials, but what they do care about is keeping their children in the same school, getting a good night's sleep, relieving the uncertainty for their family, etc.
If you found this post to be insightful, I would be happy to bounce some other ideas around and help build a list of homeowners that need the help of a short sale expert. To learn more, download a complimentary ebook on pre-foreclosure marketing and request a free area analysis of distressed homeowners in your area, visit
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