How To Talk To Expired Listings

Expired listing techniques

A coaching client asked me about expired listings. She asked, “are there non-commission sleaze ways in which to reach out to expired listing homeowners?”

It seems like a simple way to create new listings. Call the homeowner and dazzle them with how you can do a better job than their last guy. Or, just offer a lower commission. Simple.

Dozens of Realtors are calling every expired listing. They call at the crack of dawn, deliver glossy and expensive marketing, and they are persistent! They call, text, and knock until the homeowner lists or dies.

How do you think the expired listing homeowner receives the sudden tidal wave of Realtor interest?

Tactical Empathy

Current expired listing systems are 100% about YOU and your company. The assumption is that you are the solution the homeowner needs.

But it is a disrespectful assumption. No one takes the time to understand THEM. Is it any wonder the average expired homeowner is cranky when they answer the phone?

Against this background, I wrote out a tactical empathy strategy to help my coaching client stand out as an agent the homeowner can trust. It is a dissection of how to communicate based on how the expired listing homeowner is feeling. It is not a “script and dialog”.

The Expired Listing Conversation Strategy

expired listing homeowner

It is important to understand how the homeowner feels right now.

They are hounded by super aggressive agents, they are frustrated and disappointed their home didn’t sell, and they have “feelings” about the decisions they made in this failed attempt to sell.

An agent who can demonstrate that they understand the expired listing homeowner’s situation will have a major advantage.

The Introduction

“Hi M/M Homeowner, I am Kendyl Young with DIGGS and I am sorry. I know Realtors are aggressively trying to get your listing. You’re probably wondering where they were while your home was on the market!”

You know this is probably true for the seller. The competition probably started calling at 6:30 AM and the seller has been rolling their eyes ever since.

A “No” Oriented Question

“Before I waste any of your time, have you given up on selling your home?”

The normal version of this question is “do you still want to sell your home?”. The homeowner knows you are hoping for a “yes” and they resent the manipulation.

My version is oriented to get a “no” answer and it is asked with a neutral, almost deferential tone. You are “just checking” and that is unexpected. The homeowner feels in control when they get to say “no”.

Ask a “How” question

“Ok, got it. So… how do you plan to move forward from here?”

The normal expired listing “script” would ask if the homeowner is looking to change agents. More often than not the homeowner will start defending their past agent. They are both defending their own ego (they didn’t make a mistake by hiring the last guy) and keeping you from being able to “sell” them.

Asking “how” gives the homeowner space to share their thoughts. Even a vague sharing is better than a firm defense of their past actions.

Label What Seems True For The Homeowner

“I’ll bet it is shocking your home didn’t sell in a market like this.”

“It seems like you aren’t sure what it will take to get your home sold”

“I’ll bet you have some strong opinions on what needs to change”

We are taught that the way you get information is to ask questions, but questions are often stressful. One worries about giving the “right” answer.

When you label what seems true for the seller you are saying, “I see this “thing” about you (or your situation). Am I right?”.

It is easy for the seller to either confirm or correct your observation. Either way they are happily talking about their favorite subject- themselves- and you are learning a lot about what makes them tick. Since they are happy either way you don’t need to worry about being accurate, just observant.

It sounds simple – and it is- but it isn’t easy. Listening is super hard when you are obsessed with how to say the “thing” that secures a listing!

Dive Deeper Into What Is True

expired listing success

If you get this far you are giddy with excitement. The expired listing homeowner is spilling all the beans and you have all the best solutions! Clearly the listing is yours once you tell them your plan.

I have some really bad news. Despite all evidence the homeowner is not actually interested in you (right now). Your great ideas are not new and the last guy already chewed up a ton of the seller’s time “selling”.

The homeowner wants a Realtor who truly gets the problem. Seek to understand everything possible about anything the homeowner shares.

“The price was too high”- find out how they set the last listing price and their emotions around the market’s reaction to the price

“I didn’t get enough showings” – Uncover the homeowners assumptions about how showings happen in the first place.

“I need more creative marketing”- does this mean they are firm on their price? Why? Is price more important than selling at all?


If you rush to offer solutions the seller has no reason to continue talking to you. They got what they wanted- confirmation there is nothing new out there- and you just wasted a bunch of time.

Instead, if the seller walks away impressed that you understand and CARE about their problems, you are well on your way to winning.

Does This Change Your Perspective?

I get incredible joy in thinking about how to communicate in a more respectful and truthful way. I know the difference these techniques made in my real estate life.

Do you have a situation you would like to improve? Describe it in as much detail as you like in an email ( If I pick your situation for my next post I’ll make sure you get a copy.

My individual coaching clients have access to my skills on a regular basis. Would you like a sales vet like me as your guide through your career? Shoot me an email, fill out the form, send up a smoke signal. I got your back, boo.


  1. Suzanne Hawken

    April 27, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Kendyl is the be all and end all of what a successful REALTORĀ® (and Broker) looks, sounds and leads like. It was a no-brainer for me to choose her for my real estate coach and what I learn from her on a regular basis is not only amazingly helpful but makes complete sense! Thinking about how to gain trust and build relationships with people isn’t about us, it’s about them. Always. And, this is true not only within the real estate business, but in all life human to human situations. At the end of the day, we need to spend a little (or a lot) more time listening. Not selling. Awesome post, Kendyl!!

    • kendylyoung

      April 27, 2022 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you Suzanne. It makes sense… but it isn’t easy. Keep up the good work!@!

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