The road to prosperity as a real estate agent begins with prospecting.
And as all great salespeople know, the art of good prospecting begins with a single mindset shift—it’s not leads you’re after, it’s a long-lasting relationship.
But being a real estate agent is quite different from being any other kind of salesperson.
You’re not just selling bricks and mortar, you’re selling grandma’s house, perhaps someone’s childhood home. Sometimes, you’re helping a divorcing couple through a painful phase of their lives. Or you’re selling a space that turns a pair into a couple, one that nurtures families and memories.
And actually, compared to other industries, real estate agents actually aren’t doing too badly in terms of how their customer service is perceived. Forty-nine percent of respondents in our recent survey said that real estate agents provide “pretty good” to “very good” customer service. It’s not the best out of the industries, but it’s not terrible:
What better way to begin a relationship than with one of the oldest forms of long-distance communication in the world? The letter.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Why prospecting letters are still a real estate agent’s best friend
- The elements of a great prospecting letter
- 9 samples of real estate letters to send to prospective clients
- How to make the most of your real estate prospecting letter
Letters? In 2020?
A United States Postal Service survey in 20181 reported that millennials (who currently make up a sizeable chunk of the real estate market) are surprisingly responsive to marketing mail, compared to older generations, with 38% liking mail from organizations not seeking donations.
So yes. People love letters.
Source: 2020 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends
Not what you’d expect of the generation that grew up with tech? Well, funnily enough, they appreciate companies that speak directly to them and offer a personalized experience to show they value their business. (On a related note, a Canada Post study also determined that direct mail can be 20% more persuasive than digital media2.)
Learn about the best software for real estate agents that’ll help you master the art of communicating with your clients.
How to craft real estate letters that sell
The funny thing about real estate letters that help you close deals is that, well, they… don’t sell.
Instead, what they do—and what they’re meant to do—is spark a connection and lay the first brick to a foundation of trust. It’s not like an open house follow-up where you have a point of reference with a prospect that you can mention. You don’t close deals in just one shot, especially when there’s a lot of money involved, like in real estate. You need to lay that foundation first.
“Top professionals in real estate… understand they are in the people business. They don’t sell homes. They get people happily involved in owning property by satisfying their real estate needs,” writes Tom Hopkins in his book, Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate.
Here’s how you can write people-first real estate prospecting letters that help you get the leads you need.
Send out differently worded letters to different segments and try to personalize each one as far as possible. Handwrite your prospects’ names instead of referring to them as “Ma’am” or “Sir.”
Even as you’re trying to appeal to your prospects’ hearts, still try to use a professional tone. Place your letter in a blank envelope and cut out the bells and whistles of typical direct marketing mail, like loud, salesy headlines and brightly colored flyers.
But don’t be too stuffy. Remember, you’re here to build relationships. “When you write direct mail, don’t suppress your natural style. Let the words flow in your own voice. Write the direct-mail letter as if you were writing a letter to a friend,” says Robert Bly in The Copywriters’ Handbook.
Throw in some free stuff (of value)
Free stuff, aka gifts, aka what people (almost) never complain about. This could be a local neighborhood newsletter, a free property analysis, or some coupons to a local restaurant.
If your gift is thoughtful and perfect for the season, you will be remembered. This is especially effective when you’re new to the area and are competing with other agents who are already known in the neighborhood.
Don’t give gifts (only) during festive seasons, as everyone will be doing it, and yours will get lost in the heap.
9 templates to help you send an authentic real estate prospecting letter
There are as many templates as there are types of potential leads. But fear not, you can use the following templates as a guide and tweak it to apply to your unique scenarios at hand.
Remember to sign each letter personally and provide as many ways for your prospects to reach you as possible.
1. Real estate agent introduction letter
The scenario: Use this template when you find yourself without much information about your prospects and need to get the word out en masse.
I hope this letter finds you well. My name is (Name), and I’m an agent working with (Company). I’ve lived in (Area Name) a long time, and I’ve seen it blossom from the sleepy neighborhood it once was to the thriving commercial hub it is today.
I’m excited to let you know that from now on, I’ll be representing homeowners in this area. If you ever wish to put your home up for sale, purchase a home, or even just want to chat, feel free to reach out to me. I’ll be glad to help.
Why it works: You don’t know much about your prospect, but you can still make a personal connection by focusing on what you have in common—where you live.
2. Real estate introduction letter to friends and family
The scenario: When you’re all set up and ready to roll, let all your friends and family know about your new career. They will become your chief source of referrals and clients for the long term.
How have you been? How are (Partner’s Name) and the children? I hope that (Recent Life Event) is treating you well.
I’m thrilled to tell you that I am now officially a licensed real estate agent! I started working with (Company) a few days ago. I hope you like my business card!
Please keep me in mind if ever you’re thinking of selling your home—and tell everyone you know! As a small gift, I’m offering a free property analysis upon request.
Please reach out to me if ever you require my services.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Why it works: Providing a free market analysis demonstrates to your network that you have the ability and resources to handle work—and also that you mean business.
3. Real estate referral letter
The scenario: Referrals are the holy grail of a successful real estate business. One happy client means a whole network of warm leads. If someone is referred to you through a happy client, send out this letter but make it super personalized for better results.
My name is (Name), and I’m a real estate agent with (Company). Recently, I had the privilege of serving our common friend/your (Relation)—his/her home fetched a pretty incredible price, and I’m helping him close a deal in (Neighborhood) now.
(Friend) told me you might be looking to relocate soon, and I did a quick market analysis of your neighborhood, which I’ve attached. It’s a little hard for me to contain my excitement, so I’ll come out and say it: I think your house has great potential, and I’d love to tell you more.
Please call me at (phone number), and we can set up a time to chat. I think there’s a huge opportunity here, and I’d like to help you take advantage of it.
Why it works: This letter does two things: It makes the prospect aware of your existence and willingness to go the extra mile to deliver value.
4. “I have a buyer for your home”
The scenario: For a seller, often the difference between passive consideration and active decision is the availability of an opportunity: the buyer. Here’s how you can reach out to a homeowner with good news.
My name is (Name), and I’m a real estate agent with (Company). I’ve been representing homeowners in this area for a few years now, and while I was driving past your home the other day, it occurred to me that it might be perfect for one of my clients who are looking for a home. They’re a family of four looking to relocate to a single-story home close to the school.
As the end of spring break approaches, they’re looking to settle down urgently.
Should you be interested in selling, drop me a text at the number below, and we can set up a visit.
If you aren’t currently looking to sell but know someone who is, my client and I would love to know more.
Why it works: Buyer’s prospecting letters often have a bad rap, and few people will believe you have a buyer when you say you do. Fleshing out the details of the buyer makes it sound more authentic.
5. Property analysis letter
The scenario: Use this template when you want to spark your prospect’s interest in selling his or her home.
I hope you’re enjoying spring break with your children. Just the other day, a house in your area sold for a remarkable price, and the deal was closed so quickly, it told me something: buyers are looking, and looking hard.
I’m an agent with (Company), and I wanted to let you know that if you’re looking to sell, opportunities are waiting to be swept up.
I’ve done some competitive analysis and gathered insights into your current market that might make you sit up and take notice. If you’re interested in learning more, let me know, and I’ll be happy to share that info with you.
Why it works: It’s easier to get someone to opt into a property analysis than it is to opt into selling their home. Baby steps lead to the final goal—a commission—but no need to let your prospects know just yet.
6. Real estate divorce letters
The scenario: Divorces are tricky in a hundred ways, and chances are, a couple that’s looking to split is also looking to sell or refinance. If you know someone who is going through a divorce in your secondary or even tertiary network, reach out to them—while being sensitive to their situation.
Another source is legal firms. Make friends with a legal professional in your social circle and see if they’re open to referring clients to you.
My name is (Name), and I’m a real estate agent with (Company). I heard from (Source) about the divorce, and I’m sorry to hear about the tough time you’re going through. If you’d like some support, I can offer my services.
With children and a shared home, things can get messy and stressful, but the good thing is you have many options. We can weigh them together based on your goals and chalk out a way forward.
I’ve assisted many clients through this tough period, and I know that one needs all the help one can get.
If you want me to walk you through possible next steps, please reach out to me at the contact below.
Wishing you strength and fortitude in this difficult time,
Why it works: Always put the human being first and center their needs. Even if the addressee doesn’t go ahead with you, they’ll put away the letter with a lasting impression that can lead to a relationship.
7. New real estate agent letter
Scenario: If you’re taking over another real estate agent’s role at a company, use this template to pick up their clients and warm up cold leads.
I hope you’re doing well. (Name of ex-agent), who helped you purchase your home in 20__, has moved cities and is no longer with (Company). My name is (Name), and I’m writing to let you know that I’ll be your new representative in this neighborhood.I earned my license in YYYY, and I’ve helped XXX people find the homes of their dreams. I promise to uphold the same great service and relationship you’ve enjoyed with (Name of ex-agent).If you ever wish to chat, please don’t hesitate to reach me at the contact numbers below.Warm regards,(Name)
Why it works: It’s always important to introduce yourself to your predecessor’s clients. Tom Hopkins calls these prospects “orphans,” and this letter slides in some self-promotion under the guise of a catch-up.
8. “Just sold” prospecting letter
Scenario: This type of letter is like fertilizer to your real estate farm. When issued to the neighbors of a recently bought or sold property, it can be incredibly motivating.
A month ago, the Joneses, a family of five, approached (Company) with their 4BHK condo (attached). Mr. Jones had got a promotion and the family had to relocate, fast. You might know them! They live three blocks away from you.
They were willing to sell for $450,000. Not bad, you would say, for (Neighborhood)? Well, two days ago, I watched as a buyer signed for $600,000! This didn’t surprise us at (Company). We’ve been watching your area for as long as we’ve been around—23 years, to be exact, and we know if they weren’t in such a hurry, the condo could have gone for even higher.There’s never been a better time to sell, and if you were thinking about it already, this is a great time. If you’d like to know more about the potential of your home, feel free to reach out, and I’ll be happy to swing by and have a chat.(Name)
Why this works: Details always bring an otherwise abstract idea “just sold” to life, and this template does just that while creating a sense of urgency.
9. For sale by owner letters for real estate agents
Scenario: FSBO homeowners are a tough crowd. Use this template to gently nudge them to hire an agent (i.e., you) instead.
My name is (Name), and I’m an agent with (Company). I’ve been representing owners in this district for a few years now, and I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been looking to sell your home.
When I see an FSBO sign, I can’t help but wonder if the seller had bad luck with an agent before or doesn’t know about the benefits of having a good agent… I know it can take a while to find an agent you gel with, but trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Just last month, I saw a home go for at least 30% less than it was worth—all because the owner insisted on handling the sale himself. This happened not once, but three times in the last year.
30% is a lot—and far higher than the cut I would take as a commission.
It’s a tough market out there, but I’m confident that I can help you exceed your expectations—and with less work for you too. I’ve got years of experience negotiating deals in this area and nothing would make me happier than dropping by and doing a quick property analysis for you.
Should you have a change of heart, reach out at the number below, and we can figure out the road ahead.
Why this works: This template targets the reservations that a homeowner might have, encouraging them to reconsider while refraining from being pushy.
Now that you have a real estate prospecting letter that sells, what next?
Of course, as wonderful as it is, direct mail can’t be your only strategy, though it can often make a fantastic first impression.
No matter what the surveys and statistics say, the best way to communicate with your prospects is the way they want to. Some prefer text messages, others prefer calls. Other homeowners, maybe those who live in a different town, might want to have a video conference call.
It might seem hard to stay on top of all this, but you can’t afford to drop the ball.
Use an integrated communications approach
Did you know that at least $500,000 in annual revenue is wasted every year because of poor communication? Having collaborative communication tools is a simple way to fix that.
Choose something that gives you a variety of communication options. For example, there’s RingCentral, which brings phone calls, video calls, text messages, and more all together into one app:
See how real estate company ERA Grizzard provides virtual tours to its clients and uses RingCentral’s reports to optimize its staffing. Or, get a quick walkthrough of how it works by booking a demo!
The key is to drip-feed your message through repeat interactions via various modes so that your leads will remember you.
After all, “six meetings per year is the means by which you reach your goal of becoming a family’s real estate agent when they need service,” writes Hopkins.
Personalization and follow-ups can be painstaking, but with the right sales apps by your side, it’ll pay for itself—and then some.