BloomfieldHillsRealEstate.com – Giving Real Estate Agents Another Opportunity

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A while back, I wrote a post discussing how I don’t believe many real estate agents really understand domain names. I’ve had very limited success selling domain names to real estate agents, and it’s also been difficult for me to sell ad listings to real estate professionals on my city .com domain names.

I am taking another shot at selling a real estate domain name to an end user buyer. As with all of my domain sales to end user buyers, my sales pitch is quick and to the point.

You’ll notice that I don’t mention a sales price in the email. I like to see how many replies I receive before naming my price. If I receive 10 replies, I believe it means there’s greater demand for this one of a kind domain name, and the price will likely be higher. Similarly, if I only receive one reply, my price will likely be more affordable, knowing that my prospects are more limited.

With domain names I am not developing, my business model right now basically revolves around quick/frequent domain sales. The most important factor for me is the price I paid to acquire the domain name, and I am happy to make a quick but profitable deal, even if it’s not a home run.

Here’s the email I am sending to prospects:

Good afternoon,

I saw that you sell real estate in Bloomfield Hills, and I want to reach out to you about a domain name my company owns:  BloomfieldHillsRealEstate.com.

Since I decided not to develop this domain name, I am now looking to sell it.  Would your company be interested in acquiring the domain name?

Regards,
Elliot

– –
Elliot J. Silver
Top Notch Domains, LLC

****
Please help us raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House:  https://www.rmh-newyork.org/s
** This is a one time email… I found your contact information on Google.

*** Update ***

The domain name was sold to a company in Michigan this morning and is now pending escrow at Escrow.com.

58 COMMENTS

  1. Good luck Elliot. Maybe you would have a better shot putting up a simple wordpress website and SEO optimizing the site. I’m sure an agent would probably seek you out if they see that it is already ranking on first page of google after a while.

  2. @ Samir

    That’s something to consider… only issue is this… My asking price is under $2,000 for the domain name. It’s probably not worth my time and resources to build and SEO a site with the purpose of re-selling this domain name. Competition is very high in this vertical, so it would take considerable effort to get it ranked.

    With RE agents not always getting it, they might still balk at buying the domain name even with good rankings!

  3. Goood luck selling to RE agents 🙂 A geo targeted RE domain name makes sense if exact match domains get any ranking preference as it easy to see RE agencies utilizing Google Adwords, buying color print advertising, etc. The commission on a RE sale is how much? Monthly traffic to my site is only 3k but despite quite a few contacts with local RE agents, I have had no luck selling ad space to them. However, I have had a couple of local agents grab photos off my site without permission and place them on their blogs. Another wanted a link exchange with a mere landing page in another market but when I mentioned advertising on another site in their market, no response. IMO domain names are viewed as $10 commodities by many outside domaining.

  4. Goood luck selling to RE agents 🙂 A geo targeted RE domain name makes sense if exact match domains get any ranking preference as it easy to see RE agencies utilizing Google Adwords, buying color print advertising, etc. The commission on a RE sale is how much? Monthly traffic to my site is only 3k but despite quite a few contacts with local RE agents, I have had no luck selling ad space to them. However, I have had a couple of local agents grab photos off my site without permission and place them on their blogs. Another wanted a link exchange with a mere landing page in another market but when I mentioned advertising on another site in their market, no response. IMO domain names are viewed as $10 commodities by many outside domaining.

  5. Best of luck, I tried emailing about 50+ top agents in the metro detroit area when I was selling michigan houses.com at the recent domainfest auction. Realtors are probably the worst group of end users out of all major service verticals, one challenge u have is they have been taken advantage of for years by companies like housevalues.com, realtor.com, etc promising them “endless leads” and most are more concerned with promoting their joesellsxyxhouses url vs keyword specific, I would agree your best approach is to get it ranked in google/bing and then try again with this carrot, although I had michigan houses google 1st page and still did not get any interest.

    If I would make 1 suggestion it would be to see who owns the other geo real estate sites and try to sell to them in this area, comporable cities might be rochester hills, west bloomfield, farmington hills in Oakland County

  6. I own .org FarmingtonHills and get inquiries on it at least a few times per year. That’s a pretty desirable region.

    As far as realtors, they’re like domainers.
    The very low barriers to enter the profession relative to the sizable, lump sum payoffs draws in in the lazy, get-rich-quickers and intellectual dregs. As such, the median IQ is somewhere around dead average, with the smarter participants enjoying much success since their “industry” competition is basically straight up retarded.

    John Q Realtor isn’t going to be someone you can reliably expect to ‘get it’ on something as nuanced as the difference between a good domain and a crappy one… even in a place like Bloomfield Hills.

    (addendum to the above- I own a few GeoRealEstate.com’s and oddly enough, have had better success re-selling the ones that represented average to below average income areas with larger populations. You were clearly smitten with the sterling income demographics by Bloomfield Hills, but that doesn’t always translate to re-saleability)

  7. Another technique (that is used with actual real estate) is to start with a low price and then have a bidding war develop (meaning an imaginary bidding war ).

    Also you could register bloomfieldhillrealestate.com and some variations (bloomfieldnicehouses.com etc. ) and send out the solicitation saying that they were sold for $x dollars but you still have bloomfieldhillsrealestate.com available.

    You see this frequently in many industries which list things for sale but also things that are already sold giving the “it won’t last” impression and spurring action.

    As far as the “Please help us raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House: https://www.rmh-newyork.org/s
    ** This is a one time email… I found your contact information on Google.”

    The RMH is fine if you are trying to show you are a nice guy or if that is the logic (I’m assuming). The “one time email” I don’t think should be there it makes it look like you are doing something wrong – you’re not if you’re only sending a nominal amount of email.

  8. @ Larry

    The RMH link is part of my standard signature. I wanted to include the full email as I sent it.

    I am letting people know it’s a one time email so they don’t think they’ve been added to any type of subscription / email list.

  9. Elliot, great little post about emailing to end-users. Quick question (and it’s something I’ve pondered a lot for a while) How have you been able to avoid your email address or domain that you’re sending from being blacklisted? Due to the nature of your email, I’m sure a few people will click the “spam” button from time time to time. Sure it’s not the majority since anyone with a brain would hopefully realize that you directly contacted them. However, over time, how does that not affect you? Hell, even opt in newsletters get the occasional spam click. Look forward your reply.

  10. So do you send using your gmail, or from your actual company domain when emailing end users? Could you give an example of the typical “subject” for a solicitation email like this?

  11. IMO, the most important thing going for me was this is a key domain name they would likely want (price not being a factor). For instance BloomfieldHillsMIRealEstate.com or BloomfieldHillsRealEstate.CO would likely not be interesting at all to these people.

  12. When I look for a house initially I look for it on realtors.com or some similar websites. I have never google my city real estate to look for a house. When I want to sell my house I ask my friend or neighbor to refer me to his last listing agent/broker.

    • @ Pool uncle

      According to the GAKT, about 200 people a month search for this exact term. It might not be a big number in the whole scheme of things, but it’s enough for a small investment.

      BTW, one thing I learned in school was that we should consider how we think about things, but we should also consider how others think about things as well, and not just tailor our marketing towards our own personal habits.

  13. Ah ok, thanks. Well the reason I had asked, is because you have a gmail address listed on your top notch corporate site, instead of @topnotchdomains etc. I’ve seen a few other domainers do this, so I’ve always wondered why that would be necessary, particularly when you obviously already have a pretty established and reputable company name within the industry.

  14. “I don’t know if that will work in a competitive industry like RE.”

    Then you really can’t get top dollar for it. But I know it will work. Just need to drop the link on a new forums, tweets, stories and wait.

  15. I’ve had the same experience with realtors. You’d think a City Real Estate.com is the textbook case of a high value domain, it describes a high value product and is searched highly online. It looks good on a business card and is memorable to those in the local real estate market. You’d think a realtor would think it could give them an edge over all the competition. Perhaps younger realtors who are more tech savvy will pick up on this in the future.

  16. “Elliot J. Silver
    Top Notch Domains, LLC”

    Drop this. You bought it to develop but…they HATE the fact that you may make money of them, even if it’s a good deal for them. Remember, they are the master negotiators, no one can fool or outdo them.

    And drop the Ronald McDonalds line. Too obvious as to why you put it there 🙂

    I would mention the Google /Bing trends: you are more likely to rank #1 and get leads from people interested in buying every time someone searches for “Town real estate”. A sale could easily pay for the name and then the rest is gravy, blah blah…

  17. @Priv,

    Drop his company name when emailing? Then ask yourself what is the entire point in even creating a company with a respected history of completed sales then? So yeah, that would be bad move and not recommended. When selling to sales people, don’t lead them on into thinking that you’re not a sales person. They need to know that you’re an expert in your industry. In doing so, you avoid wasting time and more lowball offers. Case in point – when was the last time you heard of a Realtor trying to sell a house without divulging that they are..a Realtor? Doesn’t exactly build up the trust factor.

  18. @ Josh

    Thanks… it’s not a lot of money, but the margin is decent, and if this could be done every day, it would be a nice revenue stream.

    For the time and effort that went into this (from the research to the acquisition to the sale), it’s a pretty decent return.

    Low risk.

    Oh… and it killed to birds with one stone since it was a blog post that generated interest and discussion, too.

  19. Congrats E. Awesome to see this from start to finish (and it a matter of hours at that)

    Once question about the agents you targeted…Did you just email all the Bloomfield Hills RE agents you were able to find, or did you further filter the list to only include those who didn’t already have a geo real-estate related domains?

    The reason I ask, is that I did a mass email once about my RE related sites, and I got a few “well, I already own ‘greathomesinXYZ.com’ why do I need another domain?” type replies

  20. I’ve recently started a deal with a local real estate agent in my area. Instead of him buying the domain, he is more interested in purchasing leads generated from the site. It is a bit more work to set up the site, but once done I can sell leads to him and any other interested realtor. I know your post was about selling your domain, but if a sale isn’t possible, there are other alternatives to making money with it.

    Michael

  21. Elliot, thanks for sharing your RE domain experience. I have a few RE Domains that are just sitting in my account. I should do something with them.

    Michael, what type of programming is involved in developing a RE lead site? And if you don’t mind sharing, what do you charge per lead?

    Cheers, Mars

  22. @MarsDavis

    I’m a programmer by trade, so developing stuff like my lead gen site isn’t a big stretch for me. Basically, all you need is a form to capture the information, and I just forward this on to my realtor friend.

    re: pricing I have a couple of scenarios that I want to explore as the site grows. Charge a monthly fee to receive the leads; fixed price per lead; or a combination of the two. Considering realtor commissions can be quite high, I wouldn’t mind charging xx – xxx per lead. You just need to agree on what constitutes a qualified lead (i.e. does the lead need to sign a contract, or is just forwarding the info enough, etc).

    Currently I am getting paid a percentage of the realtors commission. Though the payouts can be quite good, I’m not exactly crazy about this arrangement as it ties my business to how good the agent is. No sale = no payment for the lead. As I am in the beginning stages of rolling out the site, and the realtor I am working with is a friend, I don’t mind the current arrangement as it stands. If I get more agents wanting to work with the site, then I will probably switch to one of the pricing scenarios above.

    Michael

  23. Excellent topic and related posts on a very interesting niche.

    In order to effectively sell domain names to real estate agents, more success might be achieved by connecting NOT to the typical agent.

    Rather, try targeting either upper management, their IT department, or franchise owners. Remember, many firms are independently owned shops and real estate agents are independent contractors. Therefore, with less to spend than the owner of a branch or regional operation, it’s more difficult to sell to one individual.

    And unless an agent is really convinced that a domain will significantly increase their business, it will be a tough sell. So moving up the food chain could reap better results.

    When dealing with the select handful of agents or owners who ‘get it,’ another tactic that might work is to appeal to their competitive nature of owning more market share. These are salespeople we’re talking about.

    Also, go tangible. After all, that’s what real estate agents sell…a tangible commodity. As a result, a simple graph could work wonders.

  24. @Michael

    Thanks for the insight!

    I am new to monetizing domain names… so be gentle! Can a lead form be generated on a WP site?

    I am just thinking out loud…Maybe a relationship with several big or small brokerages (instead of an individual agent) would be a better strategy. The broker could pass out the leads to the most qualified agents… and you could get paid in advance. Thanks, Mars

  25. @Perchboy

    I think you are right about going to the RE Brokers that are more likely to have access to funds. Cheers, Mars

  26. I have offers on all my GEOrealestates.com domain.

    How I do it..

    easy

    check this out…http://gatewoodrealestate.com/

    I put my own home for sale …just for the fun of it and see the traffic rolls in and this attracts many many real estate agents.
    I do this on all my real estate domains:
    crownhill
    genoacity
    whitecenter (many offers on this)
    tillicum
    smokeypoint

    good luck

  27. I can tell you it takes a long time to make it work.

    The current market is in the tank, but most of the time people look for real estate on line first.

    It really only takes one deal to make the whole thing worth while.

  28. @Dave

    you have a nice clean site.

    I still get postcards from some annoyance real estate agents in the mail informing about the new listings in my neighborhood.

    Think of how much she is losing money ….no branding.

    I just throw it in the dumpster.

  29. @buydomainnames “Currently I am getting paid a percentage of the realtors commission. ” I thought splitting commisions with a realtor was illiegal ?

  30. @t

    If you have a real estate license it is legal. I do not know of any State where it is legal to receive a commission or split with out a license.

    We all speed, but only a few get caught. Just keep watching!

  31. Elliot, so were there any negotiations or did they just ask you how much and agreed to the first figure you stated?

  32. I received many offers to sell my whitecenterrealestate.com but….i turned all down.

    Thinking about it, I might as well get a real estate license!!

  33. In Michigan it takes 40 hours of class time, pass the State test, pay start up board fees, pay regular fees and then keep your license with 6 hours of CE each year.

    Now all you have to do is list a home, find a buyer, market the home, buy insurance and go to the closing.

    The split is 70/30 with a $18K cap at Keller Williams … It is really simple … believe me, it is all work and nothing is simple.

  34. @dave

    Nothing is impossible—it can be done.

    Best of all, my friend is a real estate agent and I will partner with him.

    I have real estate agents inquiring abt my site
    http://gatewoodrealestate.com/

    and as you know they really hate the for sale by owner..cuts their territory.

    Once they realize that I can get more leads even doing less leg work than them, they will realize the power of the domains.

    • UGH… of course there are now complications. Apparently the guy’s boss never approved the deal. Nice….

      Another reason why I like dealing with domain investors. They agree, pay, and the name is transferred – usually the same day.

  35. Congrats on the sale.

    I think realtors are getting a bad rap for not ‘getting it’. I think it’s hard to sell to ANY end user, and that realtors are no different.

    A few examples of real estate related sales from this year, most/all of which were to end users:

    ParkCityRealEstate.com
    TucsonRealEstate.com
    TempeHomes.com
    ChandlerHomes.com
    PoconosRealEstate.com

  36. Maybe the real estate agents are convinced that it will make their business expand, it will be hard to sell though. And I think the broker can put up those qualified real estate agents.

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