Turning a FSBO Into Your New Listing

As inventory remains low and homes sell for more money in a shorter amount of time, many would-be sellers think the fast-paced market should make it easy to sell their home without the help of a real estate professional.

But often, owners who choose to sell on their own end up needing assistance. Marketing yourself to these sellers is not for the faint of heart, but it can be extremely rewarding when a seller, who at the outset didn’t want to use an agent, finds that they could not have done it without one. Here are Breakthrough Broker’s top three tips for when communicating with For Sale By Owners.

Be transparent.

You can be assured the FSBO you are calling or door knocking has been contacted by other Realtors. There are hundreds of scripts, tactics, and angles real estate professionals use to connect with FSBO’s and many of them are just that, scripted. Be yourself and tell the home seller the truth behind your call and why you are connecting.

“Hello Mr. or Mrs. ___. I am a local Realtor and I absolutely love selling homes. I am calling to introduce myself and, in full transparency, I want to sell your home. Obviously, if you can sell it yourself it would be great, you would save money on commissions and possibly bring home more of your equity. But if you run into any obstacles, questions, or problems dealing with a buyer who may have a lot of experience in real estate, you may want the expert advice of a Realtor and I would love to be that person. Here is my information.”

Focus on the seller.

It’s about them, not you. Too many real estate professionals lead into the conversation with an FSBO talking about themselves. “I am the #1 listing agent in _, I have sold more homes in this neighborhood than any other Realtor in town.” I, I, I, is all the FSBO hears and they are most likely not impressed by the big boasts. As a matter of fact, it is probably one of the reasons they are not using a real estate professional in the first place. After you lead with full transparency, ask them questions about them, their family, their home, etc.

“Is now a bad time to ask you a few questions about your home?” “Have you made any awesome upgrades throughout the years?” “What do you love most about living in the home?” “What is the best thing you can say about the neighborhood?” By asking open-ended questions, you will enable the seller to open up about the home they are selling. You will learn valuable information for future conversations and you will stand out among the possible dozens of other Realtors who are trying to snag the listing.

Add value.

After an initial conversation incorporating the first two tips, ask if you can keep in touch. “I have learned many lessons over the years in selling homes. If you want, I can send you emails over the next few weeks to share some of them. I think some could help you. No catch, just some good strategies.” First, send them a hand-written thank you card with your business card and a list of contractors that could help them with the process of selling their home, such as trusted inspectors, roofing and plumbing businesses, etc.

Next, send an email with the name and phone number of your favorite title partner. Tell them you’ve contacted your title partner about their home and let them know they shouldn’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Don’t forget to share a few brief tips regarding escrow and the closing process.

If you’re in need of a few more email ideas, consider reaching out to them with information about a recent sale in the neighborhood and include a summary of why it sold at that price. Or offer them one negotiation tip for dealing with the buyer’s agent. “Pro tip for when you have a buyer working with an agent: never tell them why you are moving.”

Marketing yourself and your services to For Sale By Owners is a great strategy to build your business but it must be carefully planned and you have to have thick skin. The conversion rate may not be high, but when you do succeed, it will be worth your time to gain a new client for life.

Eric Sachs, President and co-founder of Breakthroughbroker.com

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