NAR_grey_logo-01

The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to FSBOs: 5 Ways to Prospect FSBOs

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

QUICK SKIM

Think that FSBOs dread hearing from you? Think again. Studies show that nine out of 10 FSBOs eventually end up hiring an agent to sell their home. Yet, only 5 percent of real estate practitioners say they work with FSBOs — which means there’s an untapped market for you to grow your business, says author John Maloof in The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to FSBOS (AMACOM, 2008). To help you get started, Maloof gives scripts for justifying your fees, advice on avoiding communication blunders, tips on building rapport, and techniques for showing FSBOs why it’s not in their best interest to fly solo.

Buy the Book

FROM THE BOOK: 5 WAYS TO PROSPECT FSBOS

Selling a home with the help of a real estate practitioner will net home owners 32 percent more at closing than selling on their own, according to a 2006 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® study. Still, some home owners try to go it alone. That’s where you come in. Here are some ideas from Maloof’s book.

1. First, find the FSBOs. To create your FSBO prospecting list, scour newspaper classified ads and public ads posted at grocery stores and convenient stores. Record any drive-by sightings of FSBO yard signs. Also, you might subscribe to a FSBO lead provider service, such as www.fsbohotsheet.com or www.fsboleads.com. These companies compile FSBO listings for you on a weekly or daily basis. Another idea: Attend FSBO open houses and then follow up with a card thanking the sellers for allowing you to view their home. In the card, include a list of homes you recently sold in their neighborhood.

2. Be an information source. Create a FSBO package with helpful marketing information for FSBOs. Include your resume, business card, important forms, and tips on staging and holding open houses. Why offer so much valuable information? The S.O.S. package — which can include a sample offer contract, mortgage approval letter, inspection report, and local HUD disclosures — provides a glimpse into the overwhelming amount of work involved in a transaction. That may get FSBOs to realize they’re in over their heads.

3. Give ‘em a call. But first get a copy of the Federal Trade Commission’s Do Not Call Registry to make sure you can call them. If so, in your first phone call, introduce yourself immediately, ask open-ended questions about the home, and ask for their mailing address to send them information (your FSBO S.O.S. package). Speak clearly, smile — your voice tone will reflect it — listen, and don’t talk too much. While you’re on the phone, have a “power list” of talking points in front of you. The list should be a concise summary of the services that you and your company offer. If you can’t reach a FSBO by phone, make an in-person visit.

4. Persistence pays. Rejection is never fun. But it’s something you must endure in the real estate business. Before you land a FSBO listing, you’ll likely have to make frequent follow up calls and hear “no” a few times. Maloof suggests creating a FSBO journal in an Excel spreadsheet to jot down specific details about your contacts with a FSBO — conversation topics, home features, and when you intend to call them back. The spreadsheet will guide your follow up calls. “You must keep calling everyone until they list, sell, or die … no exceptions to the rule!” Maloof writes. “You may have to keep calling some FSBOs for over a year before they list, but on the other hand there will be some sellers who list on the first call.”

5. Ask for an appointment. Once you’ve explained how you can help and provided the FSBO with information, it’s time to get the listing. A seller isn’t going to ask for an appointment — you have to! Don’t be shy or that FSBO may end up calling someone else for help.

SNEAK PEEK

“Seeing a For-Sale-By-Owner yard sign should evoke the same feelings you would get from seeing a blank check with your name on it. The potential with FSBOs is endless. And the good part is that FSBOs will always be there for you. In good times or bad times, guess what …. There will be FSBOs.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Maloof is a Chicago-based real estate practitioner who specializes in working with FSBOs for Century 21, Grande Realty. Maloof says his work in the FSBO market is what helped him earn a six-figure income — which he did without any previous sales or referrals — in his first year as a real estate agent.

Check back on Monday, Dec. 3, to read the author’s responses to your previously submitted FSBO questions.

Comments
  1. I think you will get many more comments like this, but I had to remind the author that it is illegal to “call a FSBO” unless you have a Buyer who wants to view the property. Otherwise, you may get a hefty fine!!

  2. Eva Chan

    I am still reading this book, but full of information how to target FSBO, good stuff!

  3. I think these “old school” methods are not going to work for most Realtors. FSBO’s are much more savvy today and know you can list on the MLS for a flat fee, which is why I offer those services.

  4. GWEN COTHRAN

    THANKS FOR SENDING INFORMATION.

  5. I think FSBO are coming back big time.

    Great information.

    Thank you

  6. Thanks for confirming the things I’ve been doing right and giving me more ideas for the future.

  7. Great list! Some very compelling reasons and tips for working with FSBO’s. Not sure why Cecil thinks you can not call a FSBO. You can not call ONLY if they are on the do not call list.

  8. John Doe

    The Do Not Call List is a joke – if someone has a sign in the yard with their phone number on it or and ad online or in the paper they have no expectation of privacy. Besides, you (the Realtor) are always a prospective buyer – I would buy a 200k house for 100k, so I have every right to call!

  9. John Doe

    The Do Not Call List is a joke – if someone has a sign in the yard with their phone number on it or and ad online or in the paper they have no expectation of privacy. Besides, you (the realtor) are always a prospective buyer – I would buy a 200k house for 100k, so I have every right to call!

  10. If you receive a phone call from a FSBO, that’s a cry for help. Stay with them until they list with you. Most FSBOs will eventually convert.

  11. Ang

    FSBO’s are all I do…that’s it. I do exceptionally well because other people don’t think it works. And because there are sceptics, I have no competition.

  12. In response to Eva … I happen to think the services I provide are far more valuable than a simple MLS posting.

  13. Where did the first commenter get the idea that it’s illegal to call FSBOs unless we have a viewing? That’s absolutely not so in the states I’m licensed in.

    FSBOs have not been provided legal rights denied all other citizens. They have the exactly the same legal rights as everyone else. No more and no less. So if they are not on the DNC list and have not specifically stated in info you saw that they do not wish to be called, you can call them, just as you can call anyone else who is not on the FSBO list.

    Barbara Taylor
    Licensed since 1974
    Broker-in-Charge, Carolina Classic Properties

  14. John Maloof

    Thank you for your comments on my book.

    Cecil- I just want to make sure that others are aware that it is no illegal to contact all FSBOs. The only FSBOs that you should be concerned about are those found on the Do Not Call List. If you subscribe to a FSBO lead provider service, many recommended in my book, they’ll check every number they provide for you against the Do Not Call Registry.

    Best of Luck!

  15. ron BLACIC

    Selling a home with the help of a real estate practitioner will net home owners 32 percent more at closing than selling on their own, according to a 2006 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® study. Still, some home owners try to go it alone.THIS STUDY IS FALSE AND I DON NOT RECOMEND ANYONE USING IT.

  16. bill roach

    i think in this day and age and trying to handle a real estate transaction with statistaclly the biggest investment in most people’s lives, you’d be nuts not to seek the expertise. knowing how to do it is so much different than “being around it”, sound familiar? by the way, old school guys wrote the book.you just adapt to new trends.

  17. John – Great book and information! Fsbo’s are back and easier to list than ever before! Get out there and list them!

    Dean

  18. Martha Craddock

    Working a FISBO, is way easier than hanging around on a weekend in the heat of the summer or the freezing cold of winter doing an open house talking to yourself. At least It’s a real person responding back to you, even if it is NO! No problem, call the next person on your list while your poolside at home or warm by the fireplace, until you hear YES, when can you list my home?

  19. Bernie C.

    I enjoyed the book greatly and I think it is probably the best book on the subject.

  20. Nice site!

  21. With the way Real Estate has been over the last five years it is almost impossible for someone to sell their home as a FSBO.

  22. This is still relevant content, a few years down the road. It is extremely tough to sell a FSBO…just too many variables a homeowner doesn’t understand or take into account. When in doubt, list with a competent Realtor!

ADD YOUR COMMENT