7 Steps to Dominating #FSBOs in your Market

by Joe Sesso on July 13, 2015

FSBO’s: Untapped Opportunities Waiting for You!


By Joe Sesso, Real Estate Broker and Homes.com National Speaker


Real estate agents who see a For Sale By Owner listing and get discouraged need to change their tune and instead see an opportunity. A savvy agent sees FSBO listings as their next client.

It’s no secret that the number one reason someone chooses the FSBO route is because they don’t want to pay commission to an agent. However, these sellers rarely understand all the time and effort that goes into selling a home and what a REALTOR® really does behind the scenes. It’s up to you to show them the value you bring and how working with an agent will sell their home for more in the long run.

According to a recent National Association of REALTORS® survey, the reasons sellers choose to go the FSBO route is because they don’t want to pay a commission (49 percent), they planned to sell to a neighbor or friend (26 percent), buyers contacted the seller directly (11 percent), or they already tried to sell with an agent who was unsuccessful (7 percent). It’s rare that the person simply doesn’t want to work with an agent (4 percent). The survey also showed that the makeup of a FSBO seller has a median age of 54, an income of $96,700, and 75 percent are married.

The latest estimates from NAR also show that nearly 90 percent of sellers who try to market a home on their own fail, with most eventually turning to an agent. That means that enterprising agents can beef up their listings with some effort and determination.


First Contact

One of the first things a real estate professional should do is contact the FSBO seller to see if they can have a conversation with them. Explain that the process can be overwhelming and offer a couple of helpful tips. Briefly present your qualifications and explain how you’ve helped others in similar positions get a better price, sell faster and just made the process easier overall, taking the stress away.

Another thing agents should ask the owners is if they will be willing to pay a commission if the agent can bring them a buyer. You would be surprised how many owners will pay a buyer side commission. If they yes, you should ask if you can preview the property to take notes for your potential buyers. It’s also a great way to get a face-to-face meeting with the seller.

The trick is not to come on too strong, and if they still aren’t interested, just thank them for their time and offer some helpful advice that might make their experience smoother. This way, when the time comes for them to make a switch (and in most cases, it will!), they will remember your kindness and check in with you. Don’t be afraid to send an email from time to time checking in so you stay top of mind.

Prove Your Worth

Odds are, you’re not going to convince someone to switch over with one email or a brief conversation, but there are some key points you must get across to a FSBO seller over time to increase your chances.


  1. Talk about how a FSBO seller doesn’t have the marketing reach that a real estate professional can offer. Real estate professionals have the ability to market their listings on real estate websites such as Homes.com, which alone boasts 13 million active homebuyers and sellers who are actively searching for properties—those are people that most FSBO sellers will never reach.
  1. As an experienced real estate professional, you have the ability to put a listing in front of a whole crop of REALTORS® whose job it is to find homes for their clients. Remind them that these channels of exposure, communication skills, and professional virtual tours, photos and listing details can all lead to a faster sale.
  1. Let them know that, thanks to your experience, you’re able to better ascertain a buyer’s ability to afford the property, negotiate in the seller’s best interest and know how to close a deal. You won’t be wasting the seller’s time bringing in buyers who aren’t right for the property. While many sellers think they may be great negotiators, agents negotiate contracts and terms every day. This experience will give the sellers the best chance of getting the highest price and the best terms.
  1. Because you are a full-time agent, you understand how to complete the numerous contracts involved, and can price a home competitively. Tell them how comps work and why you would price their house the way you would.
  1. Another great thing to talk about is objectivity. When a FSBO seller shows their home, they may get upset about someone critiquing features during a showing and a poor attitude can hurt the chance of a sale. As a trained real estate professional, you’re able to view the property objectively since you don’t have the same personal attachment. Taking the emotion out of the transaction is a huge benefit to all parties.
  1. Most important of all, show them statistics that prove REALTORS® get better prices than FSBO sellers and the commission they pay is worth it in the end. Money talks and this will really open their eyes.
  1. You don’t have to tell them all of above items at once. Consistent follow up is key, whether it’s through text, e-mail, social media, snail mail or by phone. Provide statistics that back up your words and offer assistance to the seller if they have questions about disclosure statements, contracts, etc. This concept was made popular by Jay Baer in the best-selling book Youtility. When the seller gets tired of trying to sell their home on their own, who are they most likely to call to list their home? The more contact you can have, the better the opportunity to secure the listing.

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The mindset of a FSBO seller may change once they actually see all the work that goes into selling their property and hear a proposal that proves your value. Because of this, it’s important to show sellers that you’re doing everything possible to sell their home. Homes.com Listing Enhancements gives your listing prominent placement and branding in search results to help you get more buyer leads. In addition to this, Homes.com delivers millions of unique visitors each month that are not looking at other major listing portals.

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