5 Inroads to FSBOs

March 1, 2007

Home owners who use a real estate professional tend to sell their homes for about 16 percent more than those who don’t use one, according to 2005 statistics from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. And that’s a great way to show your value once you find FSBOs.

1. Use a team approach. Form a FSBO referral network, composed of a lender, a home inspector, an attorney, handymen, and any other professionals you believe appropriate. The team can refer unrepresented sellers to other members of the group and help identify FSBOs you might not have otherwise come across. Also, to find FSBOs, check out FSBO Web sites, particularly those that offer free listings, and PennySaver style magazines.

2. Become a valuable resource. Offer FSBOs advice on the home selling process and become an asset and resource to them so that they’ll turn to you whenever they need help. REALTOR® Magazine Online offers printable Handouts for Consumers, with tips ranging from marketing a home to generating buyers. In reaching out to FSBOs, be careful of running afoul of phone antisolicitation laws and the CAN-SPAM Act. You can contact FSBOs by phone only if you have a buyer who’s interested in their property or they aren’t on the national do-not-call list. And you can e-mail them as long as you adhere to the rules for commercial e-mail. Check with your state for specific guidelines.

3. Earn a commission in other ways. The more services you provide, the more business you earn regardless of whether you get the listing. If FSBOs are relocating, offer to refer them to a salesperson in their new town and collect a referral fee from that salesperson. FSBOs may also want your representation when they buy a new home, or they may be willing to pay you as a consultant for certain phases in the selling process. In addition, FSBOs’ acquaintances or family, or even their buyer who needs to sell first, can be a source of leads.

4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t try to get the listing with bold promises that you can sell their property quickly or that you have a buyer lined up when you don’t. Build their trust and show them you’re different from practitioners who go for the hard sell.

5. Be persistent. Continue to make contact with FSBOs even when you don’t generate response from them at the beginning. Keep a database of FSBOs you contact; that way, you can easily monitor their properties’ status and tailor your message to how long those properties have been on the market. For example, if a property has been on the market for four weeks, you might send a letter saying, “Some of the properties that were exclusively listed by me at about the same time you offered your property for sale are now sold and in escrow.” Then offer them contact information on some of the professionals in your network who can assist them as they sell their home. That shows them you will continue to be a resource and are available if or when they need help. Soon they might be the ones contacting you.

Source: Walter S. Sanford, Sanford Systems and Strategies (www.waltersanford.com), Kankakee, Ill., author of Expert Lead Generation Tool Kit (Sanford Systems, 2005)