Would you like to turn FSBO’s into listings – your listings?
If you want to turn FSBO’s into listings, you must first understand why they’ve chosen to offer their homes as FSBO’s. The obvious reason is that they want to save the commission. They have no idea that selling without an agent will likely net them less when all is said and done.
Another reason is that they probably have no idea what it takes to successfully market and sell a home. Even if agents tell their clients about the work that goes on behind the scenes, this is work they don’t see being done, so perhaps it doesn’t sink in.
FSBO sellers don’t know what they don’t know…
The result – they think it will be easy. This is especially true if you’re in a hot market. Some will think all they need to do is pick a price, put up a sign, and the house will be sold next week.
You are well aware of what they don’t know, but if you want to turn FSBO’s into listings, you can’t be blunt about letting them know. If you come right out and tell them they don’t know their heads from a hole in the ground, they won’t like you and certainly won’t list with you.
You’ll need a more subtle approach.
To begin this effort, you have two options: You can knock on the door or you can begin sending letters.
If you choose to knock on the door first…
This should be a polite inquiry about whether they’re willing to work with / pay buyer agents. If the answer is yes, it’s a good time to ask for a tour of the house and a copy of any flyers they’ve written. Although just looking will give you a good idea, once back at your computer you can do the comps and see if those sellers are being at all realistic in what they’re asking for their house. If it’s too far off, you might not want to pursue it.
Meanwhile, if you want to turn FSBO’s into listings, go slowly. Don’t push on your first visit or you’re apt to get booted out the door. Instead, tell them you have some helpful information and you’ll be glad to send it to them. If possible, get an email address, but if not, use postal mail.
If you have one, you can also offer to send your market report.
If you choose to prospect by mail…
Begin with an introductory letter offering advice. My For Sale by Owner Prospecting letter set includes an introductory letter that states:
“On a recent visit to your neighborhood, I noticed that you are offering your home For Sale by Owner. Selling your home on your own is a huge undertaking, so I decided to send you some information that will help you achieve success.”
Then it goes on to list eleven tasks that a homeowner must perform. The first one is to get the house ready, and the letter offers to send them a seller checklist to be sure they don’t miss anything. It also invites the homeowner to call with questions, and it promises to send more detailed information on each of those eleven tasks over the next few weeks.
Other introductory letters in the package are for addressing people you’ve spoken with or homeowners who have requested information on selling FSBO from your website.
WHY would you offer advice to FSBO’s on your website, when your goal is to turn FSBO’s into listings?
Because by the time you’ve finished outlining all the tasks they need to perform, or by the time they try to accomplish those tasks, they’re going to want you take over the job.
When you knock on the door or are invited to tour the home, be alert to conflict between the spouses/partners. As our Active Rain friend Scott Godzyk often mentions, it’s common for one spouse to insist on going FSBO while the other sees the value in listing.
Your gentle reminders about all the work the sellers must do can be a reinforcement for the spouse who wants to list and let you take the work off their hands.
Don’t be afraid of giving away information.
Some agents think they’ll never turn FSBO’s into listings if they tell people what they need to do. But the opposite is true.
By the time you’ve outlined tasks such as:
- Doing the research necessary to set the right price. (Don’t offer to do a market analysis until they indicate a willingness to list with you.)
- Getting excellent photos. (You could recommend the professional photographer you use.)
- Writing captivating narratives about the house. (You could recommend a writer.)
- Gathering the necessary forms. (Don’t offer to provide them!)
- Learning the discrimination laws. (Perhaps you can refer them to a website.)
- Finding places/ways to market the house. (My letters suggest looking for sites that allow FSBO postings.)
…they’ll be starting to think about needing help. After you add cautions about letting unaccompanied strangers into their home and being careful not to give away their negotiating position when talking with potential buyers, they’ll see the value in having an agent (YOU) as a buffer between them and the public.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“I am basically a full-time psychologist who shows houses every now and then.”
“Not following up with your prospects is the same as filling up your bathtub
without first putting the stopper in the drain.”
“Why, yes … that’d be fantastic if your parents, grandmother, and second cousin
came along while I showed you houses today.”
If you want to turn FSBO’s into listings, you will need to be persistent.
Sending just one letter or knocking on the door just one time is likely to be a waste of time and money. You’re not apt to turn FSBO’s into listings with that plan. However, If the sellers you’ve targeted are already wondering if FSBO is the right choice, a couple of touches just might do the trick.
Use my For Sale by Owner letters or write your own.
If you enjoy writing and have the time, you probably should write your own. Just remember to tread softly. You’re dealing with homeowners who have already made a decision, so give them information without ever hinting that their decision was “wrong.” No one likes to be shown that they’re wrong.
Some of your web visitors may not yet have made the decision.
In that case, why not give them a little nudge? Offer my “Why home sellers need an agent” letters via an autoresponder with an invitation that reads something like “Can’t decide whether to hire an agent or go FSBO? Here are some thoughts to ponder.”
That set of Why Home Sellers Need an Agent letters includes:
- For the higher net in your pocket
- For the convenience
- For the agent’s persistence
- For the direct access to buyers’ agents
- For the help in negotiations
- For the legal protections
- For the marketing
- For the physical protection
- For the professional photography
If you love to write, please do feel free to use that list as the basis for your own letters.
Remember – with a few exceptions – FSBO sellers really do want to sell.
Approaching them is not the same as sending prospecting letters to a neighborhood or a group of people in a niche you’ve chosen. Most of them need you and will welcome you, as long as you remain persistent without pushiness.
fsbo and choices Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mailbox Image courtesy of Felixco, Inc. @freedigitalphotos.net