There’s a fast-growing trend in the real estate market that makes agents a bit nervous: For Sale By Owner. Online platforms that promise to guide the owner through each step of the sale process have helped an increasing number of owners feel confident that they can navigate the complexities of the market on their own.
However, as research has repeatedly shown, selling a home independently isn’t likely to maximize an owner’s profit. They might save a small amount in realtor fees, but they’ll be missing out on the advantages a realtor brings, which are vital to making a timely (and therefore profitable) sale.
The longer a property sits, the less money it makes in a sale. Typically, the owner has only decided to list their home independently because they expect it to sell rapidly. They think that they are going to make a quick sale and save time, energy, and money by sidestepping a real estate professional, but it’s more likely that their home will languish because it isn’t being professionally marketed.
As a professional real estate agent, use the following tips to help homeowners understand what you can bring to the situation, making it a win-win for both of you.
REACH OUT TO THE OWNER ASAP
When you discover a FSBO scenario, make contact with the owner post haste. Owners report being contacted by real estate professionals immediately after listing their homes, or relisting them, so it’s crucial that your phone call is among the first.
Have your facts on paper when you first make contact so that you can demonstrate that not only will hiring a realtor likely increase the potential for a successful, rapid sale, but also that hiring YOU is the right move. If you’ve successfully taken over FSBO situations in the past, have those numbers on-hand to share.
Point out the various areas in which you have valuable insight, like the timing of the listing, which is a lot more important than most homeowners realize. You'll also help them in assessing an appropriate asking price. Explain how you will get great exposure for their listing that will make a successful sale more likely. Be ready to back up all of your claims with data.
DISCOVER THEIR STORY AND MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
Begin not with your name or the company you represent, but with questions: “The reason I’m calling is that my records indicate that your house is for sale by owner. Is that true?” Once they’ve answered in the affirmative, find out their "why." Are they simply trying to avoid the realtor/broker fee, or do they mistrust realtors? Is there a time limit on the sale? Conversely, if their home has been listed for an extended period of time, ask them why they think it hasn't sold yet.
Be prepared with responses to the most likely FSBO questions and scenarios that will demonstrate precisely how you would help them meet their goals. Their reasons for avoiding a real estate professional could become the very reason they choose YOU.
KEEP IT PROFESSIONAL, BUT BE PERSISTENT
It’s unlikely that a cold call to a homeowner in a FSBO situation will yield instant results, but you'll have shown initiative and interest by reaching out and being professional and friendly throughout the interaction. Be sure to let the owner know that you are available to help if they decide they'd like assistance with their sale and leave your rapid-contact information with them.
Follow-up is key! Make a note to check back on their property every few weeks. If you see that their home has remained on the market, call back, being sure to stay as warm and professional as ever. Ask if they’ve run into any snags or if they’re having trouble finding potential buyers.
If they indicate that they’re less than thrilled with having taken on the part-time job of selling a home, you’ll want to follow up with a well-phrased question along these lines: “Have you reconsidered officially putting your home on the market with a real estate professional?”
Even if they don’t decide to accept your help selling their current home, keep working on establishing a good rapport. If they're staying local, you can offer to represent them in their upcoming home purchase. Additionally, they may also pass your name on to family or friends in the future, and word of mouth is the best kind of advertising!
BACK UP YOUR PROMISES WITH RAPID RESULTS
If you are successful in communicating the value of your experience and insight and you are able to gain the homeowner as a client, you must back up your promises with rapid results. This doesn’t mean that you should rush into a less-than-ideal sale just to get the house off the market as quickly as possible, but it is crucial that you put in the effort required to find the right buyer for your client. A great outcome is a success story that you will be able to use as leverage in your future FSBO outreach.