Do you bother with trying to list FSBO’s?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Many agents don’t bother with trying to list FSBO’s.

for sale by owner signThey’re convinced that it’s a waste of time because those people have already decided they can sell without an agent. In addition, “they probably want too much for the house.”

I’ll agree that there are some FSBO’s you won’t budge, and some who would be a waste of time. It would be silly to bother with trying to list FSBO’s whose owners simply hate real estate agents. It would also be silly to bother with them if the house is a filthy wreck and they want a price that’s far beyond market value for one in pristine condition.

You also shouldn’t bother with FSBO’s who are taking that path because they want to discriminate against buyers for any reason.

Otherwise, it could be that they are simply misguided.

Those homeowners may need nothing more than some gentle nudging to show them that they have taken on a monster of a job – for which they will be paid with a negative. (Meaning, of course, that they’re likely to net less at closing than they would if they handed the job to you.)

It could also be a case of one spouse being determined to go FSBO while the other eager to list. If you start prospecting to that couple you’ll have one of them firmly on your side, encouraging the other to hand over the job.One spouse says yes, list that house

You could be facing homeowners who have had bad experiences with real estate agents in the past. Some time ago I wrote about how my son listed his rental property with three different agents who ignored both the listing and him once they had his signature on the line.

It wasn’t until he got past those first three incompetent agents that he found #4 – who DID work the listing and did stay in touch. And – did get that property sold.

How can you overcome these obstacles when you’re trying to list FSBO’s?

By your attitude.

Instead of approaching them with an atitude of wanting to list their homes, approach with an attitude of helpfulness.  Give them helpful advice about the tasks ahead of them, then be consistent in reaching out to them.

Start by stressing the importance of getting the price right – and suggesting ways by which they can determine that correct price. (Never offer to do a market analysis unless they’ve indicated a desire to list with you.)

After that, your letters can outline the tasks ahead: hiring a photographer, writing compelling descriptions, finding places to expose the house to the market, showing the house, gathering the necessary forms and documents, negotiating without giving away their reasons for selling, and on and on.

My FSBO prospecting letter set includes those topics, along with a letter warning sellers about setting appointments, screening buyers, and cautioning their children not to open the door when they’re home alone.

Never be afraid to give good advice.

Some agents who are trying to list FSBO’s are afraid that giving good advice will show the sellers that they can do it on their own. The opposite is true. By the time you outline all the tasks that must be performed, they’ll need you more than ever.

Remember – you aren’t going to offer to do any of it for them, and you aren’t going to tell them exactly HOW to do what they must do – only that it must be done.

Some of your web visitors may be homeowners who are trying to decide whether to hire an agent or try to sell without one.

Since you’re trying to list FSBO’s, why not give them a little nudge in the right direction? Use my “Why home sellers need an agent” letters to show them a variety of reasons why listing is in their best interests. Set up an autoresponder capture box with an invitation that reads something like “Can’t decide whether to hire an agent or go FSBO? Here are some thoughts to ponder.”choices

That letter set includes 9 letters, each with another reason why home sellers do need an agent.

Include a request for a phone number in your capture box, and after the homeowners have received a couple of letters, call to ask if they have questions. If you handle that conversation well, you just might get an invitation to view the house.

You’ll likely get a few homeowners who are out of your territory, but that’s OK. If you’ve impressed them, they just might forward your letters and your name to a friend or two who IS in your territory.

When you’re trying to list FSBO’s, there’s nothing wrong with catching them before they actually put that sign in their yard.

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles @


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Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Great advice, Marte. But it won't convince me to spend time chasing after FSBO's... I believe they eat their young!  Seriously, we don't have enough of those to make the time chasing them worthwhile versus spending that time in other income generating activities.

Mar 29, 2019 11:47 AM #1
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Good afternoon 

Thank you for sharing your information with us.  FSBO's are not part of my strategy of gaining listings. 

Have a great day.

Friday March 29, 2019. 

Mar 29, 2019 11:55 AM #2
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Another great teaching blog Marte that we can learn from you.  We know they want to sell so we should go after them.


Mar 29, 2019 12:37 PM #3
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

It IS abut the attitude ! Not a market we approach right now...certainly some good tips for those who do !

Mar 30, 2019 03:37 AM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Marte. I always went after FSBO's and was pretty successful at it. This is specific and well thought out. Nice job.

Mar 30, 2019 05:48 AM #5
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Nina Hollander Every community is different - and every agent has his or her own preferences, too!

Anthony Acosta - ALLATLANTACONDOS.COM They're just one choice out of many. If they're not for you - they're not.


Mar 30, 2019 12:47 PM #6
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Will Hamm That's the big advantage - you already know they want to sell.

Sally K. & David L. Hanson The same is true for everything isn't it? It's all about your attitude.


Mar 30, 2019 12:48 PM #7
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Thank you Sheila Anderson - I appreciate your comment.

Mar 30, 2019 12:48 PM #8
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