Would a pre-listing inspection help move a FSBO home?

Home Inspector with Redi-Pro

We have been running through several ideas and wanted to do a little research on the FSBO market. Would a pre-listing residential inspection add enough marketing value to justify what is really a minor expense? Any opinions on the best way to market this service to the FSBO market?

Comments (3)

Beaverton, ON

Hi Susan & Craig

I am an ex-realtor and now the operator of a FSBO company. A pre-listing inspection can benefit a seller whether they are selling privately or listed with an agent. An inspection prior to a buyer submitting an offer can detect deficiencies that the seller can correct so that they don't become an issue during negotiations. During my career as an agent I saw many cases where a buyer would want an adjustment of say $1,000 when the cost to repair the problem would only run $100. A lot of buyers take advantage of this opportunity to re-negotiate the offer. By bringing this scenario to the FSBO sellers attention, it might bring you some business.

As for marketing your service to the FSBO market, you might check out the For Sale By Owner companies in your area. On some private sale websites as well as mine, you can subscribe as a buyer and receive all new listings by email on a daily basis. Watching classified websites like Craigslist and newspaper ads will bring you leads. Although driving can be more costly than phoning or mailing a letter, direct contact works best.

Most FSBO's are going to purchase another home. You might offer a discount on an inspection for their new home, assuming they complete a pre-listing inspection.

In my area when listing with a real estate broker, you are not required to complete a pre-listing inspection. It is an option for the buyer and most will have one completed.

Here is an idea I gave a friend of mine that is an inspector. It has been working well for him. Everyday you drive by potential customers. They have a brokers for sale sign on their lawn. You can stop, introduce yourself and leave them one of your brochures. If they have not had a pre-listing inspection done, you can offer one. Again, no doubt this seller will be purchasing another home. Thinking back to when I was an agent, discussion with a buyer about a home inspection generally did not take place until it was time to submit an offer. The buyer would then use an inspector that I recommended. By contactly sellers earlier in the game, you have the opportunity to scoop some of the business.

One more idea. If you use the idea of stopping and talking to sellers, try this. This time of year people are outside working on their lawn and garden. Have a cooler in the car with a couple of bottles of water. Offer one to the home owner when you start talking to them. They may not remember you by your card or brochure, but this jesture will make you unforgetable.  

Best of luck with your business.

Aug 19, 2008 03:23 AM
Beaverton, ON

Another idea you could use.

Supply FSBO's with feature sheets or photo flyers. They can hand them out at open houses and showings. You can create a professional style on your computer. Take some photos of the home to add. Do not use the basic 20 lb. paper. Instead use 28 lb. or better. You could also partner with a home stager or mortgage broker or both and split the cost with them. On the back include advertising for the companies. Better having 2 or 3 people looking for FSBOs than just yourself. 

You can go to Home Depot and buy a wooden stake for $.89. Attach a brochure box which you can buy for about $10. Keep it full of feature sheets.

You might get a pre-sale inspection out of the deal. If the seller is buying again, they might use you. You have a good chance as you helped them sell privately.

Aug 21, 2008 02:35 AM
Richard Baggett
AFI Mortgage - Lake Charles, LA

Yes it would.  Some Realtors tell folks to be leary of FSBO'S.  By having an inspection ready you will give your buyer a certain comfort level and help Realtors help you

Aug 21, 2008 06:42 AM