The Secret to Converting FSBOs to Listings

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The secret to converting FSBOs to listingsFor Sale By Owners (FSBOs) are a great goldmine of listing opportunity for agents if the prospecting is done right. In most areas there are enough of them to keep you on the phone for days. The good news is that most real estate agents don’t even bother chasing FSBOs because they get their morale crushed when a FSBO shuts down their listing hopes within 30 seconds of the first phone call. So they spread the news to other agents at the office about how mean FSBOs are and that they are a waste of time to pursue. They could not be more wrong.

Step in their shoes

If you want to successfully convert FSBOs into listings, you have to first understand that the owners oppose realtors and want nothing to do with them. This is largely due to the fact that they feel they can sell their home just as easily as you can, and in the meantime save 6% of their home’s selling price. Unless you show them how valuable you are, they will not list with you.

Lend a helping hand

You have to offer these owners help. Yes, help, free of charge. Don’t freak out just yet, it will pay off in the long run.

FSBOs aren’t afraid to crush you verbally the second you dare ask for their listing. So how do you go about getting the listing? Make them ask you!

It is a well-known fact that most FSBOs do not end up selling their home on their own. After a few weeks of marketing and dealing with tire-kickers, they lose their motivation and give in to listing with a professional real estate agent. This is your golden opportunity. You need to stand out as a professional in their mind when they are ready to list.

How exactly do you achieve that?

I’ll break down the process for you:

Start with an initial phone call to the owner. All you are doing is asking basic questions about the property: how much are they asking, anything wrong with it, how long have they been trying to sell, why they are selling, etc. Most importantly, ask them if they are willing to work with buyer’s agents – meaning, will they pay you 3% if you bring them a buyer. If they say no, hang up the phone and forget about them. However, most of them will say yes. In that case, make an appointment to view the house; tell them that you’d like to see the house in case you get any buyers that are interested in that type of home.

The next step is to show up at the house at the agreed appointment time. Let the owner guide you through the house. Take notes, and ask any questions you have about the property. When you are finished, hand them a business card, thank them for their time, and drive away.

Now that you’ve met face to face and realized that they aren’t as horrible as some agents say, it’s time to build rapport.

Call and check in with them in a few days. Ask them if the house is still available or if they have had any offers yet. Chances are, it will be the same as a few days ago. Ask them if they have a blank sales contract or a property disclosure form. They will probably say no, so tell them that you would like to stop by sometime to drop them off. They will appreciate your efforts, and think that you are a genuinely nice person (which you are).

This is where consistency comes in. Follow the cycle of calling every couple of days, or at least once a week, and stopping by with valuable things to give them. If you get creative there is an abundance of things you can give them that they will find valuable – brochures for their home to give out to buyers, open house sign-in sheets, sample sales contracts, mortgage company contact information for free buyer pre-qualification, lead based paint disclosures, etc.

You can make these calls and visits less frequent if need be. The idea is that you will constantly put yourself in front of them while building a relationship with them even before listing their home. Ask them if they have any concerns or questions. They will start to see you as an outstanding professional and a very knowledgeable, helpful agent who is willing to go the much needed extra mile.

DO NOT, during this whole process, ever ask to list their home. Most FSBOs end up listing with a Realtor within 2-3 month of placing their home on the market themselves. If you are patient and persistent, they will ask you to list their home!

In the rare case that they manage to sell their home themselves, do not get discouraged. Just treat them as any other past customer and follow-up regularly. Before you know it, they will be sending referrals your way when you least expect it. Go ahead and try it – you have nothing to lose, but many listings to gain.

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