FSBO [abbr.] – Property that is ‘For Sale By Owner,’ denoting a lack of an agent or broker representative
Ah, FSBOs. Those properties owners insist on selling without the guidance of a professional, often in an attempt to avoid paying a hefty commission. A precarious move, considering the unpredictability of the housing market.
Risks aside, FSBOs present a golden opportunity for agents. Why? There’s a whopping 90 percent chance that FSBOs will end up listing with an agent anyway. That means 9 times out of 10, frustrated owners will reach out to agents in a last ditch effort to get their homes sold. In today’s market, FSBOs might as well be touched by Midas himself. The problem is, most agents have no idea when opportunity may knock. That much uncertainty, coupled with the fact that sellers typically inflate the cost of their homes, can make tapping into FSBOs exceptionally challenging.
But all is not lost. Agents who've successfully converted FSBOs know there’s a method to the madness, and with a winning strategy, any agent can position themselves as the go-to person for discouraged homeowners. So what’s the game plan? Agents can unlock the potential of FSBOs by focusing on what I like to call the “FSBO Sandwich.”
Stay with me, readers. There are several components to your everyday sandwich, but for the purposes of simplifying FSBO tactics, we’ll stick to four: the bread, the meat, the lettuce, and the cheese.
Bread literally sandwiches a sandwich, and that’s what agents must do in the FSBO scenario – sandwich priorities. The bread of your strategy will always be consistency (sorry, rye or whole wheat lovers!). Set aside time every morning dedicated to converting FSBOs, and push yourself to regularly follow up each week. Sandwiching your main efforts between those two tasks (the “bread”) is a surefire way to secure those listings.
Concentrate the rest of your FSBO approach on the remaining ingredients in your sandwich – the meat, the lettuce, and the cheese. The next step involves the latter, which is crucial to making the most cheddar: being the first to reach out. Once you’ve allotted time in your schedule, use it to browse Craigslist, Oodle or eBay Classifieds for FSBOs in your area. Select at least five listings posted in the last 24 hours to zero in on.
Just as lettuce holds nutrients, the next step involves cultivation. Encourage homeowners to work with you by offering your services via email or phone (only after you've checked the DNC list, of course). Don’t squander the opportunity by selling yourself with too much promotional jargon. You’ll be much more likely to start a conversation by making a genuine attempt to help.
At the heart of every sandwich (and this strategy) is the meat. In this case, the meat is the preview. Once you've gained the client’s trust, set up a time to meet with the sole purpose of establishing a relationship –not listing. Come prepped with market updates and whatever else might sell your expertise.
Top it off with that last slice of bread (following up) and your FSBO sandwich is complete. With these steps, hungry sellers will pull up a chair at your table in no time.
Suzanne De Vita, RISMedia's blog, Housecall.