An alternative FSBO script: 'Where are you moving?'

  • Homeowners behind FSBOs get bombarded by agents. Try taking a fresh approach.

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As a kid from the ’70s, I always remember hard-fought games of “Simon Says” during rainy recess days at Dorothy Moody Elementary School.

By following Simon, you stayed in the game. If Simon didn’t say to do it, and you did it anyway, you were out — and your chances of winning a piece of candy dashed for good!

Fast forward to today’s real estate marketplace, and for sale by owners (FSBOs) are hot commodities to add to your pipeline. As agents, we would do just about anything to get these listings.

Who wouldn’t want the chance to have a sign in the yard, help a client move by marketing their house, show your talents to the neighborhood, and, of course, collect a commission?

Simon would tell you to give these folks a call and convince them you are the agent to list with. Simon would say to use multiple scripts, drop off pre-listing packets and follow up daily to prove your value and gain the listing. Just like in grade school indoor recess, you play against other real estate agents who are highly motivated to win.

But what if you actually won by standing out?

One of the challenges of an FSBO is that the person behind it is waiting for the onslaught of Realtors.

These sellers have their objections ready, and they have just spent time and energy getting their house in what they believe is optimum marketing position. What if you called the FSBO owners and said:

“Hi, this is John Smith with XYZ Realty and I noticed your house is for sale. Is that correct? Oh, it is! Great! Where are you all moving?”

Obviously, if a house is for sale, the owners are probably moving somewhere. Why not ask to be their designated buyer’s agent?

You could set up a professional buyer’s consultation and start helping them look for a home. Remember, they do not owe you a commission on the buy side, which is usually what they are trying to avoid on the list side.

In the meantime, you build a relationship with the seller by showing how hard you are working to find them a house. You also supply them with information to better market their house, including but not limited to:

  • Offer tips on how to stage their home to maximize its value in today’s market
  • Host an open house for them to show them how you work
  • Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) versus other properties that sold or are on the market
  • Show them another marketing piece that you offer as an agent to your clients

National Association of Realtors statistics state that 89 percent of sellers use a real estate agent to sell their home. Chances are good that if you show them your value, you will likely gain get their listing when they grow tired of trying to sell it themselves or find their dream home.

So sometimes it pays (literally) to chart your own course of action to win over tough FSBO clients. With a set system and a determined work ethic, this plan is a winner!

Can’t wait to hear how it goes for you out there. Until then, Simon says, “Go list more FSBOs!”

Don Burns is vice president and managing broker of ReeceNichols Real Estate. Connect with him on LinkedIn