Trying to list FSBO’s? Here’s what your marketing needs to stress.
You know why home sellers are trying to sell without your help. They think they’re going to save a lot of money. And to be absolutely honest, those who know what they’re doing, have nerves of steel, and who don’t need to go to a job every day can come close to doing what you can do.
As for the rest of them… your marketing needs to gently point out that they simply don’t know what they’re getting into!
No, you can’t say that. Making a would-be client look or feel foolish is definitely not the way to earn their business. So you need to be gentle in your presentation.
You need to offer some help in the form of tips, or perhaps clue them in about the various disclosure forms they’ll need. You might offer some advice about how to steel themselves against the insults they’ll hear as buyers try to push the price downward. (I used to laugh to myself about the comments buyers made to me. Sometimes I wanted to ask why they wanted to buy the house since they hated it so much.)
And of course, you need to remind them that buyers will try to point out that they’re not paying a Realtor so naturally they can sell the house for less.
Before embarking on do-it-yourself home selling, homeowners should ask themselves:
• Do I know how to determine their home’s value in today’s market?
• Am willing to work with and pay a buyer’s agent?
• Do I know how to market my home and get it in front of enough buyers?
• Can I deal in a civil manner with people who severely criticize my home?
• Am I willing to demand that buyers reveal their financial situation before I take my home off the market to negotiate with them?
You should touch on all these points when you’re talking with FSBO sellers, and you can incorporate them into a special report or a series of real estate letters to mail to them. If you enjoy writing and have a few extra hours you can create letters that are uniquely yours.
If you don’t enjoy writing or don’t have extra hours, you can buy pre-written real estate letters and just get busy sending them.
Either way, real estate letters written in this manner are a soft-sell technique that will position you as a non-pushy, non-threatening agent who knows how to sell homes. With each letter you’ll become more of a trusted adviser, so that when they do decide they need help they’ll naturally turn to you.
But how do you first contact these people?
One way is to offer the special report on your website. Visitors opt in to get the report and their addresses are automatically entered into your auto responder to receive the letters.
You could write down addresses and try to locate the names to go with them, or (Please, no!) write to Dear Homeowner. I personally think you should use an opt-in on your site even if you take the hands-on approach… which is to get out there and meet the people.
I know – that can be a little bit scary. But if you decide what you’re going to say ahead of time, and practice it, it will get easier.
Write a script that sounds natural to you. Something along the lines of “Hi, my name is Sally Jones from ABC Realty. I see you’re offering your home for sale by owner and I stopped by to ask if you were willing to let buyer agents show it to their customers.”
If you say it all at once, they won’t have a chance to say “I’m not listing” and slam the door on you.
Some of them may not have thought about the fact that some buyers want agent representation, so at this point you may need to explain the procedure. If you have a buyer list you mail to, you could mention it. If you use a one-time / one-party listing agreement, do mention that as well.
If they say yes, they’re willing to work with buyer’s agents, do ask for a tour and do take notes. You could even snap a picture to go with the notes.
The important thing is that you don’t ask for the listing at that time. (Not unless they throw themselves at your feet and beg you to take over this horrible job they got themselves into. In that case you must be a good samaritan and help them. )
If they say they don’t want to work with buyer agents, be polite and friendly and say “OK, I’ll let the others in my office know so they won’t bother you.” You might also throw in something complimentary about the house and tell them that if they change their minds to let you know, because you’d sure like to show it. Give them your card, of course.
Before you leave, tell them that you have a special report with tips for owner-sellers and you’d like to send it to them. That gives you the opportunity to ask for their names. You probably should also ask if the house address is their mailing address, since some people do prefer post office boxes to home delivery. Mail the special report as soon as you get back to the office, and enclose a nice little handwritten note thanking them for talking with you. If you can come up with something more personal to add, do it. For instance, if they were about to leave for a child’s soccer game, say you hope their team won. That’s just to show that to you they are more than just a house address – you noticed who they really are.
Be sure to enclose another card just in case they tossed the first one the minute you left.
Then, every few days send along a new real estate letter with a new bit of advice that will be useful to them. Do end each letter with an offer to help should they decide against doing this on their own.