John Giffen, Director of Broker Operations for Benchmark Realty in TN knows a lot about “winning” FSBO’s. In fact, he became a real estate agent after being a for-sale-by-owner himself.

What didn’t Giffen do “right” as a FSBO? In a piece he wrote for InmanNews, he said he did NOT…

  • Properly vet his prospective buyers
  • Properly market his property
  • Properly stage the house
  • Properly price his property

Finally, after not getting the result he wanted as a FSBO, Giffen hired an agent and then became one himself.

Here are some of Giffen’s tips to help you “win over” FSBO’s:

  1. First and foremost, Giffen encourages agents to understand that FSBO’s are unique sellers and “require patience and strategy.” They are either the “trying to save money” seller or the “do-it yourself” seller.   They focus on money saved rather than the inherent value agents bring to the table.
    1. Remind your FSBO prospect that homes without real estate agents generally sell for $65,000 less than homes represented by agents, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
    2. Remind your FSBO that you as an agent have the market data, marketing tools, transaction experience and time to devote to selling their house.
  2. Overcome any preconceived ideas or objections the FSBO and family/friends may have regarding real estate agents.
    1. You can find the buyer.
    2. You can sell the property for more money.
    3. You know and understand all of the legal/regulatory issues, forms, disclosures, 30+ contract pages and you have all the Omissions and Errors Insurance.
    4. You have the data required to price the property to sell.
    5. You have the necessary marketing skills required in today’s world to target the property’s “correct” market.
    6. You have created a tool kit filled with guides as to how to sell properties via open houses, qualifying prospective buyers, safety, templates for ads/fliers/brochures, etc.
    7. You have the necessary negotiating skills,
    8. You can get the deal closed.
    9. ETC.
  3. Importantly, know how to communicate with FSBO prospect without putting them on the defensive..
    1. Ask benign, not loaded, questions and LISTEN.
    2. Solicit the FSBO’s expectations of service in an agent.
    3. Solicit the FSBO about the best features of the home.
    4. Solicit the FSBO’s expectations about pricing the home.

Giffen’s bottom line for strategic success with FSBO’s is communicating your desire to help them sell their house, NOT to “get” the listing.

IF the FSBO prospect becomes willing to compensate you if/when you find a buyer willing to make an offer the house, make sure you have a written, signed by all parties involved, agreement confirming compensation between them (the seller) and your broker PRIOR to showing the property to any prospective buyer.



Thanks to John Giffen and InmanNews.

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