All right, so if you’re a Realtor, the post title makes total sense, and when you read it, the voice in your head pronounces it “fizzbow.” If you’re not an agent, it may be a foreign term. It’s an acronym (in case you couldn’t tell by all the capitals) that stands for “For Sale By Owner” and it’s a big part of the marketing plan behind many real estate agents.
In the training programs I’ve been through to begin my real estate career, FSBOs have been highlighted as a good way to generate listings. Apparently, the national statistic on FSBOs is that only 10% of people who start out selling their house for sale by owner, will actually sell it themselves. The remaining 90% will eventually give up and list their home with an agent. Therefore, in theory, as a Realtor, it’s a good idea to get to know the FSBOs in your area so when they decide they’re through with the hassle of trying to sell it themselves, you’re the agent they turn to.
So, because I’m still pretty new, and I don’t have anything really going right now besides seeing my Tempe clients’ deals through, I’ve been trying out a bit of everything. I’ve gone door knocking. I’m sitting open houses for other agents. I’m finding and talking to as many FSBOs as I can.
FSBOs made me really nervous at first. I felt like I was trying to sell them something I know they don’t want. Hello, it’s on a sign directly outside of their house, like, “I don’t want or need a Realtor, I can sell my house without your services.” So why should I bother them, I wondered. But I pushed through and forced myself to introduce myself and give them a hopefully helpful packet of information. I actually felt good about it after I did it. The thing is, no one slammed a door in my face. The took my information and answered my questions about their homes. I took their information home and fed it into my resources to see what I could find out about their houses and what they were asking for them.
The first lady I spoke with, is actually asking about $25K under the market value of her home. So if she listed it with me, I would recommend she ask $25K higher than what she’s got it at and even after paying for Realtor commissions, she would make $10K more than what she will make at what she’s got it with. Plus she would have someone to put together her paperwork and see her through the deal. It may not sound like much, but I can attest to the literally hundreds of phone calls it takes to get through a real estate transaction.
The second family I spoke with is asking a full $50K above anything even close to market value for their house. It has quite a few upgrades, but I’m still pretty doubtful they will be able to sell it on their own for that much.
All of this just goes to prove to me that offering my services to FSBOs is actually a benefit, and not necessarily an annoyance. It’s important to me to feel like I’m actually selling something useful, something people need. After all that I’ve been through, I really do believe it would be difficult, if not nearly impossible to get through a real estate transaction without any major problems, without the assistance of a professional. (Plus, if I ever got the annoyed vibe right off the bat, I would leave that seller alone. Some people have made up their minds and won’t have them changed, and there is that 10% who actually do sell by themselves.) So I will continue to keep in touch with my FSBOs.