10 Top Resources to Tap Real Estate 'For Sale By Owners'
Real estate agents and brokers share the selling market with unrepresented, home sale do-it-yourselfers known as For Sale By Owners, or FSBOs (pronounced fizzbo). Some 12% of home sellers in today's market are FSBOs, and approximately 85% of those sellers will hire real estate agents to sell their properties, according to the National Assn. of REALTORS. In many markets, a large percentage of FSBOs are property owners whose employment contracts with real estate professionals expired without an executed contract for the sale of their properties.
The FSBO market is fertile ground for real estate prospecting. Real estate trainers offer help with dialogue, letters, and postcards to attract home sellers' attention to the services that realty professionals offer.
Paula Bean is a 30-year real estate veteran in Orlando, FL who says that a major portion of her income is derived from the FSBO market. "I know that 90% of FSBOs eventually give up," she says, "I try to help them, not manipulate or scare them into listing. It is human nature to want to save money. They want to save money, or they had a bad real estate experience. Some think that selling a home is easy, especially with all of the information available today on the Internet, and all the marketing options they have. Naturally, they wonder why they should pay an agent when they can do it themselves."
The following is a list of resources, online and offline, that real estate agents can use to prospect and serve the FSBO market.
- SearchHomesOnTV offers a menu of marketing services for FSBOs that includes television advertising. SOHTV site developers invite the cooperation of e-PRO Certified real estate professionals and advertise fee-for-service opportunities with FSBOs for eligible, licensed real estate practitioners. (Publishers of SOHTV operate independent of the National Assn. of REALTORS and e-PRO course providers at InternetCrusade.)
- Walk2Shul.com is a property search site that has a very specific niche -- properties located near Orthodox Jewish synagogues. This site is populated with properties listed by FSBOs and licensed real estate agents.
- Zillow.com boasts data about 80 million residential properties throughout the United States. The Zillow "Zestimate" home valuation tool grows increasingly popular among consumers and has a national accuracy rate of some 7%. Real estate agents familiar with the micro focus of Zillow troll neighborhoods online for FSBOs and Expired listings.
- Trulia.com is one of the largest property sites online and it offers multiple ways of connecting with FSBOs as well as other real estate consumers. FSBO property listings feature owner contact information, and Trulia Voices is an online community that lets consumers and real estate agents ask and answer questions about real estate matters. Agents and consumers are grouped geographically and share a national question-and-answer platform.
- The FSBO Real Estate Game™ is a month-long group coaching program created by Real Estate Coaches Joeann Fossland and Patti Kouri. Some 10 - 20 real estate agents from across the country meet each morning via the Coach's telephone bridge line to brainstorm FSBO-friendly market cooperation and expertise, for less than the cost of a latte each day. A new web platform lets players log in daily point tallies as they compete for a prize at the conclusion of the Game. (Editor's Disclosure: I played this Game for two years and I facilitate occasional EXPIRED and FSBO Real Estate Games™.)
- For Sale By Owner Real Estate Network gives agents tools they need for a good foundation to attract FSBO business. A real estate agent can reserve a city as the EXCLUSIVE agent where he will be able to showcase FSBO listings, get leads and generate income.
- ForSaleByOwner.com offers a less friendly welcome to licensed real estate agents, but it is a highly trafficked web site with an abundant pool of owners tasked with selling their own homes.
- Craigslist offers its community opportunities to post listings online for free. Community members include FSBOs and real estate professionals. There are "community rules" and caveats pertaining to commercial online solicitations, and many contacts with owners are made through forms on the Craigslist server. Use caution and be aware of the rules when contacting members of the Craigslist community to solicit listings.
- TheRedX offers lead generation and lead management software with daily updates of new FSBO leads. Telephone numbers are scrubbed against Do-Not-Call lists and TheRedX database works in conjunction with most multiple listing services so that real estate agents can keep abreast of new listings among FSBOs and Expired Listings.
- Who's the Best Person to Sell My House? by Bernice Ross, Ph.D., is a powerful little book that gives FSBOs a list of 29 key decisions they must make in the home selling process. It also a great book to use with Expireds. My advice: Order 100 of these books, read one yourself, and put it to work to build an impressive inventory of listings that are priced right and sell fast! CAUTION: Real estate agents who READ this book and embrace the tools, technologies, and marketing approaches described within its 50 pages may suffer incurably high levels of market mastery and attract bountiful, saleable listings.
(Frances Flynn Thorsen, e-PRO, SRS, ACRE, is Managing Editor of RealTown.com. She publishes several blogs, including RealTown Report, The REALTYGram Blogger, No Blogger Left Behind, The FAT Lady Blog, and Web Women Giving Circle Blog.)
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