1. I can sell their house for more money.
According to the 2003 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the typical FSBO home sold for $145,000, compared to $175,000 for a salesperson-assisted home. This means that even if FSBOs pay you a 6-percent commission, they will realize $164,500.
2. I understand how to complete the many contracts, forms and disclosure statements required in a real estate transaction.
Giving FSBOs a list of the forms needed to complete a transaction—lead paint disclosure statement, property condition disclosure statement, purchase contract, legal description of the property, contingency clause addendum—may intimidate them so much that they decide to list with you. According to the 2003 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, difficulty with paperwork was the biggest problem FSBOs had in selling their own homes.
3. I do this full-time.
Often FSBOs don’t recognize how many hours a real estate salesperson spends. Keep track of how many hours you work on each home you list and sell and use this average to demonstrate to FSBOs the amount of time they’ll have to take from their free time to sell their home themselves.
4. I have the market knowledge to price the home competitively.
FSBOs may know what one or two homes near them have sold for, but they don’t have the access to the wide number of comps you do or the market knowledge to adjust pricing. In some cases, a competitive market analysis of their home is an effective tool to demonstrate the professional value to FSBOs. However, don’t discuss their listing price with them until you have a signed agreement. According to the 2003 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, setting the right price was the third most difficult problem FSBOs had in selling their own homes.
5. I can be objective, handle criticism of the house, and focus on how well the homes suits a buyer.
All owners have emotional attachments to their homes and will emphasize the features they consider most desirable during a showing. However, as a trained professional, you are more attuned to the buyers’ needs and able to highlight the home’s features that have the most appeal to each buyer.
6. I can assess buyers’ ability to afford the property and help them locate the best places to obtain financing.
Often buyers, especially inexperienced ones, rely on the real estate salesperson to help them obtain a mortgage. Explain to a FSBO that you have experience in helping buyers locate a lender and select between fixed, adjustable, or balloon mortgages. You are also more experienced in prequalifying buyers so that they will not make an offer on a home they cannot afford. Again, the complexity of mortgage financing may convince the FSBO to hire an expert—you.
7. You know how to negotiate and overcome objections.
Balancing offers and counteroffers, as well as handling many of the contingencies that usually accompany real estate transactions, can be frustrating or frightening for FSBOs. Compile statistics on what percentage of the listing price you typically sell a home for, and use it to convince FSBOs of your value as a negotiator.
8. You can get the transaction closed.
Many FSBOs think that once the purchase agreement is signed, their work is over. But you know better. Develop a list of the tasks that must be completed before closing, including home inspection, termite inspection, title insurance, building permits for improvements, and so forth. Once again, sellers may decide they need professional help once they see what it takes to get the deal completed.