FSBO Marketing

For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Marketing Guide

With the growth of online media such as owner’s websites, online classified engines, and online magazines, along with traditional print media, tracking down all of the FSBOs in your area has become a full-time job in itself. A FSBO’s yard sign and nondescript ad amongst thousands of ads on Craigslist is easily lost.

Methods for Identifying FSBOs in Your Area

To find those FSBOs, here are some valuable tools to sift through the ads and filter out the nonviable properties.

ArchAgent’s FSBO Data Service

The Arch FSBO Listing Service identifies and delivers properties to you that have recently been advertised. Arch uses a multi-step process to uncover and add missing elements so that you have accurate names, phone numbers, and postal addresses. Enter your desired ZIP code, and the advertised FSBO listings are delivered to your e-mail daily for up to a 50-mile radius (maximum 250 square miles; results can be narrowed down to a minimum of one square mile).

Newspapers and Magazines

Some people still use print media as their first option when advertising, but rising costs of placing classified ads in the large metropolitan papers are preventing some FSBOs from using this. Regularly check smaller local papers, especially if you live in a suburban area – advertising rates are often cheaper, and the distribution area is smaller.


The new starting place for owners to place their homes is online. From major national FSBO websites to local/regional sites and online classifieds, this is where people are placing their listings. Most yard signs come with free website listings that owners are happy to take advantage of. Finding all advertising sources is becoming difficult since new sources spring up every day. The major sites are:

  • forsalebyowner.com
  • owners.com
  • FSBO.com
  • FSBO.net
  • buyowner.com
  • craigslist.org
  • infotube.net
  • 10realty.com
  • forsalebyownercenter.com

Drive Your Local Neighborhoods

Always keep a pen handy, and jot down addresses and phone numbers of FSBOs that you uncover while driving in your area. You may even identify them before they have chance to place an online ad.

Finding FSBOs Before They Advertise Alone

Find the seller before they decide to sell on their own. Place classified ads in your local papers advertising special reports. Your Arch subscription includes several FSBO ads and fulfillment reports. For example:

FSBO or Realtor: Making the Right Decision Will Save You Thousands! Call 800-XXX-XXX ext XXXX, 24-hour recorded information. 

Contacting FSBOs


Being confident, upbeat, and persistent is the key to successful phone contacts, and it’s still the fastest, least expensive way to contact leads. There are several scripts available on this website to assist you. Also investigate automatic dialing systems such as ArchAgent’s PowerDialer to make your prospecting time more efficient.

Direct Mail

Designing a powerful Call-to-Action mail piece is an effective way to generate phone calls from interested sellers. Many people who list their home without assistance are unaware of the pitfalls that they will encounter. Developing a drip campaign, designed around the progress of FSBOs, can yield substantial results. It is also important to develop a mail piece to send to people you have already spoken with. It is the most effective way to get your name, phone number, and web address into the lead’s home.

Always use your Arch Powerline™ Service to help generate a better response from your mail. The owner often wants to gather information on a listing with an agent before speaking. Advertising 24-hour Recorded Information avoids their natural hesitation and makes you the first person to know when a current FSBO is about to become a Just Listed.

Mapping has become one of the most beneficial methods to prospectors who continuously market towards private sellers. Personal visits to FSBOs carry the most impact. First, identify available properties in the direct markets in your desired price range. Then, place the owner’s address into an online mapping service or your GPS. Many agents schedule previews of the property, visiting a different neighborhood each time. Other successful agents incorporate this data into their daily routines by stopping by a property while running various errands.

Profiting from FSBOs

At some point in every agent’s career, they will prospect FSBOs. 90% of agents abandon FSBOs due to unexpected low conversion rates and frustration. Most agents do not anticipate the amount of patience and resiliency required to successfully convert FSBOs. It only takes a few FSBOs to rudely tell you they are not interested and then see a competitor’s sign in their yard a week later to realize these leads require a different set of rules. If you adopt the right mindset and learn the proper techniques, you can capitalize on a highly-desirable market and significantly increase your business.

The FSBO Mindset

It is imperative that you demonstrate patience and resiliency in your approach to successfully market to FSBOs. Appreciate their mindset by taking a walk in their shoes.

The homeowner has decided to sell on his or her own. The owner thinks: it’s not that difficult to sell a home, I’ll save thousands in commissions. They invest a few thousand dollars fixing up the property, visit the local home improvement store, and for a few hundred more, they purchase a FSBO website and yard sign kit. They run a newspaper ad in the Sunday real estate section. They spend the time to stage the home and take dozens of pictures. The homeowner spent dozens of hours and thousands of dollars on this project, and the ad hits. Fifteen agents call before 10 a.m., and they all say that they are taking a survey or they have a buyer. They immediately segue into asking for the listing. After having just spent a significant amount of time and money preparing their home to sell themselves, the owner is annoyed that full-service real estate agents are calling.

A likely scenario when the agents call:

  • The owner politely says “no” to the first agent.
  • The owner tells the second agent if they wanted a real estate agent, they would have called one.
  • The owner begins to feel aggravated with the third agent.
  •  The owner is downright angry with the fourth agent.

The Agent Mindset

You’ve got a list of FSBOs. You’re in a positive mindset. You’ve said some affirmations and role-played your script. You firmly believe, and accurately so, that you are helping the FSBO by increasing their net take-home money. You make your first call. The odds are the FSBO reacts negatively. If you put yourself in their mindset, you realize that if they wanted a real estate agent, they would have called one. After all, they want to see if their advertising and hard work pays off. Since you were treated poorly, your mindset goes south. After several failed attempts, you decide prospecting FSBOs is not for you.

Seasoned agents use the FSBO’s mindset to their advantage. They know the seller is going to be resistant initially, so they expect a negative reaction. They know they must first earn the FSBO’s trust, so they build a relationship. They know the FSBOs resistance lowers over time, so they are persistent.

Points of Differentiation: Know Your Facts

Homes listed by a full-service agent net more money for the seller than if they sell it themselves. Conveying the facts assists you in building trust with the owner and inspires them to make a better decision (for you and the seller).

According to the NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

  •  FSBOs sell for 27.5% less than if listed with a full-service agent. The average FSBO sold for $153,000 compared to $211,000 for agent-assisted homes.
  • FSBOs take three times as long to sell.
  • 86% of homebuyers found their home through a full-service real estate agent.
  • 50% of successful FSBOs said they would not do it again. In order of difficulty, the most challenging tasks given were:
    • Selling within the planned length of time
    • Getting the right price
    • Preparing/staging the home
    • Understanding and completing paperwork
    • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale

Additional reasons FSBOs do not net as much money on their home sale or are as effective as a professional include:

  • FSBOs attract bargain hunters and investors who are highly skilled negotiators.
  • Most agents do not show FSBO homes, limiting exposure.
  • 33% of FSBOs sell to a referral. Homebuyers unfamiliar with the FSBO do not feel secure in purchasing homes from owners.
  • Agents have up to 1 million dollars in error and omissions insurance that is not available to FSBOs. This insurance protects the seller’s assets for years after the sale.
  • FSBOs are unable to screen or prequalify buyers. They do not know who is coming into their house and may present a potential danger to their family.

Identifying The FSBOs Personality Increases Your Conversion Rate

You have a greater chance at converting the lead if you can identify the personality of your prospect and adapt your presentation to fit them. This approach generates greater results versus approaching all FSBOs the same. The four archetypal personalities are:

  • Analytical: Not physically demonstrative. Slow to make decisions and requires proof and details to substantiate claims. Appears to be quiet and in control.
  • Dominant: Not physically demonstrative. Quick to make decisions. Controlling and concerned with the bottom line. Appears to be hurried.
  • Likeable: Physically demonstrative. Agreeable, team player, and empathetic. Appears to be easy going.
  • Expressive: Very physically demonstrative. Outspoken, animated, and constantly physically moving. Desires to be the center of attention. Appears to be multitasking.

Of these four personalities, the vast majority of FSBOs are analytical with the remainder being dominant. Analytical types possess a primary motivation to save money. Statistics prove that homes sell for 27.5% more if listed by a full serviced agent. Even after paying your commission, the seller nets more money.

Dominant types believe they can sell their own home easily. They do not understand or appreciate the work that goes into a home sale from listing to closing. Selling a home is not just about marketing the property. Holding the sale together after acceptance is more challenging than ever.

The analytical FSBO requires that you show them physical evidence of why you will increase their net on their home sale. They are likely not going to list with you immediately as they are slow to make decisions. You must exercise patience.

The dominant FSBO believes they can easily sell their own home. They also possess a secondary motivation of saving money. They likely made the decision to list FSBO as an experiment to see if their home would sell on its own. Dominant personalities represent the listings you may be able to obtain on the initial meeting or early in the process.

 Properly Gauging and Increasing the FSBO’s Motivation

Regardless of the product being sold, all successful salespeople are efficient. Consider the efficiency model: efficiency = effectiveness/economics.

Efficiency is the key element to your real estate success. If you list a home with a motivated seller and price it well, you will sell it quickly with minimal marketing money and time invested. Conversely, if you list a home with an unmotivated seller and price it too high, you will wish you had not even taken the listing.

You may have either spent considerably more money on your marketing or time pacifying the seller relative to your net commissions, or you simply never sold the listing. You must properly gauge the FSBO’s motivation so you do not become susceptible to inefficiency. To properly gauge the prospect’s motivation, you have to ask the right questions. Saving money is the primary motivation with an analytical FSBO. Address return on investment in a quantifiable way.

  • How can I exceed the FSBO’s expectations of meeting their needs?
    Believing that the FSBO can sell their home themselves is the primary motivation of the dominant personality. Expose the challenges of selling a home to them without belittling.
  • What problem is the FSBO trying to solve?
  • Why would hiring me instead of going alone or hiring my competition benefit the FSBO?The scripts provided in the Arch FSBO module will assist you by specifically addressing the above motivations. Because each prospects’ motivations are different, each script emphasizes different values. The analytical script provides you with proof to convey to the FSBO concerning why they will net more money on their home sale if they list with you. The dominant script provides you with solutions to common challenges faced by the dominant FSBO.The quicker you increase the FSBO’s motivation and earn their trust, the sooner you can obtain their listing. When evaluating the FSBO’s motivation, consider the following model: motivation = attention + relevance + confidence + satisfaction.
  • Attention: in the first thirty seconds addressing the FSBO, capture and sustain their attention.
  • Relevance: once you have obtained the FSBO’s attention, relate your message to their interests and goals.
  •  Confidence: the FSBO must be confident that you can complete the task. They understand that success is not a guarantee, but they must believe you are up to the challenge.
  • Satisfaction: if the outcome is consistent with or exceeds what the prospect expects, they will be satisfied and list with you.

A Step-by-Step Process to Converting FSBOs into Listings
Some FSBO strategies instruct agents to call the FSBO one time, the moment their advertising comes out, with the belief that the first agent to call the prospect has the best chance of earning the listing. The approach coerces the FSBO into a decision to list with the agent on the first call. If the FSBO does not list immediately, the agent disregards the lead and moves down the list.

This strategy incorrectly assumes that the FSBO lacks sufficient motivation and is a waste of any additional time or effort. After consulting with hundreds of agents who have used this method, it’s clear that this method, for most agents, does not produce results.

The agents who have used this method report that they converted one FSBO out of twenty. According to the NAR, over 72% of FSBOs eventually list with a full-service agent. Why should you be satisfied with 5% of the market share? To increase your conversion rate, embrace a multi-step system:

  1. Identify FSBOs in your target area, and/or supplement your FSBO list.
  2. Call or knock on the door of the FSBOs. Use the provided scripts to identify their personality and gauge/increase their motivation. Close for a preview appointment.
    Note: The NAR says FSBOs listed on the National Do Not Call (DNC) List are protected from telephone solicitation unless you have a buyer interested in their property. The Arch FSBO service automatically queries the FSBOs against the national DNC list. If you desire a FSBO listing, but it is listed on the DNC, it is advisable to visit in person.
  3. If you do not obtain a preview or listing appointment, subdivide your FSBO list into those you feel that you can eventually obtain an appointment with and discard the rest.
  4. Call or visit the FSBOs in two days using the provided scripts. Close for a listing appointment.
  5. If you do not obtain a listing appointment, call or visit the FSBO using the provided scripts in two days. If you are successful with the scripts, you have a very powerful reason to maintain contact every few days and to keep them up to date on the leads. Continue to close for a listing appointment.
    Note: Whatever time frame the FSBO gives you, whether it’s how many days until they are ready to list or how many days until you should contact them again, cut it in half.

Today’s real estate market has you leveraging technology or surrendering to it.