Use Your Safety Knowledge to Convert FSBOs

Show sellers going it alone that they may not be prepared for the dangers of opening their homes to buyers — but you are.

There’s one big reason why most — if not all — FSBOs choose to try and sell on their own: They want to maximize their profits and don’t want to pay a commission to a real estate agent. So convincing a FSBO to list with you is a tricky thing. Your expertise in the local market and ideas for how to maximize exposure of their home to buyers may impress them. But they also recognize that that’s your sales pitch — which is what they intended to avoid by going it alone.

You should try to tap into a deeper, more personal concern than just the transaction itself when aiming to convince FSBOs of your qualifications as an agent. One way to do that is to talk about your safety knowledge as it relates to real estate and how the FSBO will be safer — in more ways than financially — with you at the head of their deal.

I tell agents there are 12 reasons FSBOs are safer working with them. I spell out the reasons in a FSBO Checklist, which you can request here. (Click on the top link and then fill in your contact information to access the FSBO Checklist and other resources.) One of those reasons, which Gary Clark, GRI, a sales associate with Keller Williams Realty Tri-Lake in Branson, Mo., tells FSBOs all the time, is that agents are trained to spot the difference between a serious buyer and someone who may be casing a property. Agents can also advise on what valuables the seller should remove or lock up during showings, they know they shouldn’t show a property alone, and they know to alert a family member or friend when they’re meeting buyers in the field.

These are things FSBOs don’t think about. Many of them will let anyone in their house who expresses an interest in looking at it, and as we all know, that can put them in grave danger. So the goal in explaining to FSBOs your safety expertise is to add value to the relationship by sending the message that an agent doesn’t just sell homes but also keeps the consumer safe.

Stephany Haxel, a sales associate with Dillard Group Real Estate in Norman, Okla., carries a sheet with the 12 FSBO safety tips to appointments. She’ll pass them out when going door-to-door, canvassing for sellers, and mail them with her regular marketing materials. “It makes the conversation more personal,” Haxel says.

“Real estate professionals are the buffer for sellers,” adds Clark. “We are trained to screen, observe, and protect our sellers.” This is the message you want to get across to FSBOs, but focus the conversation on safety alone. Don’t try and fit in a marketing angle or a pitch for their business. Keep it about them and their needs so they can see your intentions are pure and solely about helping them reach their goals in a safe manner.

Christopher Michael, a sales associate with RE/MAX Preferred Properties in Oklahoma City, says most agents in his market aren’t having safety talks with their prospects. So when he approaches FSBOs with important seller safety tips, he stands out. “Safety tips give me the opportunity to offer something of value to FSBOs without asking for anything in return,” he says. “It puts me above the crowd of other agents seeking the listing. I keep at least 10 [safety information sheets] in my car and will stop at every FSBO I see and go place it on their door.”

Request a safety sheet with a comprehensive list of FSBO safety tips you can share with prospects at