For Sale By Owner Listings: The "Write Way" To List FSBOs (PART II)

Your second contact with your FSBO potentials should offer a bit more information about the less “glamorous” aspects of selling a home. Here, you should begin to discuss the harsher, but nonetheless realistic, aspects of wearing the seller’s hat.

This second installment article in the series offers approaches to open the line of communication during your second contact with these potential clients.

The “Write Way” To List FSBOs (PART II)

In last month’s PART I we discussed how to make your first contact, a
gentle offer to provide the information most needed by the typical FSBO owner/seller.
The information you provided was the enjoyable, “fun” part of selling
a home, which initially attracts people to the concept of selling a home on
their own. Your second contact should offer a bit more information about the
less “glamorous” aspects of selling a home. Here, you should begin
to discuss the harsher, but nonetheless realistic, aspects of wearing the seller’s

NOTE: This is the 2nd installment in a three-part
series about making and maintaining mutually beneficial contacts with members
of your community in the FSBO market.

Writing your second letter to an FSBO

Although they may have had a few contacts with the general public at this
point, these individuals still are not ready to jump on your bandwagon and have
you sell the house for them.

Your role now is to help them begin to understand the “big picture” of home sales. Your information should continue to be helpful and necessary.

After all, you are here to serve homeowners in your area, even if they are selling
their own homes. Right? So, be of service, but don’t coddle as much. Tell
them some of the harder facts, and strengthen your position as the expert in
the field. As always, offer them fantastic resources for valuable information
during this process.

Consider offering standard tips such as:

  • Pre-screening and pre-qualifying potential buyers
  • How to make potential buyers more comfortable with your being onsite
  • Maintaining a life while selling your own home

Give them a short paragraph of pointers or a bulleted checklist on each of
these, or similar topics. Make sure this communication is primarily upbeat,
but isn’t afraid to address one or two of the more difficult real estate
topics. As with the first contact, be sure to direct them to your website for
more detailed information or downloadable checklists for each topic.

Once the information you offer is presented, you should offer to help them
find a new home when they complete the sale of their current home. In this way,
you are not offering to take over their project, but you can offer to relieve
them of the additional burden of seeking a new home while they are busy with
the process of selling the current one.

Always approach them from what you can do to assist them in their goal of selling
the house themselves.

An Example

Dear Mary and John –

The market has shown some activity in the last couple weeks, and I’m
sure you have seen an increase in the number of showings requested of you
for your own home. I hope all is going well.

Since there are now additional demands on your time, I thought you might
be interested in a few of the following tidbits of information to make the
job of selling your home a bit easier:

Pre-screening, pre-qualifying and pre-approving potential buyers
– Save wear and tear on your home, on your personal schedule and on your nerves
by pre-screening potential buyers.

  • You do not have the time to play host to the merely curious. After all,
    you barely have time to show the house to serious, qualified buyers.
  • Anyone interested in making a bid on your home should provide information
    on their employer, occupation, household income, major debts, two years of
    work history and a proposed down payment. But even that information provides
    only enough to do pre-qualification, which shows if the buyer is qualified
    based on their income–it does not indicate their ability to get a loan.
  • A lending institution or mortgage company will take the potential buyer
    and complete the pre-approved process that will cover all aspects required
    to secure a loan.
  • It is important that you protect yourself from having your home tied up
    and off the market due to attempts to purchase by unqualified individuals. OR

How to make potential buyers more comfortable with your being onsite
– Most potential buyers are uncomfortable expressing their concerns and true
impressions of a home if the current owners and inhabitants are showing it.
If they can’t see past the current dwellers, they won’t see themselves
in your house. It won’t be their dream house. Buying is an emotional
decision for many potential buyers.

If your emotions are showing there will be no room for theirs.

  • Be sure that your potential buyers have to deal with as few inhabitants
    as possible.
  • Ask the grandparents or a friend to take the children during showing appointments.
  • Put the pets elsewhere.
  • Be objective–you may even consider having an objective friend or an extended
    family member further removed from the property show the house for you.


Maintaining a life while selling your own home – Taking on a project as big as selling your own home will cut into your personal
and family time. It is important that you maintain some time for yourself.

  • Do not agree to show the house any time, any day of the week. Carve out
    a day or two a week for yourself and your family when the house is not available
    for show. This should probably be during the week, since weekends are a prime
    “home shopping” time for most potential buyers.
  • Employ a maid, get a repairman, and get any outside assistance you need
    to make this process easier on yourself and on the family. It’s hard
    to live “under a microscope” for an extended period of time. It’s
    difficult to relax when you know the house must be kept perfect so a stranger
    may call to view your entire house at any moment.
  • Be forgiving of yourself and understanding of the stresses this process
    will cause you and your family. Be sure to get out and do family activities
    that everyone will enjoy on your days “off” from the home selling

I know your time is at a premium now, especially with the holiday season
approaching, and you may find it difficult to carve out enough time in your
day to search for a new home for your family. If you would like me to locate
some options for your review, selected with your specific needs in mind, please
let me know. I would welcome the opportunity to help you find your new home,
while you concentrate on selling your existing house.

If you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance, please call
me at 1-800-come sell, or E- mail me at

Wishing you all the best and selling success!

Joe Agent
Come Sell With Us Real Estate

Timing is everything where these contacts are concerned. Since you know the
current market in your geographic area – you are the best qualified to
determine how to time the contacts.

If the market is slow, they may only have one contact between your first and
second letters. As such, your contact will appear pushy. However, if the market
is hot and they have already had to balance six showings in one week, in addition
to their regular daily activities, the demands of work and school schedules,
and the extra work of an impending holiday season…the second letter would
be a welcome bit of information for a hectic time.

What you want to ensure is that they experience some of the concerns you address
JUST PRIOR to the arrival of your letters. Your experience in the local market,
and knowledge of the current status will lead you to the best timing for these

The above example letter lists three main points. You do not want your letter
or E-mail to be too long. These (and other issues of concern to FSBO sellers)
can easily be broken down into a series of “second wave” contact
letters. You can also pick one main point and direct them to your website for
a more complete discussion.

Chances are, you won’t personally know each FSBO owner/seller in your
community, and so the best indicator of your contact schedule is the real estate
market itself. Be sure to use the time of the year, the season and references
of that type when addressing demands on their schedule.

Next month we will address the third type of contact with this group and how
to position yourself to be their hero, and earning their trust while landing
their listing.

© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft

This December 2003 article appears in the monthly “Word Magic” column
in the newsletter.