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Field Guide to Working With FSBOs

(Updated November 2015)

89 percent of sellers sold with the assistance of a real estate agent, up slightly from 88 percent the last three years, and only 8 percent (down from 9 percent) were FSBO sales. The share is the lowest since this data collection started in 1981. Among those who chose the FSBO route, 38 percent knew the buyer who bought their homes and 62 percent did not know the buyer. Where FSBO sellers knew the buyer, the time on market for the home was usually one to less than a week and sellers received 99 percent of the asking price. The median age for FSBO sellers is 56 years. Every home seller must eventually decide whether to hire a REALTOR® or to sell the home on their own. But even after they decide to go solo, FSBOs can still be convinced to use a REALTOR®'s expertise. In this Field Guide you'll find dozens of articles, books, videos, studies, statistics and Web sites to help you find out who FSBOs are and how to work with them. (D. McCormick, Operations Analyst)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page

Most Important Reason fo​r Selling Home as FSBO

  • Did not want to pay commission fee: 48%
  • Sold it to a relative / friend / neighbor: 21%
  • Buyers contacted seller directly: 18%
  • Did not want to deal with an agent: 6%
  • Agent was unable to sell home: 5%
  • Seller has real estate license: 1%
  • Could not find agent to handle transaction: 1%
  • Other: * less than 1%

Source: 2015 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS® - Research, 2015).

Information Fro​m NAR

Solo Sales: FSBOs’ Costly Mistake, (National Association of REALTORS®, Nov. 10, 2015).

Selling Your Home Solo to Save Money? You’ll Actually Make Less Than You Think, (National Association of REALTORS® - Economists’ Outlook, Nov. 9, 2015).

How to Talk About FSBOs, (National Association of REALTORS® - Public Affairs, Apr. 2015).

6 Suggestions for Converting FSBOs, (REALTOR® Magazine Tool-Kit).

Hey Home Owners, Leave the Hard Work to Us!, (YPN Lounge Real Estate Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Mar. 25, 2013).

Rebenchmarking Reflects FBSO Drop, (Speaking of Real Estate Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Dec. 22, 2011).

What is a 'Lead' to you?, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 2011).

The Vanishing FSBO, (Speaking of Real Estate Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Jan. 6, 2011).

Fanning the For Sale By Owner Flames, (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 2009).

Public Advocacy Campaign: Don't Try this at Home, (National Association of REALTORS® - Public Affairs) — Print ads, web banners, and other advertising material for targeting FSBOs.

The FSBO M​arket

Real estate mistakes you’re probably making, (MoneySense, Nov. 11, 2015).

5 Times You’re Better Off Without a Real Estate Agent, (WiseBread, Oct. 28, 2015).

Will Real Estate Agent Become Obsolete?, (The Street, Oct. 12, 2015).

How to sell your home without an agent, (The Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2015).

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell, (Huffington Post, Aug. 26, 2015).

Home Sellers Advice: List it or SIY?, (Realty Times, Aug. 26, 2015).

For sale by owner: Do you really save money?, (Philly Voice, July 27, 2015).

How to Sell Your House Without Paying an Agent’s Fee, (Time, July 31, 2015).

5 Reasons you Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner, (Keeping Current Matters, June 2, 2015).

Selling a Home Without a Realtor. Know These 4 Risks, (Realty Today, Mar. 26, 2015).

For Sale By Owner????, (Realty Times, Feb. 11, 2015).

Problems with For Sale by Owner, (Angie’s List, Feb. 9, 2015).

Real Estate Matters – For sale by owner may not mean more money for the seller, (The Washington Post, Jan. 28, 2015).

Selling home without agent may not be worth the trouble, (Washington Post, Nov. 19, 2014).

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner, (Keeping Current Matters, Nov. 3, 2014).

Websites aim to be the TurboTax for selling your home – without an agent, (OC Register, Oct. 24, 2014).

For Sale By Owner: The Truth About Selling Your Own Home, (Chicago Now, Sept. 4, 2014).

For Sale By Owner: The Myths And Lies About Selling Your Own Home, (Chicago Now, Sept. 2, 2014).

First Time Buyer – Do I Need an Agent for a FSBO Purchase?, (Realty Times, Apr. 29, 2014).

For Realtors, an unwelcome trend, (Crain’s Chicago Business, Aug. 28, 2014).

More homesellers are going it alone – should you?, (Yahoo! Finance, Mar. 25, 2014).

Why For-Sale-by-Owner Sales Fail, (realtor.com®).

Six reasons why FSBOs are fizzling in the housing recovery, (Total Mortgage, Dec. 11, 2013).

How to sell your home without an agent, (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 3, 2013).

Will the internet lead to the death of the salesman?, (Market Intelligence Center, Nov. 22, 2013).

For Sale by Owner: It Can Be a Halloween Nightmare Story, (Realty Times, Oct. 26, 2013).

More homeowners ditching real estate brokers, (New Pittsburgh Courier, Oct. 19, 2013).

5 reasons to beware the “For Sale By Owner” sign, (Houston Business Journal, Sept. 6, 2013).

‘For sale by owner’ seen as a fading fad, (McClatchy – Tribune Business News, June 23, 2013). Q

FSBO Websites: Yahoo! provides a list of over 40 FSBO websites that you may want to be aware of.

Working ​With FSBOs

FSBOs: Untapped Opportunities Waiting for You, (RISMedia.com, July 9, 2015).

Why ‘for sale by millennial’ is the future of the industry, (Inman, Apr. 13, 2015).

5 Tips for Going the For Sale By Owner Route, (U.S. News & World Report, Mar. 29, 2015).

FSBO Listings Can be a Goldmine, (RISMedia.com, Mar. 5, 2015).

For Sale By Owner: The Alternatives You May Not Have Considered, (Chicago Now, Sept. 9, 2014).

Real Estate Agent FSBO Marketing – Working with “For Sale By Owners”, (AgentMarketing.com Blog, Aug. 27, 2014).

FSBO: Buyer’s Beware, (Realty Times, Jan. 27, 2014).

Why For-Sale-By-Owner Sales Fail, (realtor.com®, Nov. 26, 2013).

Understanding the mindset of FSBO sellers, (YESMasters.com).

If I am Working with a Realtor, What Happens If I Find a FSBO Home?, (realtor.com®, July 11, 2012).

Real Estate Scripts: FSBO Objections, (FSBO Real Estate Leads, Sept. 14, 2009).

Flip those FSBOs, (FSBO Real Estate Leads, Sept. 25, 2007).

Entering the For-Sale-By-Owner World, (Realty Times, June 26, 2009).

How to Add Over Six Figures to Your Income Propspecting FSBO's, (Realty Times, Jan. 30, 2009).

Tips for Positioning Yourself as the Local Internet Real Estate Expert, (RISMedia.com, Jan. 13, 2009).

15 Powerful Ways to Find Prospects and become a Stronger Agent, (RISMedia.com, June 13, 2008).

What to say to FSBOs, (Florida REALTOR® Magazine, June 2008).

Books, eBooks ​& Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Home Owner's Guide to For Sale By Owner (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

42 Rules to Turn Prospects into Customers (Kindle, Overdrive Audiobook, Adobe eReader)

Getting the Sale: Confirming the Commitment to Buy (Adobe eReader)

OPEN-Question Selling (Adobe eReader)

Red-Hot Selling (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Selling Your Home in 45 Days or Less (Kindle, Overdrive Audiobook, Adobe eReader)

Easy Step by Step Guide to Successful Selling (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

The Home Seller's Checklist: Everything You Need to Know to Get the Highest Price for Your House (Adobe eReader)

How to Sell Your Home in Any Market (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Selling in Tough Times (Kindle, Adobe eReader, Overdrive Audiobook)

Seven Steps to Sold: The Secrets to Selling Your Home for Big Bucks... Fast! (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

42 Rules to Increase Sales Effectiveness (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Winning New Business (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, R​esearch Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Central. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Predictive analytics: The Power to Predict who will click, buy, lie or die, (Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013). H 61.4 S54
The real estate agent’s guide to FSBOs, (AMACOM, 2008). HD 1341 M29
For Sale by Owner, (Nolo Press, 1992). HD 1341 D49F
For Sale by Owner: a no-nonsense guide to getting the best price for your house, (Probus, 1990). HD 1341 L83
For Sale by Owner, (Simon & Schuster, 1989). HD 1341 G42

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Field Guide to Effective Online Marketing

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.