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Field Guide to Working With FSBOs

(Updated November 2014)

Only 9 percent of today’s sellers are FSBO sellers, and among those who chose the FSBO route, 44 percent knew the buyer who bought their home. Among those who did not previously know the buyer of the home, 15 percent of those were contacted directly by the buyer to purchase the home. Taking these factors into account, the FSBO market of sellers who sold their home without knowing the buyer and those who were not directly contacted by a buyer is significantly smaller. FSBOs typically have a lower median selling price, though FSBOs typically received 98 percent of their asking price. Those who first tried to sell their home as a FSBO, but ultimately sold via an agent, were the youngest of all sellers and had the highest median household incomes. 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: 47%
  • Sold it to a relative / friend / neighbor: 24%
  • Buyers contacted seller directly: 15%
  • Did not want to deal with an agent: 8%
  • Agent was unable to sell home: 4%
  • Seller has real estate license: 1%
  • Could not find agent to handle transaction: 1%
  • Seller has a real estate license: 1%
  • Other: * less than 1%

Source: 2014 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS® - Research, 2014).

Information Fro​m NAR

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).

FSBO: Talking Points and Background, (National Association of REALTORS® - Public Affairs, Feb. 2013).

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

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

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t For Sale By Owner, (KeepingCurrentMatters.com, 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, (Totalmortgage.com, 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?, (Marketintelligencecenter.com, 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

Increasing your slice of the market, (Realty Times, Oct. 25, 2012).

10 Rules for Selling Your Home on Your Own, (mainstreet.com, Nov. 3, 2012).

Nine FSBO Mistakes to Avoid, (Tallahassee.com, Nov. 2, 2012).

Latest FSBO trends, (Realty Times, Sept. 23, 2011).

6 Steps to Consistently Listing FSBO, (RISMedia.com, Dec. 3, 2010).

NAR buyer and seller survey shows value of long-term home ownership, (RISMedia.com, Nov. 9, 2010).

Agents: FSBO Training, (Realty Times, Oct. 4, 2010).

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

Working ​With FSBOs

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).

How FSBO Sellers Work with a Buyer’s Agent, (ForSaleByOwner.com, July 15, 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

Field Guides & ​More

These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Effective Online Marketing

InfoCentral 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.