For sale by owner (FSBO) leads can be found organically in a number of ways. This takes time, but the benefit is that there is no financial cost. Alternatively, you can also prospect for FSBO leads using a paid service, which provides added insights, can represent a significant time savings, and increases the probability of successful conversion.
This is why we recommend using a mix of organic and paid lead generation strategies when targeting FSBO leads, especially if you’re looking to scale your profits. We recommend REDX as the best paid service because of its accurate lead data, contact management platform, and affordable pricing.
However, you can also find additional FSBO leads using the following organic sources:
FSBOs typically don’t have access to the MLS, so you’ll find many homes listed on the site by unagented sellers. If the seller is not very marketing-savvy, which is frequently the case, they may only list their home on Craigslist. That makes it a great place to search for new seller leads that might not be on social media or on listing sites.
The drawback to using Craigslist as a real estate lead generation source is the amount of time it takes to search for homes, look at home details, and reach out to the owner. Even if you check Craigslist for new FSBO properties every day, you could consistently be 24 or more hours behind your competition.
Social Media Platforms
The Marketplace feature found on Facebook is another way to discover potential sellers who aren’t currently represented by a listing agent. You can use the tool to look up properties for sale in your area under the home sale category. However, you can also simply type in the phrase “home for sale by owner” in the search field to find properties, or for sale by owner groups, in your area or for sale by owner groups.
Another way to use social media to find listings that could benefit by working with an experienced agent is to look for people who are asking for help. Often people use these platforms to share descriptions and images of their neighbor’s listings, with captions like “do you want to be my neighbor?”
Another social media platform, Nextdoor, is a good alternative to Facebook for identifying potential FSBO leads. However, you must first be invited by someone within the neighborhood to join the platform before you can start searching for listings, and the platform discourages communication that can be seen as self-promotional, so be careful how you use it. LinkedIn or Instagram can also be used for this purpose to a lesser extent.
Zillow is connected to MLS and has tools specifically designed to connect with a listing’s agent. However, it can also be used to discover seller leads that aren’t under a listing contract. For example, Zillow gives you the ability to search for preforeclosure homes as well as expired or off-market listings.
These homes are not actually on the market, but they signify which homes have received a Notice of Default. So while the bank is technically the seller, not the homeowner, this allows you to contact homeowners before the house lists, which benefits sellers by providing them with a sense of control. Just note you are not going to be the only agent looking for these properties on Zillow. You’ll be facing significant competition from agents, investors, and wholesalers.
Plus, it’s important to keep in mind that preforeclosure homes are likely to be in a condition that’s less than ideal. These homeowners are also in a difficult place of facing foreclosure, so it can be hard to convert these leads, especially for newer agents. As a result, while this feature can be a source for leads, it may not be a worthwhile prospecting tip for every agent.
Forsalebyowner.com is a third-party listing site designed for FSBO sales. Since you won’t have to sort through tons of agent listings to find a FSBO lead, you’ll get more potential leads in less time.
However, it’s a guarantee that you’ll also face more competition with leads on this site than any of the other organic FSBO lead sources. Plus, you’ll need a foolproof system to find, track, and follow up with all of these leads. Otherwise, your efforts to contact them will be disorganized and ineffective.
Local Newspaper Websites
Similar to Craigslist, searching your local paper will be where many FSBOs without MLS access post their home for sale. This has become a less popular source in recent years, but it can still be a place to find sellers who aren’t advertising their listing online. It has the same significant drawbacks as searching on Craigslist.
You will have to establish a habit of checking the newspaper at least once per day, and approach each of these leads with the knowledge that you are likely not the first agent to contact them. This can put you at a consistent disadvantage.
Why Real Estate Prospecting Should Include FSBO Leads
Many new agents believe that FSBO leads will be tough and resistant prospects. Though they may have gone through the effort of listing the home themselves, at the end of the day, they share your goals of wanting a quick sale and a solid price. Here are three reasons why FSBO leads are some of the easiest to convert.
- FSBO leads are ready to sell now: The fact that FSBO leads have listed their homes on the market shows that they are ready to sell fast.
- They need little client education: They may have worked with an agent before and simply had a negative experience, but they also have probably had a few dozen strangers walk through their home, several open houses, and heard a lot of talk without seeing enough action. They can recognize your value.
- They are likely frustrated by the status quo: Selling a home is a lot of work. They may have first set out to avoid paying a commission, but when buyers aren’t knocking down their door, they may quickly realize they are not getting the return they expected. As a result, they are more likely to be ready to make a change.
What to Do Before Contacting FSBO Leads
No matter how you originally identified a contact, always make sure to do your due diligence and research properties before contacting a FSBO lead. Pull up the listing and assess the seller’s pictures, description, and general marketing strategy.
Sometimes your seller is operating in a hot market, has a genuine interest, and has their home accurately priced. These cases are rare. The majority of FSBO leads will struggle with effectively listing and selling their own home for a variety of reasons. By doing your research as an agent, you will usually have a very clear picture as to why your FSBO leads are struggling and how you can help them remedy it.
It’s worth noting that you will likely need to contact a FSBO lead more than once. While you can simply call them after a set period of time to personally check in and show them you genuinely care, another strategy is to add them to your email list with their permission. This can help build their trust as they see your expertise in their inbox.
A good real estate customer relationship manager (CRM) can help you keep track of your leads and remind you when to follow up. Freshsales lets you make calls and send emails directly from the CRM and sends you automatic follow-up reminders after your first contact. You can also create custom emails based on where a lead is in the sales cycle so no one falls through the cracks. Sign up for free today.
When to Reach Out to FSBO Leads
Some real estate agents believe that reaching out to FSBO leads immediately is the best strategy, while others purposely wait until the listing has ripened. You’ll have to test what works best for you and your market, but here are some of the benefits of contacting a FSBO right away versus waiting for several weeks to pass from the original listing date.
Benefits of Contacting FSBO Leads Immediately
Benefits of Waiting to Contact FSBO Leads
Higher chance to reach the lead first
You aren’t lumped in with your competition if everyone else calls immediately
Leads remember the first agent they speak with most
You are reaching them when they are getting frustrated and discouraged
First conversation can be more positive
Whether you choose to contact a lead right away, or wait for time to pass, the most effective method of communicating with FSBO leads is to call them by phone and use a script. FSBO scripts save time, keep you focused, and help build your confidence. Since you’ll be talking to people in the same situation repeatedly, using a script will help you address objections, concerns, and always have well-thought-out and formulated answers.
Don’t worry if you don’t get the listing from the first phone call—in fact, it’s more than likely that you won’t. The objective of your call is not to immediately get a new listing, but to set up a time to meet personally.
Pro tip: The best time to call is usually after working hours on a Monday.
FSBO leads can be some of the easiest leads to convert into clients as long as you have a good way to find and reach them. You can find FSBO leads through organic searches or by paying a lead source like REDX, and call them using an FSBO script. Start calling and converting FSBO listings with REDX today.