For sale by owner (FSBO) listings are properties that are listed for sale by their owners directly and not represented by a real estate agent. They can be one of the most effective leads you target as a new agent because they present strong opportunities with owners who are motivated to sell.
This article will discuss why FSBO leads are easier to convert, where to locate these leads, why it’s important to use a script, and how to effectively follow up to close the deal.
Although FSBO leads are primed for conversion, REDX puts you in the position to be reaching out to these leads rather than spend all your time researching them. REDX automatically scans thousands of resources and delivers the contact information to you daily so you can focus on conversion.
Where to Find FSBO Leads
FSBO leads can be found through two primary sources—online FSBO lead services that will scan all available sources and generate lead contact information for you, and the research you do yourself.
Option 1: Web-Based FSBO Lead Services
Web-based services take the legwork out of finding FSBO leads. These companies scour hundreds of newspapers and websites to find FSBO leads along with accurate contact information. Just call them, sign up, and they send leads to your inbox.
Here are the most popular FSBO lead services and what they offer.
REDX (Starting at $39.99 per month)
One of the oldest and most popular lead services, REDX sends agents fresh FSBO leads every day for $39.99/month. While they don’t disclose their sources, REDX claims to scour leads and contact information from thousands of sources. While no lead service can guarantee 100% perfect contact information, users report REDX is pretty good at getting the right contact information.
Rather than just send you leads in a CSV or XLS document, REDX takes it one step further by offering leads in a web-based prospecting platform called Vortex. Vortex allows agents to organize and tag leads in endless variations. It also offers space to record notes on each lead as well as store FSBO scripts to make cold calling easier. Best of all, Vortex is totally browser-based. This means that you can access and call your leads from any web-enabled device. No more being stuck behind your desk in the office.
For expired listings, REDX allows you to search back as far as your MLS will go. For FSBO listings, you can only search back 30 days. They charge $39.99 per month for FSBO leads. The charge is different if you want to purchase other lists: $59.99 per month for expired listing leads, $79.99 for FRBO (for rent by owner) leads, $39.99 for pre-foreclosure leads, and $99.99 for the Storm Dialer (REDX’s autodialing software). If you’re interested in learning more about autodialing software, we review the best autodialer software here.
REDX accounts are month-to-month, and there is no minimum contract. That said, they do offer discounts for pre-paying. Paying quarterly will get you a 5% discount, paying every six months will get you a 10% discount, and pre-paying the year will get you a 15% discount.
Landvoice ($40 per month)
Providing leads for realtors since 1991, Landvoice is another extremely popular lead service with a subscription cost of $40/month for FSBO leads. Like REDX, Landvoice allows agents to access their FSBO leads through a browser-based prospecting platform, but their platform also allows agents to organize, tag, and sort their leads as well as store notes with each lead.
Landvoice also allows expanded access to your FSBO leads. For example, you can access the last six months of FSBO leads on Landvoice, while REDX only goes back 30 days. This means that you can contact a lead, then wait a few months until they get fed up selling on their own and then contact them again.
If you sign up to receive expired listings ($60 per month) as well, Landvoice displays status updates on older leads so you know when an old lead takes their home off the market, sells, or lists with another realtor. Like REDX, Landvoice offers other services such as expired listings ($60/month) and pre-foreclosures ($40/month), as well as discounts that revolve both around payment schedule and bundling options. However, if you want to just try it out, Landvoice is also month-to-month and does not require a contract.
Vulcan7 ($169 per month FSBO Leads, CRM, and Autodialer)
Vulcan7 is a newer lead service that many agents have been talking about, but has the highest price point at $169.99/month. Like REDX and Landvoice, Vulcan7 also provides FSBO leads in a browser-based prospecting platform that you can use on any device, but claims to produce the highest quality lead generation product on the market. Along with phone contact information, Vulcan7 also provides emails, which can be very useful for people who would rather email than cold call.
While Landvoice and REDX allow you to buy FSBO leads a la carte, Vulcan7 only sells leads in a package with their autodialer and CRM. The same is true for their expired listing leads ($299/month) that are also packaged with their autodialer and CRM.
Vulcan7 is also month-to-month and doesn’t require a contract.
Option 2: How to Find FSBO Leads on Your Own
We highly recommend that newer agents pay REDX, Landvoice or Vulcan7 for lead generation services. FSBO leads can be purchased for as little as $1.35/day, and if used properly, will result in more closed deals. However, there can be advantages for doing your own FSBO research that can get you new clients faster.
Some of the places you can look to search for FSBO leads include:
- Craigslist (in your local market)
- Zillow (“make me move” or FSBO listings)
- Local newspapers websites
- Brownstoner (NYC only)
The biggest advantage to finding FSBO leads on your own is speed. Employees for FSBO lead services have to find and vet contact information for leads and then wait until the next morning to send them out. If you find FSBO leads on your own, you can reach out to them immediately, which is potentially an advantage. The first mover is often the one that gets the listing.
Why FSBO Leads Are Easier to Convert
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 four reasons why FSBO leads are some of the easiest to convert.
1. 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. Think about it—of all the seller lead sources you have, how many of them have sellers who are ready to sell at this moment instead of a few months or even years from now? FSBO leads want to have their house sold yesterday.
2. They’ve Probably Worked with an Agent Before
Especially with expired listing leads, you can anticipate that they’ve dealt with an agent before and simply had a negative experience. They probably had a few dozen strangers walk through their home, several open houses, and heard a lot of talk that led nowhere. These are people who know how to work with an agent, so there is likely very little client education—they just need to know that you’re the person they can rely on this time around.
3. You Can Anticipate Their Concerns & Reservations
It’s rare to have listing appointments where you can anticipate exactly what the areas of difficulty will be, but with FSBO leads, you often can and you can prepare for it. If you put yourself in their shoes, you can connect with where these sellers are coming from. You’d probably be a little bit fed up with agents and may or may not want to try to sell your home again. They are usually gun-shy, and likely with a good reason.
4. Selling a Home without an Agent Is a Lot of Unexpected Work
Since you already know they want to sell their home, the only question is why they want to sell it themselves. The answer is invariably that they want to avoid paying a commission. While this seems like a perfectly logical rationale for most homeowners at the start, they may quickly realize that they are not getting the return they expected. Contact them a few weeks after their listing was made and simply ask how it’s going. They may already be at a point of frustration when buyers aren’t knocking down their door.
The Best Way to Contact & Nurture FSBO Leads
No matter how you acquire them, cold calling is the best way to contact FSBO leads. It might seem intimidating at first, but if you’re prepared, cold calling is nowhere near as scary as you think it is. Learning when to reach out, doing your research, and using scripts can help you land a listing appointment.
When to Reach Out to FSBO Leads
There are two schools of thought as to when to reach out to FSBO leads. Some realtors believe that reaching out right away can yield rewards, while others say that waiting until the listing has ripened has greater outcomes. We’ll explore both perspectives.
Contacting the FSBO Lead Immediately
Many realtors will tell you that you need to reach out to FSBO leads as soon as humanly possible. Their rationale is that FSBO leads will remember the first agent who calls them because every agent who calls after they do will tell them a variation of the same pitch. There is some truth to this. If you’ve ever watched the pros use scripts, you are bound to see some noticeable overlap.
Contacting the FSBO Lead After a Few Weeks
Other realtors will tell you that approaching FSBO leads too soon is a fool’s errand. This perspective asserts that FSBO leads who have taken the time and effort to list their own homes will at least try to sell on their own for a few weeks or months. According to agents who hold the delayed contact perspective, the best time to reach out to FSBO leads is when they’re just about ready to throw in the towel.
Like many competing perspectives, there is some truth to what each of them have to say. For example, if you manage to be the very first person to call an FSBO lead, it’s absolutely the case that you will get the opportunity to pitch them first on the same basic ideas that every other agent will. However, the problem with this approach is that FSBO leads may be very reluctant to even listen to your pitch when they first list their homes. They may cut you short on the phone or even worse, block your number and email. Even if they don’t do that, they will forget you in a heartbeat unless you have great follow-up skills, something many newer agents lack.
Despite these issues, Los Angeles Realtor Bryan Casella recommends that agents call first:
“There are two reasons to call immediately. First, it’s always better to be first than last. If you’re one of the first people, the conversation will typically be much more positive and you will be able to create a better initial connection. And second, if they are an FSBO who is absolutely clueless, which happens more than you think, you have the opportunity to convert them immediately and demonstrate the value of hiring an agent. Call early and call often.”
Ultimately, there are advantages to each approach. You should try to reach FSBO leads as soon as possible in order to be one of the first agents to pitch them. If you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is that you are reaching out to them. You never know what stage of the decision-making process they are in.
Do Your Research Before Contacting FSBO Leads
Whenever you reach out to an FSBO lead and whichever method you use, you need to do your research first. Pull up the listing and assess the seller’s pictures, description, and general marketing strategy. Here are some general things to look at when doing your assessment.
- Websites they are using (Zillow, Craigslist, and others)
- Types of photos (professional vs. amateur)
- If the price point seems accurate to assessment (under or overvaluing property)
- Online interest assessment (how many have “saved” or are “following” the home online)
- How long the home has been on the market
- Previous selling prices of the home
Sometimes your seller is operating in a hot market, has genuine interest, and they seem to be accurately priced. These cases are rare, but approaching these FSBOs will be far different than approaching those that seem a bit more desperate. In these cases, selling them on the fact that when homes are listed with an agent they sell for more might be your strategy.
The majority of FSBO leads will struggle with effectively listing and selling their own home for a variety of reasons. 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 helps you tailor your approach to your home seller, making for a far more effective contact when the time comes.
Using poor photography and listing price are common elements of poor home performance in the market. Just recently, for example, I saw an FSBO listing with a photograph focused exclusively on a basement toilet. Not the entire bathroom—just the toilet. Sometimes how to market the elements of a home does not come naturally to all home sellers.
Making the Initial Call & Why You Should Use Scripts
After you have done your research, it’s time to finally reach out to your FSBO leads. In order to do this effectively and systematically, you’re going to have to use a script. A lot of people think scripts are for telemarketers, but the truth is even the best cold callers in the business use scripts.
FSBO cold calling scripts work and they save time. If you are going to be talking to people in the same situation over and over again, there are many similar elements you’ll want to hit. You will find that homeowners have similar objections and concerns, and using a script allows you to always have well-thought-out and formulated answers rather than speaking off the cuff the entire time.
There will certainly be times that you go off script, but having a general outline of what you will present and say can save you time and offer the best of your expertise. When it comes down to it, all a script contains is your words, thoughts, and arguments—they’re just well-organized and phrased exactly how you wish it would be expressed every time.
If you’re not sure how to formulate your own cold calling script for your FSBO leads, we offer two free FSBO scripts that work and can help you get to the next step. Don’t worry if you don’t get the listing from the phone call, it’s more likely that you won’t. The objective of your call should be to set up a time to meet personally.
Pro tip: The best time to call is usually after working hours on a Monday.
Schedule your phone calls for Monday after working hours. Homeowners will often have poorly attended open houses the previous weekend, no offers, and be ready to chat on a Monday after work when their frustrations have peaked.
Following Up with FSBO Leads After the Call
Following up on your FSBO leads is the secret sauce of success. Once you’ve called your lead, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for the phone to ring—because it usually won’t happen. Here are two strategies to use in combination and stay top of mind without looking desperate.
Adding potential clients to your email list and following up by phone is a potent and effective combination. Adding someone to your email list keeps them current on what you’re doing and allows them to learn more about you. When they continue to see your name and read what you have to say, the follow-up call places you in a much better position to win.
When adding someone to your email list, just be sure that they “opt-in,” and that you stay compliant with best practices. Our guide to real estate email marketing includes templates you can use and even more information about using email lists. The wonderful thing about adding someone to your email list is that you’re able to continue to demonstrate expertise through your regular mailings.
The second strategy that you can use to stay top of mind is simply a follow-up phone call. Many agents who prospect FSBO leads call as soon as the home is listed, wait a few weeks, and then call again. As their own frustration grows, often so does their receptiveness to your message. Be sure to watch their listing and note changes to price or other elements so that your follow-up conversation shows attention to detail.
The Bottom Line
FSBO leads are some of the warmest leads you can work as a real estate agent. In order to nurture them effectively, you need a great FSBO list as well as the right strategy. That includes researching the listing, cold calling, using scripts, and following up.
While working your leads, be sure to have an effective CRM to store them in. After reviewing a number of CRMs, we’ve found Contactually to be the best of the bunch. You can put your leads into specific buckets and even set reminders that prompt you to contact this person again. Tools like this are perfect as you gather various types of leads. You’ll appreciate having a management system that can help you, and wonder how you ever would live without it.