Profile picture for bpuckett1829

How does a FSBO get buying agents to work with them?

All the agents I have spoken with are very resistant to working with FSBO, and some have even been down right nasty to us.  Making claims that FSBO doesn't promote the industry; but I am absolutley tring to promote the industry.  We are willing to pay 3% to buying agent and have already done all the leg work in listing our house on the MLS and associated websites.  The home is staged well, it shows well, and they all tell me how fast they could sell it if I listed it with them.  My confusion is why not just bring the buyer in and they still make a quick 3%?  Very confused and frustrated with realtors right now.
  • February 02 2014 - Papillion
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Answers (18)

Profile picture for sunnyview
".IMO they will become a brokerage one day and everyone has to step up the ei game to get buyers."

I agree. I suspect that a consolidated model may be on the way. Not sure if that is a benefit for consumers, but with more competition the market will decide what they want and what price they are willing to pay.
  • August 14 2014
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Profile picture for bmullins3
I am not a Realtor, but have been one before. There is a war going on between Web sites like Zillow, and FSBO.com and the realty industry. Once the MLS went on the internet of course Realtors lost some of its mystery. A Real Estate transaction is not really Rocket Science...I know many of you will tell me about all the value you provide, but it is mostly about DATA and the accuracy of it. on the seller's side it is about giving your client info about price points, the market..ect  all data...and on the buyer side, sale comps, market conditions and helping them find the Home they want. It is funny to continue to act like the internet and data can not do this accurately, And do not act like all Realtors have knowledge about real estate, we all know some hacks out here. IMO the future of the transaction will be in the hand of the Buyers...the TRUE consumer of our product. I have read these post with people saying "why should I bring my buyer to Zillow" ...Zillow is attracting Buyers on its own...just like you should....IMO they will become a brokerage one day and everyone has to step up the ei game to get buyers.
  • August 14 2014
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How do you think Realtors attract buyers if you are doing the marketing yourself? Yes we gets tons of buyers calling us about homes, but if we do not have your home listed-how will we attract buyers looking for your specific home? I don't bother FSBOs because they don't see the value in a good agent. A good agent, like myself, can sell your home for more money so they can pay themselves-- since most FSBOs don't hire Realtors because of the financial obligation. I would like to work with FSBOs but you must understand that I need to list your house in order to bring you buyers. You will still get the same about of $ you would (or more) without a Realtor. I have lots of listing strategies that get homes sold fast and for more money. If you are an FSBO tired of dealing with the process of selling your house, I can give you great information and resources to get your house sold FAST. Just email me [Removed by Zillow moderator. Please see our Good Neighbor Policy.]
  • August 14 2014
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
Let me ask a hypothetical question though, if FBSO sell for so much less, why aren't buyers' agents beating down those sellers' doors trying to get that sweet deal for their clients?

That, is an interesting question.

Assuming the premise, the out-of-pocket cost to the buyer's REA is $1,380 on a $46K difference in sale price.
But, given such a huge savings, an cost-incentive clause in a buyer's agency agreement could easily net a few K, so the buyer's REA could net more, even while significantly reducing their client's costs.
And, could there be a market niche? A "we save you $$$ by helping you target FSBOs"?

Potentially, a win-win-win.   ;-)
  • August 13 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Let me help. The $46,000 number comes from...wait for it...a state realtor organization via the NAR. gasp...

Let me ask a hypothetical question though, if FBSO sell for so much less, why aren't buyers' agents beating down those sellers' doors trying to get that sweet deal for their clients? With a 3% commission on a 200K house their client would save 40K. Not bad. Still no takers? Shoot the contract agents use is pretty well vetted so lawsuit is not a real issue. Must be another reason then.

Maybe the numbers on FSBOs are a lot like the numbers that pharmaceutical companies cite in their advertisements. Some true, some conjecture and some yarn spinning. They may hold water for some sellers or properties, but are hardly a universal real estate truth like location cubed. 

Hard numbers are hard to come by. I think sellers who are plugged in, willing and feel capable make better FBSOs and if they do decide to list later better clients too.
  • August 13 2014
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Profile picture for Rebecca Marvel
This should be good.... i.e., responses to Chris Drusen... where's the popcorn
  • August 13 2014
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Profile picture for Gabilan Properties
Boy Chris, I think you are about to get a shellacking! Do you care to post the link to the source of that statement that FSBO's net $46,000 less?

No, I didn't think so. Welcome to Zillow!

Good luck.
  • August 13 2014
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Almost any agent will show your house to their clients if you're willing to pay a commission. 
The main problems with FSBO is that if you many buyers who aren't woking an agent might not come to look at your home because they feel intimidated that neither you, nor them know how to do the legal paperwork and any mistakes could be costly $$$. 
Another problem is that agents use the MLS to look up properties to show their clients…even if you pay to be on the MLS, some agents won't even see your listing and if you're hoping buyers will find you on FSBO websites, don't be fooled, only other FSBO people look at that sight and agents looking to get your listing. 
Here are the main problems: 
1) The typical For Sale by Owner (FSBO) home sold for $46,000 LESS during the past year than homes sold with the assistance of a REALTOR…Therefore, YOU lose big time!
2) Agents like me can market your home to over 50,000,000 qualified buyers worldwide…You can't
3) Most FSBO sellers over price their home and then continuing dropping the price until they sell it.
4) Most sellers don't have the time to show the home every minute of the day…agents do.
5) Most sellers don't know about all of the disclosures and how to handle back-up offers and contingencies and how to check if the buyer is pre qualified for financing.
6) There is so much to know…that is why professional REALTORS spend hours of class time to know the ins and outs of the business…It's not just stick a sign in the yard and sell it.
That is why 93% of all FSBO'S list with a REALTOR after spending months wasting their time!
Best of Luck!
  • August 13 2014
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Profile picture for sunnyview
If your house is ready to sell and you feel comfortable DIY, you can sell yourself successfully. Offering a buyer's agent 3% works well in my area. I would check a local flat fee company in your area or a local Help You Sell to see what other FSBOs are offering as a buyer's commission to make sure that you are competitive.

You do not have to list on a flat fee, but doing it that way can bring buyers who have agents working for them in the door. If your market is hot, you may be able to do without it and just use local, online and sign advertising. Get to buyers, sell them and they will bring their agent in a hot market.

Some agents actively avoid FSBO sellers. Some don't like the idea of them period, others had bad experiences with nutsy sellers and still others will press for the full commission listing on principle. However, as the owner and seller you decide who to pay, whether to pay and what you are willing to offer an agent with an interest client. Treat it like business, keep emotion out of it and  you can be a successful seller.
  • August 13 2014
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Profile picture for bmullins3
What is extra work of a buyer's agent you speak of?
  • August 13 2014
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The main reason why an agent wouldn't want to work with a FSBO is simply because now they have to do your legwork and their own clients. Sometimes, this may cross the line of dual agency because they have to walk you through the paperwork and possibly advise you which may cross the legal limits of being a Buyer's Agent.
  • February 03 2014
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Possibly it depends upon your market.  Where I work, great homes are scarce and I would have no problem working with a FSBO since I have buyers who are desperately looking for great homes and there aren't enough on the market.

I do think it would help if you offered a slightly higher commission rate to agents bringing buyers because, as previously mentioned, we usually have to prepare all of the paperwork and answer questions from both parties.   However, in many cases, you could use a title company attorney to help you for a small fee and that would not be an issue.

Hope that helps!  Good luck!
  • February 03 2014
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AS an Agent I am willing to bring a buyer to a FSBO provided that the seller will sign a variation of the listing agreement that says you won't sell to the buyers I bring in without paying me 3% for the buyer agent.

However a lot of things have to happen before I bring them to your house.

1- I have to find a pre qualified, motivated buyer (this is long and involved and takes a LOT of time)
2- This buyer while being pre qualified and motivated somehow isn't satisfied with what is on the market by myself or other agents.
3- The buyer, who is apparently very picky despite being qualified and motivated, needs to be interested in your house.

Why would I take them to homes listed by other agents or myself first?
If I sell them one of my listings I get paid more, and I know everything is going to be done in a way to meet my standards for timing/ professionalism/ accuracy.
If there is a listing agent involved I can reasonably assume things will meet my standards in regards to the proper contracts and addendums being provided, disclosures are turned in on time(ish), and I don't have to hold the hands of anyone other than my clients. 

As a FSBO I will inevitably have to do a lot of the work of a listing agent, but without getting paid for it. You'll inevitably send me last year's adendums for this year's contract or something of that nature. Something won't get disclosed right away and come up during inspections that can cancel the deal wasting time (and therefore money).


One of the things most FSBOs don't understand is that buyer's don't grow on trees, and selling a specific home requires more than an MLS listing and some advertising online.
If you were to hire me to sell your home one of the things I would do is contact the over 300 agents in my branch, plus the dozens of other agents I know of in other companies to see if they have a buyer to bring in.
I would then contact other potential buyers (past clients, people who have recently received new jobs/promotions/new kids/gotten married, even going door to door and talking about your home). These are the ways we can get your home sold quickly.

I can't market your house like this if I am not the listing agent. So, see the 3 criteria above for bringing someone to you.
There is just no reason for me to make bringing a buyer to just a specific FSBO a top priority.

 Bringing a buyer to a FSBO is something I will do so i don't lose the buyer, but it is never going to be at the top of my list. 
  • February 03 2014
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The trouble with FSBO is an assumption that agents do not earn their keep, that we just show up and collect fat pay checks.  

The buyers I meet are in response to advertising I have done for another client.  I will do roughly 200 individual steps to help these buyers buy a home whether one of my listings or another's.

We earn our 3 or 4% from the buyer.   Now, because inevitably I would have to guide the owner through his side of the process because, by law, I have to make sure all is done correctly, you would have me do work for free!  Do you not feel our time is worth anything?   Do you not feel our knowledge is worth anything? 

Your FSBO sign really spells HELP!  So pay the agents 6% and they will help you.   BETTER YET, list with an agent
  • February 03 2014
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I have no idea, b, but they're not going to be able to bring a buyer unless they are either working with one already, or they market the listing on your behalf.

All the best,
  • February 02 2014
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Profile picture for Outer Banks N C
You say you are listed on the MLS, if this is true the agents you are talking with are acting strange since your listing is on the MLS and there is the offered commission for them to see. They would not go to another listing and be talking about listing that house with them, so why are they saying it to you? I don't get that, if it is listed on the MLS as you say. Doing that is a violation of the rules since it is already listed, even though you might have paid a flat fee to get it listed. There are some Realtors that do not like flat fee listings because it will add some extra work for the buyers agent, but seriously it won't be that much more work as long as you do your part and can be easily reached when issues pop up - and they will! Agents tend to be listing or selling agents and many of the more aggressive ones go for the listings. Once listed they wait for the other thousands of agents to sell it for them while they concentrate on more listings. You must be meeting these agents.
  • February 02 2014
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Very confused and frustrated with realtors right now.

Not to worry, I am every day.......
  • February 02 2014
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Thanks for posting your question on Zillow.com

Well, I do not like working with FSBOs as a buyer's agent because to be frank, you guys are not trained so you do not understand the process.  This means I have to do double work & explain things to you & do all the paperwork.  

Regarding commission, it would depend on the price of your home as to whether or not you are offering market value.  Maybe offer OVER market value commission?

Finally, I do think it takes away from out industry.  You are effectively keeping an agent from being able to do their job.  TOTALLY your right of course but would you like it if someone did that in your employment field?

Every agent is different so, I am sure you will get it sold.

Good luck!
  • February 02 2014
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