Developing a FSBO Marketing Plan
If you have a house to sell, then it is time to let people know it. First, determine your budget and recognize that advertising costs money. Next, target your market. Answer the question, "Where do people find homes for sale in my price range?" Don’t waste time, effort and money advertising in a local shopping paper when you are trying to sell an $800,000 home... it's probably not where your buyer is going to be found. SIGNS If you choose to use a sign (optional), it should say that the home is For Sale By Owner and should have a phone number. The sign should also say that the home is shown "by appointment only." There are many reasons for this. Some buyers find a home simply by riding around in the neighborhood where they would like to live. PHOTO FLYERS / INFORMATION SHEETS These are helpful and professional. They can be in a box attached to your yard sign for interested buyers driving in the area, as well as being available inside the home during showings. Providing these can substantially eliminate unnecessary phone calls. Information sheets are inexpensive but useful. They should provide photographs and a thorough description of the home. INTERNET Advertising your home on the Internet in today’s world is pretty key. You may wish to start with a flat-fee MLS service (make sure to read the contract carefully). HomesByOwner.com provides an excellent site to advertise your property. It is easy to navigate and displays the home well through the Twenty Photo Virtual Tour. HomesByOwner.com provides top-tier search engine placement, and automatic daily uploads of all listings to Google Base Classifieds, Oodle.com Real Estate and many other leading real estate websites. HomesByOwner.com provides easy-to-follow instructions and tips for each stage of the selling, and buying process. FOR SALE BY OWNER PUBLICATIONS Many cities around the country have For Sale By Owner magazines and publications where individuals can advertise their property. This is very targeted marketing. The publications are broadly distributed in high-traffic locations such as local grocery, department and discount stores, as well as banks and restaurants. Ads in the publication usually include pictures and allow ample space for the property description. The cost for advertising in these publications is usually substantially less than advertising in the local newspaper for the same period of time. Many of these companies offer other services such as professional signs, fact sheets, Internet listings, blank sales contracts, appraisals, and even closing services. Using the services of such a business will substantially minimize the amount of time you would spend seeking these services on your own. NEWSPAPER Local publications provide another source for advertising. Be careful that you get your moneys worth. If the newspaper offers photographs in the ad, be sure to include them. Provide the basic information and include the price. Many sellers think they will generate more interest if you don’t put a price in your ad... all you generate is more phone calls from people who probably aren't interested once they learn the price. Target your market by including all pertinent information about your home. You do not want people calling who either can not afford your home or want something your home does not have. OPEN HOUSES This type of marketing can be very successful for a builder with a new subdivision but with existing, owner-occupied homes, it is questionable. If a prospect has driven by the home, viewed an Internet ad, or seen the home in a FSBO publication, chances are they would prefer a private tour. They already know the price and the amenities of the home. Now, they want to ask questions and get detailed responses. Also, private showings allow the seller to ask questions of your prospective buyer that you probably would not ask during an Open House. Last but not least, you can lose control in an Open House if too many people show up and start heading in different directions. Obtaining feedback is an important goal of an Open House. It is interesting that throughout the country, Open Houses are viewed differently. In some major Midwest cities, for example, Open Houses are expected if you are going to sell but in similar size cities in the South, having an Open House is the exception rather than the rule. Therefore, you may need to adjust your marketing strategy to local custom. If having an Open House is expected in your market, then by all means do it.