LESSON 2 - Don’t Chase Every FSBO

To our knowledge, we are the only FSBO training organization that has a measurable way to determine if a property is worth pursuing or if you should pass on the lead. Let’s investigate how you can identify the seller that will list sooner than later. By understanding this you will list more properties faster.

A SCORING SYSTEM : To Avoid Chasing Every FSBO

Imagine you were able to keep a score if a FOR SALE BY OWNER was a high or low probability of listing their property. This will save you a tremendous amount of time and help you list more, faster.

In the Olympics every gymnast starts out with a score of a 10 and gets deducted points based on their performance. This is not a perfect analogy but please go with me on that thought.

The same is true of any seller. Imagine every FSBO property starts with a score of 10. When you discover something positive about the seller situation add one point. For example, if the house is vacant add a point and now their score is 11. If the house was an expired listing, the score is now 12. (This is also true of buyers. They all start out as a 10 but many are easily eliminated based on their lack of commitment or motivations.)

Why are vacant listings easier to list? The seller has to drive over to the property to show it. This inconvenience causes them to invest time and become disappointed when showing after showing produces no sale.

Why are expired listings easier to list? Historically, over 80% of FSBOs that were once an expired listing will re-list with an agent.

These are just two examples of “high probability listings.”


You ideally interact with people that HAVE TO SELL vs those that WANT TO SELL. Watch for signs like vacant properties, or expired listings, or a divorce, or they inherited the property, or they are relocating out of state. The questions you will ask will reveal when they are in a “have to” situation.


Not every listing is ready for you to list them. Some are simply not ready for a month or two and some are ready on day 2.

Prior to reaching out to the seller you can create a score to determine if this is a SUPER HOT lead or just a possible opportunity. Remember every FSBO starts with a score of 10.

For each YES, add a point.

  1. Seller lives out of state. (view their MLS Realist tax record)
  2. Property is vacant.
  3. Seller said it is an investment.
  4. Seller said they already purchased another property.
  5. Seller said they are moving to a retirement home.
  6. Seller said “we will probably just stick it in the MLS for that $199.00 fee.”
    Yes, some agents will list any property for a small flat fee. You have to demonstrate more value. Remember every listing opportunity is like an audition or interview for a job.
    Have you thoroughly practiced your interview 25 times? I am serious about practicing it again and again and again. That is what your kids do just to qualify to get in the Olympics. That is what great orators do. Practice for the opportunity.
  7. Seller said they have been called by 25 or 50 agents or so but not by purchasers.
  8. Seller said, “Yes, there is some wiggle room in their asking price.”
  9. Seller said they recently inherited the property.
  10. Seller said we already had several offers, but they were not what we wanted.
  11. Seller said, “we just want to try it for a while.”
  12. Seller said they are listing with their friend / agent tomorrow (This does not mean you should give up on it. Ask key questions that show you are the best agent qualified to oversee this sale.)
  13. Seller said they are in the process or recently divorced.
  14. Seller is building a home (it depends if they will double move or completion date.)
  15. Seller said “we are not ready to list it with an agent” (key word was “ready.”)
  16. Seller said “we want to try selling it by owner for a while.”
  17. Seller said, “I am selling it for my dad/mom because ….”
  18. Seller said YES, they will pay a BUYER AGENT fee of ____________________.
  19. From the data you pulled you see they were an EXPIRED listing in the last 2 years.
  20. From the Zillow page you can see their DAYS ON MARKET is over 10.
  21. From the tax record you can see the property was recently QUIT CLAIMED.
  22. Seller provided you with their email address.

By now you could have a FSBO rating far above 10. Over time you will see the higher the rating will correlate to higher probability of listing with you. Here are possible situations that indicate you should just skip this FSBO for now.

Subtract 3 points for every answer in this category.

  1. Property is tenant occupied (seller is cash flowing)
  2. Seller indicated on the call they will just re-rent it
  3. Seller said, “We are in no hurry, we don’t have to sell.”
  4. Seller said, “We don’t know where we would move.”
  5. Seller said they are working on an offer right now.
  6. Seller gave you the code but won’t meet you there.


I have been involved in listing over 1,000 For Sale By Owners. From the beginning we had a formula to “rate the probability if the FSBO would list soon, or at all.” First, you can determine “their rating” by looking at the property tax record (vacant, expired, out of state owner) and secondly, by the answers they provide you. As you will see, the higher the score, the higher the possibility they will list the property.

But you have to compete with other agents and offer the program that fits the seller’s needs and solves their problem.

Remember, do not try to solve their problem until you know their problem. Too many salespeople try to “be the answer” the client is looking for before the client admits or recognizes their problem.

Lesson Quiz

  • Do you add 3 points, 4 points or 1 point when you learn something positive about the seller?

    1 Point

  • Is it a positive or negative if the property was an expired listing?


  • Is it better to work with “want to sell or have to sell” leads?

    Have to!