Deb's Lake Conroe Real Estate & Stuff! : FSBO's digging for FREE advice? Get them listed today!

FSBO's digging for FREE advice? Get them listed today!


When a FSBO or potential one begins to ask me for advice...I listen. I access what they are concerned about and then use that to my advantage. I don't give free advice unless I expect it to pay me in the end. After I listen, I ask questions to help them understand one thing.

                                                  They don't understand.

There has been a great deal written on how to convert a FSBO. Home owners will dig and dig and dig to collect all the free advice possible. Do you work for free? Not me. At least not on purpose! The next time a person is digging for a freebie from you, why not try my strategy?

I bombard them with questions. With the right questions you will be earning your value with them as you speak. These questions are meant to be rhetorical and thought provoking to the individual that wants to "save money" by selling their own home.

                                                    Try a few of these:

1. Do you know what the disclosure is and why it is necessary to keep from being vulnerable to lawsuits?

2. Do you understand what a clear title is and how to guarantee there is one?

3. Are you familiar with option periods to avoid unnecessary and deadly "specific performance" issues?

4. Do you plan to move before you close and then what if you don't close?

5. You like the people and you trust them but what if you could be wrong?

6. Who is looking out for your own good?

7. How do you know your house is actually worth what you are selling it for?

8. Could it be worth more?

9. Are you leaving money on the table?

10. Are you familiar with how an inspection is handled and just what you are responsible for?

11. Are you familiar with appraisals and what they mean to you, and to the buyer?

12. What about financing?

13. Will you know if they are really approved and will be funded?

14. Did you know that national statistics tell us that people who sell their homes through professional Realtors make an average of 18% more than if they sold it themselves?

15. Did you realize that I could represent you by selling your home and you will likely walk away with more in your pocket than if you sell it yourself?

Final Question: May I draw up the listing agreement right now so I can get started marketing your home?  

Now of course there are hundreds more questions that you can ask them. Have fun putting your questions together that YOU feel would be important.

Lenn Harley wrote words that made me laugh and dig in my heals. Lenn tells us that; If they (FSBO's) ask where they can get some information about selling their home, I politely suggest that they start with real estate school.

  I love it Lenn!



and Proud of it! Deb




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Comment balloon 61 commentsDeb Brooks • March 28 2008 02:06AM


This is such a great approach. I give out way too much free information.
Posted by Cathy Glass, Realtor - Knoxville, Tennessee (Realty Executives Associates) about 11 years ago
Hi Cathy, it's easy to give too much away. The point is to let them know they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg! Confuse them and come to their rescue. It is the best thing for them. Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Debra, this is awesome!  What a great way to convert FSBO's to listings.
Posted by Mark Organek, On a journey to accomplish one huge goal. (And the United States of America) about 11 years ago
Thanks for the information, as I am about to target fsbo's I think that your questions will come in handy. Any more anyone else can think of? I liked the part about going to real estate school lol---Bart
Posted by Bart Whitmore, Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams- Louisville) about 11 years ago
Debra, this is excellent questions. No I'm not giving away advice either. Learned that lesson a long time ago, when I friend called me, and I told her what to do to get her house sold, she was listed with another agent, she did what I suggested and the house sold, Lesson learned. We are valuable because of what we know, not what we do. Thanks for this.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago
I've been known to give some freebies...   After reading this, I am now armed and can protect meyself!  Thanks Deb!
Posted by Nancy Brenner, Roswell Georgia Real Estate Agent (Referral Associates of Georgia, Inc.) about 11 years ago
Deb - Great post and good information. But of course it always is.  <smiles>
Posted by Marey Hoeppner, Your Success Is Our Goal! about 11 years ago

Debra, great checklist for dealing with FSBO's.

Great Post!

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 11 years ago
You hit the nail on the head Debra, in my experience this is the only way to effectively handle FSBO's and convert them to an active seller.
Posted by Bob Edwards, Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI (Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Thanks Mark, It works for me! I have converted a few! Especially the one's that are listed on Buy Owner's sites.

Bart, just formulate your questions as you're visititng with the person. The conversation will give you tons of opportunities to think of these things.

Thanks Missy, I've done the same darned thing. Then I thought...when do I get paid?

Nancy, freebies are what people are looking for these days. It all comes down to discovering the value of an agent.

Marey, Marey, how are you doing? Thanks for the comment and I will stop in to visit you soon.

Thank you Michael, feel free to add more questions. We need as much ammo as we can get.

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Debra, great "questions" to add to any FSBO presentation. You are simply brilliant!
Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago
Great list of questions.  I will have to try them next time I prospect a FSBO. 
Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 11 years ago

Gary, awe shucks. Going to Bandera? You haven't said anything about it. Thanks.

Chris, thanks. It does really work. It makes them realize there is more to than having a garage sale!

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
wow tough cookie. May work with some, not others.
Posted by Ross Quintana, Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966 (Real E Smarter) about 11 years ago
Deb, I think I'm going to pass on the Bandera meeting based on business right now. I would enjoy meeting everyone though. Lots of great people like yourself around. Perhaps sometime in the future will work for me.
Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago
Great perspective Debra. FSBO's are an interesting breed ~ I like your approach!
Posted by Nancy Kent, RE/MAX Hill & Valley, Western Mass (RE/MAX Hill & Valley) about 11 years ago
Debra ~ These are great questions. And I love Lenn's answer. By my very nature, I am a "helper" so it's difficult for me to not help someone. But you're right - we can't work for free. I would never ask someone to do their trained profession for free. Eating and paying bills are good things!
Posted by Darleen McCullen, Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate about 11 years ago
great questions. i will try it
Posted by Luis Fernandez (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago

I like a post from another agent on the topic of buyer brokers.  You have to be employeed to begin working!



Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 11 years ago
Debra - Great questions.  I have always been at a loss with FSBO's.  I'm going to try those questions and see how it turns out. Thank you.
Posted by Elizabeth Clark, GRI - South West Missouri Real Estate 417.850.2422, Property Manager - Buyers Agent - Listing Agent (Pro 100 INC., REALTORS) about 11 years ago
Hey you got your subsribe button back, Good job. I like the questions hope you do not mind if I use some of them.
Posted by Robert Arnold, Lake Livingston Real Estate (Brooks Prime Properties) about 11 years ago

Ross, I don't want you to think I'm tough! Just smart. Just remember you're asking these questions because it's for your own good.

Gary, I'm sorry to hear that you're not coming! Another time?

Nancy, I think it's wrapped up with a little pride...I can do it better than you can!

Darleen, I understand. Just remember you will never teach them enough to sell their own home in a few meetings. Spend your meetings marketing their property!

Thank you Luis.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Evelyn, I'm not sure what you mean. Explain more?

Elizabeth, take control girl! You've been to school for this stuff. Let them know it. :-)

Robert, You had better use them! Ha.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Go get em'. I just was musing about us being the only profession that is taken for granted by the public.
Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) about 11 years ago
Great ideas..I give out way too much free info, from now on I will be more forceful
Posted by Rob Muller, Cherokee County Real Estate (ReMax Town & Country) about 11 years ago
This is what I love about Active Rain. This information is priceless, Thank you Debra. I too tend to give away too much information. I would to use some of these :)
Posted by Renee Busse, ABR,ePRO Dyer Co. TN Real Estate (Tennessee Realty) about 11 years ago
Very good advice Debra. I recommend everyone bookmark this blog. Great tips to add to your FSBO post cards or letter or when speaking to them in person!
Posted by Christina Williams. REALTOR® TN property search & local insights (First Realty Company) about 11 years ago


I enjoyed the salient remarks, questions, that you pose. I always ask how long do you think it is going to take you to sell on your own? I have had some great replies. 

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) about 11 years ago
They are good questions... frankly my attitude is why work with fsbos...they do not value your services and usually think they know more than you... so I simply look elsewhere. But that said you (all of) do get approached... polite is nice, the questions are good idea and in the end they still figure your services are not worth much. But then there are some agents who don't value their services either...
Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Century 21 Exclusively, Wenatchee, WA) about 11 years ago
That is hilarious.  Yes, you hit the nail on the head. I love asking questions!
Posted by Utah Dave, Homes for Sale - Utah ( Neighborhood Experts) about 11 years ago

I like you plan of attack.  Every angle to market yourself has the potential to bring more business to the table that you wouldn' have otherwise had.  Other real estate agents not wanting to bother with FSBO's mean less competition for you!

 Good post!

Posted by -- Casey Brischle, Spokane Home Loan Mortgage Professional (Columbia Bank) about 11 years ago

Gayle, I had no pre-conceived ideas about Realtors when I got my license...little did I know.

Rob, we don't get paid unless we perform!

Renee, you're welcome. Try works.

Chistina, high praise from a fellow Realtor and friend.

Lorraine and Loretta, that is a great question!

Perrin, I have made a lot of money selling fsbo's houses! I find that a good reason!

Thank you Dave. Asking questions is the key to true clear communication.

You're right Casey, I have fsbo's that call me for everything now...and they send me referrals.

 Thank you all for the input!

Later in the rain~Deb


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

 I love your approach Deb, especially "How do you know your house is actually worth what you are selling it for?"...

 From a consumer's point of view, most of us don't really know what's going on in real time in our neighborhood.

Posted by marti garaughty, a highly caffeinated creative type... ( about 11 years ago

Those are some thought provoking questions for anyone considering selling a property without an agent.  Sometimes the do it youself method is not the best way to save or make money.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) about 11 years ago

Thank you Marti! I sold a home of 13 years once with a 1% Realty in Dallas. I was too cheap to pay their fees. It was a nightmare. If I had a good Realtor to explain all the aspects of the sale to me I would have walked away with much more! I learn everything the hard way. :-)

You know I think you're right Norma! I really don't usually pull those out of my pocket at listing appointments and I wonder why? hum.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Great post Debra. 

I sell FSBOs and have trained many agents to sell them, with great care. 

But, I draw the line at helping FSBO sellers.  I don't want their listing and unless there is a good chance that they'll want to list and I can refer it to one of the agents in my network, I really don't give them the time of day. 

If they are upside down, they may be a short sale listing, if that's what they called about.  Otherwise, I simply



Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Lenn, I don't blame you. They don't seem to have the type of respect I prefer. I can tell you one thing though...if I do take the time with them...they will by mine!

I try to respect their decision if they choose to go it alone but I get testy. Thanks Lenn.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Great advice. Great way to convert FSBO's
Posted by Tammy & Terry Coleman (Coldwell Banker Snow & Wall) about 11 years ago
Tammy, I want to convert as many as possible for the good of the seller. They are taking such a chance. Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Good way of thinking, asking them the questions instead of the other way around.
Posted by Ryan Vivo, NRBA Realtor Solano County, Gateway Realty 707-384-5894 (Gateway Realty) about 11 years ago
Thank you for sharing, I have book-marked this post, it will be of great use to me.  Thanks again.
Posted by Ruth Rivera, Central Florida Real Estate (Zip Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Ryan, it is good because it opens an entire new Pandora's box for them. Things they have never thought of. It scares them as well it should.


Ruth, I'm so glad this will help! I like Lenn's take on it but I have to convert fsbo's for the sheer sake of making a living!

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Great information, thanks for the list of questions  I am sure they will come in handy
Posted by Michael Eisenberg, Bellingham Real Estate Guy (eXp Realty) about 11 years ago
Thanks Michael, there are hundreds you can come up with. Timing is everything. Listen to their concerns and then assimilate your targeted questions. Good luck. Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
These are great questions to ask the FSBO.  I always offer free information for them and am starting to learn this is not the best approach because they either don't list or choose someone else.  Thanks for the advice Debra!
Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) about 11 years ago

I personally don't like working with FSBO's. It just seems like you have to return to the scene too often to get the listing. Normally on any other listing appointment it's a one-shot deal for me - knock on the door, smile, break the ice, take them to the safe island (sound familiar?), see the property, walk out with the listing.

However, formulating questions at just the right time for a seller considering selling on their own - well, now that's not only common sense, but it does depend  lot on timing.

It's good to not get rattled in a listing appointment - keeping a level head and asking the right question at the right time is key.

Practice is as well. I love the idea of role-playing so you have the words practiced so you don't stumble on them. Hey, in front of a mirror works well if you don't like playing with your peers...

Good post. Thanks!

Posted by Gina Kay Landis (Home Experts Realty) about 11 years ago
Gina, I depend mostly on my "gut instinct" instead of role playing. That is for the novice that needs practice. I'm as cocky are you are dear. I will sell it if it can be sold and no listing leaves me without a darned good reason...know what I mean? Yes, you do. Keeping a level head is okay but I believe in being one step ahead of my seller...and the timing is brought into play by my experience and professionalism beyond the norm. You see, I am giving good advice to the novice. If you don't consider yourself as a novice and you walk out with it every time like I do,,, you should write your own list. Thanks for the input. Later in the rain~DEB
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Goodness, "cocky"? I said your post was a good one and don't consider "cocky" necessarily a positive trait or comment, not sure where that came from. Yes, I do get listings and sell them if they are sellable; that is probably a result of my training and how I have been able to assimilate it into my other knowledge. It's just fact and I don't know why it came across as boasting or "cocky." FOR ME, the key to getting the listing is keeping a level head, and I guess I left out "intuiting" the client's desires, and knowing what to say and when that has helped with my business.

Hmm, a novice? Have been licensed for awhile but not forever - I role play or practice on my own each new training I take advantage of, or training developed by others or myself that I am responsible for when training other agents. Doing so helps me "automate" if you will the things that must be covered so I can then relax and tackle unique questions or respond to issues that arise out of the ordinary.

'nuff said, thanks for  your post.


Posted by Gina Kay Landis (Home Experts Realty) about 11 years ago
Thanks for the great list of questions for FSBO's.  I haven't had many call me but I am sure I will get them in the future.
Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ (Real Estate One) about 11 years ago
Hey you're welcome Russ! You can use these questions for fsbo's that you are pursuing for business too. Sometimes it's not good to wait till they call you. Just call them first! Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Debra, What a great post.  Thanks for the insight,. and the questions.  I've printed them out, and I plan to incorporate them into my plan.  Thanks so much.
Posted by Bob Cumiskey, US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago
You're welcome Bob! I hope they will help you to establish value to the customer. As Realtors, we ARE worth it. Good luck. Later in the rain~Deb
Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
Debra~ That is a really cool list of thought provoking open end type questions. Probably more than enough to shake up a FSBO and make them think twice about what they are doing.
Posted by Doug Fritchie (DOUG FRITCHIE-Silver Legacy Properties,Inc.) about 11 years ago

Hi Doug, those questions should rattle anyone! Each question can create more and more questions and who best to answer them???

Their REALTOR...YOU! Let them know you're watching their backs and maybe they can justify payment! Thanks a bunch!

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
I do think this is an interesting approach and I think asking some important questions can get them thinking, I also think though that giving a freebee here and there is building rapport and positive feelings.  Perhaps a balance between the two?
Posted by Staci Wolff (Prudential First Realty) about 11 years ago

Staci, absolutely a good balance is necessary! I don't mean to sound cocky about this at all. We will never get anywhere by being rude or simply closed mouthed. We must posture ourselves with confidence, humility and self worth. Rapport is the "most" important thing between client and agent. If we don't listen and try to help...then what are we there for?

Thank you for that perspective. You are right! Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago
thanks for this. im guilty of working for free. *tapping my own hand* i need to stop that,lol i will use this though. i have tons of questions like this that i usually answer for people. i have a friend who is fsbo. she doesn't listen though. she just tells me that *she's keeping hope alive* lol i told her she was going to need more than hope, especially since her home is not worth what she owes on it. i told her that her comps were terrible and she should wait to sell...that was about 5 months ago and she's still hanging on to hope with low bids requests for seller's assist that she can't afford. anywho...i have found that by giving them one negative prediction in regards to buyers, has them calling you for the listing as soon as the prophecy is fullfilled.
Posted by Dee Neal, Atlanta Area Real Estate (Palmer House Properties) about 11 years ago

Dee, I'm wondering how it's going with your fsbo friend. Those are two strange words together, ha-ha. Pull out the crystal ball and start with the prophesies girl! Good luck.

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

I know I am late on commenting on this, but it still applies. Thanks for sharing. Just like others I have been giving away free information. It dawned on me that one FSBO thought that I was smart enough to get suggestions and advice from but not enough to sell his house. Hmmm. No more of that, like you said, I don't work for free!

Posted by Natalia Hals (Keller Williams Premier Realty) over 10 years ago

Great post Deb.  I live in Anderson.  We need to meet and have coffee one day.

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) over 10 years ago

Brenda, we WiLL do that! I'll look forward to it. We are not that far from each other. It should be fun!

Later in the rain~Deb

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 10 years ago