Everyone says they want more listings. 

But the fact is a lot of real estate agents don’t want to do the work necessary to list more homes. It’s documented and proven. 

Instead of trying to list 10 different lead sources (which we all know leads to overwhelm), I’ve got a singular strategy you can start doing today. It’s a strategy that will help you get in front of more sellers—and get more listings. 

The FSBO preview

We know for sale by owners are out there. And it’s been a little tough listing these properties over the past couple of years. Because not so long ago, the market was so frothy and hot that they would just sell. (But they still probably left money on the table.) 

Now that the market has changed, agents are finding success in going back to strategies from five or ten years ago to get listings. 

One thing that works for me is the preview appointment—getting in front of sellers without trying to list the home. 

Setting a preview appointment is very different from trying to set a listing appointment

To be clear, if you can get a listing appointment, take the listing appointment. Don’t stop doing that. This tactic is for sellers who are harder to sell on working with an agent. 

There’s a data point here you really want to keep in mind: Right now, and historically, 72% of for-sale-by-owners will list with an agent in 61 days or less

This means there’s an eight-week follow-up period that will allow you to get in front of these folks—if you’re ready to do the work. 

How to get FSBO preview appointments

The biggest mistake folks make is they start going right into appointment setting instead of asking the homeowner about their property. 

Instead, ask them— 

  • “Is the price right?”
  • “Tell me about the bedrooms.”
  • “Have you done any renovations?”
  • “What’s the yard like?”  

Most of the time, they’re going to pick up the phone because they’re trying to sell their property. Get them talking about what they want. Remember, they’re trying to sell their home on their own. They raised their hand and said, “Hey, I’m trying to sell.” 

Another question you want to ask on this call is, “Hey, are you cooperating with agents?” Some people may not know what that means. What it means is, “Are you going to pay a buyer agent a fee if they bring a client who ends up buying the property?

If the answer is “Yes,” that’s tremendous news! Because it means they’re halfway there. They’re halfway to agreeing to a listing contract. So, it’s an easier sell than “No, we hate Realtors. We’re not paying Realtor fees.” That may be a little tougher. 

The point is if they say they’re cooperating with agents, you’ve got them 50% of the way to a yes. With that in mind, the preview appointment is as simple as “Hey, I’d love to stop by, take a look at the home, and see if it’ll be a fit for any buyers that I’m working with.” 

You may get the objection of “Well, just send the buyers over, anyway.” Here’s how you can respond to that: 

Hey, Mr./Mrs./Ms. Seller, I don’t want to waste your time. I want to make sure this is a legitimate showing. I can be in and out of there in 5-10 minutes. This is going to allow me to inform all the buyers I’m working with of your home and let them know what it looks like. And that way, we can bring in legitimate buyers, not just have somebody show up. You want legitimate buyers, right?

They’ll invariably say, “Yes.” 

How to nail the FSBO preview

Show up to the preview as you would for a listing appointment, dressed professionally and with local market data in hand. Treat this just as seriously as you would any listing appointment. 

Secondly, I would bring some sort of brag piece—maybe your listing appointment, without the comparable sales data, what you do to market listings, your resume, reviews—all the social proof you leave with folks. Most agents don’t do that. 

In addition to the leave-behind piece, the next thing you want to do is to get there on time

Show up, knock on the door, smile, and bring your own energy. You want to be ready to give the listing appointment if they ask you. So, do your research. Know your comps. Understand what homes are selling for in the marketplace. 

And when you get there, start with “Hey, [Name], thanks so much for having me over. I’m excited to take a look at the property. I’d love to walk through on my own if that’s okay with you, so I can see it the same way that a buyer would. And I’ll come down and meet you here in the kitchen. Is that okay?” 

That will work for some people, at least. It may not work for everybody. You may want the seller to guide you through the appointment. So, compliment the house when you’re walking through. 

  • “Hey, this room’s got a great flow!”
  • “There’s amazing natural light here!”
  • “The hardwood floors look great!”
  • “Nice kitchen renovation!”

Make sure they feel good about what they’re selling. This is Sales 101 and will translate to a listing appointment. 

When you get done, there are two questions in particular that are going to be very effective:

#1: “Hey, [Name], you’ve got a great home here. I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t sold yet. And I know you’re moving to X, because you already pre-qualified…So, how much time do you think you’ll take on your own before you consider talking to an agent about potentially helping you?” 

You’re not saying, “Are you going to list?” You’re not going right to the close. It’s a discovery conversation.

The next question is… 

#2: “What do you think would have to happen for you to think about hiring somebody to assist you with the home sale process?

Again, it’s a discovery question. You want to take all the pressure out of it. If you watch the video, you’ll notice I lowered my voice. I didn’t put any pressure in there. That’s really critical.

Those are the two questions you want to ask at the for-sale-by-owner preview. It will give you the time frame to follow up and an idea of where their head’s at. That will help you take the next 60-plus days to get them to list. 

That’s the goal here. The sooner you get out and meet them face-to-face, the better the chance you have of listing that home. 

The preview appointment is simply meeting a potential seller in their home. Then your job is to follow up and close for a listing appointment. 

So, no pressure. Meet them. Walk around the property. Get an idea of what their time frame looks like with those two questions. And then follow up like your life depends on it to be the one they consider when they think about listing.