My FSBO Marketing Plan...please critique

weedyacresApril 10, 2012

Here's what I've got laid out so far, for our house, which will be ready to go on the market 4/28. Your input/feedback is welcome.

1. Take professional photos (have a friend with a good camera and good eye)

2. Create great website ($10 to buy address domain for a year on, free website creation on

3. Buy professional sign ($86 for sign, stake, and brochure box from

4. Buy listing on (still researching options, cost ~$200). There's no flat-fee MLS option in my area.

5. Have home appraised *for selling price purposes*. Will contact appraiser who did our refi appraisal 3 years ago, ask for discount because they won't have to remeasure everything, just do market/comp analysis.

6. Create great brochure, leave B&W copies in outside box, color copies inside.

7. List on CL, with pics and link to website

8. List on Zillow, with pics and link to website

9. List on other free sites (any suggestions?)

  1. Create Constant Contact email and send to all area realtors on 4/29 (got 700+ email addresses off association website-took ~3 hours of typing), linking to website, offering 3% commission, and inviting to broker's open.

  2. Host brokers' open on Friday 5/4, 11-1, with lunch served.

BTW, for realtor access purposes, we're thinking of putting a keypad entry lock on the front door and changing the combination daily (or per showing). I work out of town during the week, so will ask a retired friend who lives nearby if she'll go to house in advance of showings, turn on lights and make sure everything's in place.

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Sophie Wheeler

Since so much depends on #1, make sure this friend actually owns a tripod and a wide angle lens, as well as some supplemental indirect lighting. If she doesn't, then hire a pro who does. Make sure the exterior shots are taken on a cloudy day, so they aren't so contrasty, or that the photographer has a pro editing program like Lightroom to be able to burn and dodge the pics in so the details in the shadows aren't lost and the bright areas don't seem over exposed.

Remember the feedback that you got from the Decorating Forum as to how cold your home appears! Take that to heart for the photo shoot! You can use and reuse staging props in several of the room's shots, such as fresh flowers and pillows and throws, etc. They don't need to be there for the actual in home viewing, but a subtle bit of them in every shot (make sure they aren't obviously the same looking!) can make a photo seem "homey" vs. cold. You can even purchase a bunch of pillows and throws and vases etc, to use just for the one day shoot and then return them when the photography session is over.

Great pictures are the foundation of all else that follows.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:23PM
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As a buyer, I like Redfin; may not be in your area or free. Most FSBO's around here (Chicago) use -- I don't know about their pricing.
Never thought of looking on Craigslist!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:53PM
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B&W flyers look tacky and cheap, IMHO. Unless there are absolutely no photos in them.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:09PM
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For your Craigslist ad I suggest using Postlets. You can create a professional looking e-flyer to post on Craigslist, and it also is distributed to multiple other real estate websites.

I didn't know that you could place your listing on without using an agent. I thought that only agents who belong to NAR could do that.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 1:15PM
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If you are priced aggresively and some of the comps are price a tad might consider a sign rider that has the asking price.

If you change prices later, remove it or get a new one. Hopefully you sell quick and no price change.

If priced well, folks that drive by might tell others that there is a good deal nearby and maybe send buyers to take a look.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 3:51PM
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I don't know anything about weebly, but be careful with free hosting sites. A lot of them put tacky ads on the website you create, which I think might look unprofessional. You should be able to get ad-free web hosting for less than 10 bucks a month, which seems like a drop in the bucket for a house sale, and might be worth it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Thanks for the feedback thus far.

Holly: great idea to "borrow" pillows and throws for the photo shoot.

Turtle: Redfin's not here (we're a smaller city).

Terriks: The sites that will put me on are realtors themselves. Not sure of the mechanism by which they feed listings to They also generally cover zillow and trulia. So far is the cheapest ($99).

Northlut: Weebly doesn't do ads. My brothers, who run a conglomerate of websites, recommended it.

I called my target appraiser today and she strongly steered me towards talking with a realtor to get a free market analysis. I said I felt guilty doing that since I was going FSBO, and thus would be leading them on, plus the market analyses I've seen from realtors leave much to be desired in their lack of rigor. I couldn't convince her to just do the number-crunching on the comps for a reduced price, and said it would cost about the same as a full appraisal ($350). She REALLY tried to talk me out of buying her services...seemed a bit odd.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Since the appraiser doesnt want your business, find another appraiser. Last thing you want to do is hire someone that doesn't want the job. Probably not a good end result for that.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 9:09PM
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If you are changing the lock box code every day, how are agents going to know the code?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:54AM
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We'll tell them the code when they call to make the appointment.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 5:52AM
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Are you worried that agents are going to keep the code and come back to the home and gain entry another day and steal things? Is this why you want to change the code each day?

Or is it individual buyers without agents that you are worried about? Will they get the code and come alone for showings? Because you will be gone on weekedays, who shows the home to unrepresented buyers on weekdays?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:30AM
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I don't think agents will steal things. It's more to make sure they check in and we know each time they're going back. That way we can follow up with them for feedback.

If an unrepresented buyer wants a showing, we'll make sure that either my friend or one of us accompanies them. I won't be giving out the code to random lookers to wander at will!

Just realized I've got another to-do: find a RE attorney to handle the paperwork.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Somewhere in that plan should be these.

FIX anything that squeaks, leaks, or wobbles. Even take the time to adjust the door hinges and catches so everything closes nicely.

CLEAN the place as if General Patton were doing a white-glove inspection. That includes under the sinks.

REMOVE all clutter from yard and get rid of any dead stuff in the landscaping.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 4:51PM
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If you design your website so that it also has a mobile version you could add a QR code to your flyer AND sign, linking to your website. It would be especially good on the sign, because buyers would be able to find your website even if the flyers were all gone. Also, of course just put the web address on the sign and flyers, along with the MLS#

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 6:35PM
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lazygardens: good point. We've been doing the fixing and cleaning since January: wiping down walls, cleaning HVAC vent covers, touching up caulk and paint, cleaning the lint out from behind the dryer, and on and on, along with some staging. We just overhauled the landscaping beds weekend before last and mulched it all. All that's left is the garage.

terriks: love the QR code idea. I already ordered the sign, but I could glue it to the front of the flyer box in case they're empty.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 9:44PM
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You might also want to laminate one of your flyers and attach it to the sign.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:22PM
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"In case the flyers are empty"...hopefully you stick 40-50 flyers in the box at a time so they never go empty.

No reason to stick 8-10 or fewer at a time to evaluate how fast they are taken or to prevent someone from taking the stack.

I used to do 40-50 at a time and you can count them daily if you want to evaluate how fast they move. I would have approx 5 per day taken no matter how many I put in the box. Nobody took big stacks at once.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:18AM
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We sold FSBO before. A couple weeks into selling, the flyers were gone one or two hours after we refilled with new stack but no one called.

Finally one day I saw a woman took the entire stack of flyers out of the box. Later we learned that she was a realtor in the neighborhood who was also selling her house.

We waited her to show up again, we walked toward the box with new flyers in hand. It was the last time our flyers 'disappeared'. We sold our house fairly quickly while hers was still on the market. It was a good feeling.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:35PM
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I sold a house a couple months ago FSBO. Did most of what the original poster listed. The two main free classified sites I posted on were and . The Road Code was good because their sign for my house was a lot better than a QR code...could be written or remembered. Got some good leads from it. However, we eventually sold by word of mouth to a family friend. Never underestimate word of mouth.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2013 at 6:03PM
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Just wondering how your FSBO went, weedyacres??

We are listing as soon as we get some things finished and plan to take advice listed here!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:20PM
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We had lower-than-expected showings, so we went through an extremely thorough realtor-vetting process and listed it with one in November. I think we did a better job on the presentation (photos, website, etc.) but they've got the MLS access and can work the realtor side to an degree that we can't. Haven't sold yet (you can look for my other threads if you are interested in the gory details), but I'm happy with our agent team so far.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:06PM
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