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For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips


For sale by owner negotiating tips you can use when that buyer surprises you at any time. Everything that I suggest about how to sell for sale by owner, including those unexpected buyers arriving on your doorstep, has a reason.


I suggested that you always put the price of your house on your sign when selling your house yourself.


We are about to cover one of the main reasons why.

for sale by owner negotiating tips

Ask yourself this question:


Do I really want people ringing my doorbell looking for to buy a property for $175,000 when you are asking $295,000?


Of course not. What is the value here? At least with the price posted on your sign, you eliminate being bothered by those that not only won't buy your house, but can't.


Having said this, as a for sale by owner, you do have to be prepared for the people that drive by, like the looks of your property, see that the house is in their price range, and arrive at your door. This is where some of the following for sale by owner negotiating tips and techniques will come in handy.



For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips

When the Doorbell Rings


OK, the doorbell just rang and a couple are standing on your front step waiting for you to appear.


Take a deep breath, put your best smile on, open the door and greet them with a friendly, "good morning" or whatever is appropriate.


There are various ways to use these for sale by owner negotiating tips when a face to face encounter happens.




For more help about e-mail or phone inquiries, please select one of the photo links below.



Here are a few examples:

  • Hi, We were just driving by and saw your house was for sale by owner. Is there any chance we could take a quick look inside? (the spur of the moment buyer)

  • Hi, How many bedrooms does your house have? (the right to the asking questions about house buyer)

  • Hi, We see your house is for sale by owner, but we are working with so-and-so from such and such real estate company. (the "I really like the looks of this house" buyer)

  • Hi, I am so-and-so from such and such real estate company. (the "I'm looking for a listing" real estate agent)

  • Hi, I see your house is on for $295,000. Are you flexible on the price? (the "It's all about the price" buyer)

  • Hi, Do you have an information sheet on your property? (the "I'd like to know what you have before I go further" buyer, or a real estate agent impersonating a buyer.)

There could be many other opening lines, but that covers most of the type of people that will knock at your door where you can use some of the following for sale by owner negotiating tips and techniques.


Let's examine how I might want to handle each one to help me sell my house.


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips


Spur of the Moment Face to Face House Selling


The good news is these are probably people that are seriously looking for to move in the quite near future. Do you just say; "Come on in and look around?" As a for sale by owner, it depends on you.


If you are totally unprepared, the beds aren't made, there is laundry piled up in the laundry room, the dog just got sick on the kitchen floor and your youngest is having a screaming tantrum, may I suggest you put this viewing off?


Prospect: Is there any chance we could take a quick look inside?


You: I am so sorry. You arrived at a very bad time. I'm right in the middle of something that just can't wait. Is there any chance you could drop by in about an hour or would there be a better time later today that would be more suitable for you?


Prospect: I'm sorry we just popped in on you like this. We could drop by around 3:00 this afternoon if that is OK?


You: That would be perfect. Thanks for your understanding. By the way, my name is Beth..and you are?


Prospect: I'm Karen and this is my husband Bob.


Let's see what happened here. You were totally unprepared. May I suggest; never show your house when you aren't ready. This doesn't matter whether you are for sale by owner, or listed with a real estate company.


But Doug, they may not come back! Yes, that may happen but if it does, they probably wouldn't be interested anyway so you lose nothing. They most certainly liked what they saw from the outside and know the price so what's stopping them from coming back?




More For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips


When selling for sale by owner, always give the shoppers a choice of times. Don't just say, in an hour. Give them the courtesy of choosing a time that suits them. This has a double benefit. The second benefit is when you give people 2 choices, they are far more likely to choose one rather than keep pushing to look inside now.



Be gracious and genuinely grateful, and you should be, that they chose another time.

Lastly, introduce yourself and ask for their names. You might also write down your phone number for them even though it is on the sign and ask them to call you if they can't make it at 3:00.


Just as a side note, you should always have for sale by owner contracts on hand in case your negotiating skills lead to someone wanting to put in an offer. Where do you find these? If you want the absolute best up-to-date forms for your sale, check out where do I get my for sale by owner contracts from?


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips Techniques

When They Start Right into the Questions


If you read the page of how to sell your house on Handling Phone Inquires, we talked about they that asked the questions, control the conversation. You need to be in control.


Buyer: How many bedrooms does your house have?


You: We have 4 bedrooms. Would 4 bedrooms be suitable to you?


Buyer: 4 would be plenty for us. Is the basement finished?


You: Yes it's totally finished downstairs. Would you like to step in for a moment and I can give you one of our feature sheets that should answer most of your questions.


Buyer: OK.


You: Handing each a feature sheet, "Why don't you have a look through the property and I'll answer any questions you have" By the way, my name is Beth.  


In this case, your most important goal is to STOP the questioning! Why? If they ask enough questions, they WILL find something wrong.


But Doug, they'll find out later anyway. Yes, they will, but it may not be an issue later. Why? Because people buy on emotions. They buy the house that FEELS like home.


As a for sale by owner, you should take control of the conversation by answering a question with a question and get them inside as soon as comfortably possible.


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips

When They Say

"We are Working with a Realtor"


When you are for sale by owner, you don't want to lose these buyers. If they are working with a Realtor, they are probably serious about a purchase. They also must like what they see from the curb. DON'T start out the conversation about how they can save money by buying directly through you as a for sale by owner. Bad mistake.

                A Visitor's Testimony


I am selling my home myself and have used    your site extensively to guide decision making and to answer the many questions that I have.



Buyer: We are working with a real estate agent but would you mind if we took a look inside your house?


You: Not at all, I'm Beth, and you are?


Buyer: I'm Bob and this is my wife Karen.


You: I'm very pleased to meet you, Bob and Karen. Who is your agent?


Buyer: Sid Evans from XYZ real estate.


You: Great, I've heard some nice things about Sid.


You then show the property to the buyers. For more information or a refresher go to: How to Show a House. Every once and awhile you throw in a few questions as follows:


  • Have you looked at many houses with Sid?

  • Have you seen any other for sale by owner properties?

  • Have you found anything you like yet?

  • How did you meet Sid?

  • Do you have a property that you have to sell first before buying?

  • Are you in a signed contract with Sid?

  • If you found the right property, but it was for sale by owner, would you buy directly from the owner, or through your real estate agent?

Did you notice the questions are getting tougher? Tread softly. You don't throw all these questions at them at once. You are trying to establish the depth of the relationship between Sid and the buyers.


Q. How did you meet Sid?


A. Oh, Sid is my brother. There is a good thing to know! Once you find that out it might be best to lay off the Sid questions.


If there doesn't seem to be a tight relationship between the Realtor and the buyer, you can proceed in another direction.


After the buyers tour your house you might ask if they would like another look later that day. Wait to hear what they say. Possible answers are; No, Yes if we could, or We would like to bring our agent through with us. If they say the later, your next call will be from Sid. Later on that one.



For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips

Hi, My Name is Sid from XYZ Real Estate!


If you are selling your house for sale by owner, they will come. In most cases, they are looking for a listing. This one is fairly straight forward.


  • Be polite.


  • Answer their questions.


  • Tell them whether you are or are not willing to co-operate with agents.


  • Thank them for stopping by.


  • If you are ready, you can let them view your house.


For a more in-depth look at handling Realtor's at your door, go to How to Handle Realtor's


Ask if he knows Bob and Karen. (I just added that for fun) The reaction could be well worth the question, though. :-)


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips and Techniques

It's ALL About the Price


Some Important
For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips


Buyer: Are you flexible on your price?


You: If we have an offer in writing, we most certainly would take a serious look at it. Come on inside. Have you been looking for a property to buy for long?


As a for sale by owner, always answer these "silly" questions about the price the same. ALWAYS. "If you put something in writing, we most certainly would take a serious look at it." I cover this in other sections, but it's worth mentioning here one more time. NEVER - NEVER - NEVER negotiate an offer verbally. NEVER. Got it? Good!


What you did here, was answer the buyer's question, tossed in a question of your own to control the conversation, and got on with the important stuff. Showing your house to a potential buyer.


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips

Could I Just have an Information Sheet Please?


Sometimes people will stop by when you are for sale by owner to obtain some information on the property.


This could be a potential buyer or possibly a real estate agent. It could be Sid who was told by Bob and Karen that they just saw a property in Happy Hollow that was for sale by owner and was "Just Perfect". Sid is sweating bullets at that point.


I would most certainly offer a feature sheet on the property, perhaps ask a couple of stock questions and then ask the following:


You: Seeing as you are already here, would you like to take a quick look around?


Buyer: I'd like to take a look at the sheet first, thank-you.


You: No problem. If you want to just take a real quick look, it might save you the time of driving all the way back out here again. Does that make sense to you Bob?


Buyer: Yeah, that makes sense.


A couple of for sale by owner negotiating tips here. If you have a buyer at your door just looking for a feature sheet, there is no harm in asking if they would like to tour the property while there. Bob and Karen aren't going to buy a piece of paper.


Use phrases and questions like these:


  • No problem


  • OK (The police use this one a lot!)


  • Would that help you out?


  • Does that make sense?


  • I most certainly understand where you are coming from.


These are all "soft" and "non-confrontational" questions and statements.


In another section of this web-site, we cover, How to Negotiate


We will also look at How to Read Body Language and some real neat stuff.


Like The Don't Blink Rule



When I was a real estate agent and had my for sale by owner company, these were probably my strongest assets. I also taught the for sale by owners how to use these skills and was one of the main reasons for the 95% success rate of the for sale by owners that used my company.


Sorry, a little off track but sometimes I get excited thinking of how much fun I had in that field.


For Sale by Owner Negotiating Tips and Techniques

In a Nutshell


  • Relax


  • If you are not ready to show the house, don't.


  • Take control of the conversation by asking questions.


  • Always try to arrange an appointment for later or a follow-up appointment.


  • Don't put down a buyer's real estate agent, but do find out as much as possible about their relationship.


  • As a for sale by owner, be nice to the Realtor's, but don't negotiate commission at the door.


  • Never negotiate price or terms verbally.....NEVER


A For Sale by Owner Negotiating

Tip to Remember


"If you put everything down in writing Karen, we'd be happy to take a serious look at your offer".


Have fun and smile. Why not. You are a for sale by owner saving yourself a huge commission fee! :-)


For More Information about Potential Buyers at Your Door


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