You want to make sure you negotiate with serious buyers only and not waste time with those people who don’t have any intention on buying your home, when you sell by owner.

Watch this video below to find out my #1 tip for how to negotiate with serious buyers only! Or read the full transcript just below the video.

In this video, I want to give you a tip. One that real estate agents use to weed out a lot of buyers who are only going end up wasting your time and prevent you from focusing on the goal of selling your house as a FSBO.

picture of an annoyed fsbo home seller

These buyers are the ones who probably don’t have any intention of ACTUALLY buying your home and there is a good chance they might not even qualify.

And you need to weed these types of buyer out when selling your home by owner. So you can negotiate with serious buyers only! In order to do that, lets start at the beginning of the home selling process.

Finding the Ready, Willing and Able Buyer

When you put your home on the market, you have high hopes of selling to the perfect buyer. What you want is to attract what is called a ready, willing and able buyer.

picture of a ready willing and able buyer

That means someone who is READY to buy a house at this point in their lives. Also, they are WILLING to make a serious offer on your home AND are actually ABLE to close on that offer. But by listing your house for sale, you can attract all types of people and not just this ready, willing and able buyer.

picture of a clown home buyer

It’s important to understand that just because a buyer schedules a showing and comes to see your home, that doesn’t mean they are serious. Also, just because a buyer engages in conversations with you or asks questions about your home, that doesn’t mean they are serious either.

This will often times both confuse and frustrate a home seller. Because they think that everyone will love their house and want to live there. And why would someone take time to come see there home or ask questions about their home and not have any intentions of actually buying their home???

Home sellers don’t often think about all the unqualified buyers who are not serious and are just wasting everyones time. Either because they are bored, looking for a deal, kicking tires, just getting a feel for the market and sometimes just being jerks.

gif of unserious home buyer types

As a Realtor, I’m used to this type of behavior and understand its just part of the game. And I can usually spot an unserious buyer from a mile away, based on my experiences of dealing with them.

picture of a man looking through binoculars

Difference Between a Serious Buyer and Unserious Buyer

But the question is, how do you as a for sale by owner home seller, identify a person who is a serious buyer and focus your time and energy on them? Well, it goes back to negotiating. In my video, How to Negotiate When Selling a House By Owner, I break down the negotiation process.

However, the information in this video assumes your have entered into a negotiation with a serious buyer. The whole premise of that video is that you are negotiating the terms of a contract with a buyer.

picture of handshake

And that is the difference between a serious buyer and the unserious buyers, they are negotiating an ACTUAL contract. Often called a purchase and sale contract.

Do This and Identify a Serious Buyer

  You see, unserious buyers can be weeded out by simply steering the conversations towards getting them to ACTUALLY put an offer in on your home.

Thats it. Like most things I recommend in this business, you just need to keep it simple. When buyers start asking you questions like… “Is the price negotiable?” or “What is the lowest offer you are willing to accept?” or they make statements like…. “I’m not sure this house would work for me but maybe for the right price”

picture of silly questions home buyers ask

Then this is when you need to fight off the natural instinct to be snarky or give away any information to them that feeds into these questions. There is only one thing that you need to say and thats this… “Well, Mr or Mrs Buyer, thanks for your interest in my home.

Why don’t you put down a offer on paper and lets see where that takes us.” And if they keep pushing, you simply follow up with… “Mr or Mrs Buyer, I really can’t say until I see your offer on paper.” Thats all you need to say. Keep it short and simple and focus on getting them to make an actual offer.

Because when they are talking to you about terms of a deal without an offer on paper, you don’t have an offer. All you have is talk.

picture of people just talking and not negotiate with serious buyers only

And this is how you identify a buyer who is wasting your time. A buyer who isn’t serious will not put an offer on paper.

gif of not being able to make a deal to sell house

They are just playing around or kicking the tires.

Negotiate with Serious Buyers Only AND Get a Deal You Will Accept

You might be thinking, well I want them to submit an offer that I consider acceptable. Well, you do but who cares at first. The first step is to get them to submit something, anything on paper. This identifies them as someone who is serious about your home and purchasing it. Who cares if their offer is below the price you are willing to accept.

Because you have now identified them as having serious interest in your home and they are willing to make an offer, you can now negotiate with them. One option is to simply submit a counter offer to them. Or talk with them and figure out how to get to yes and get a contract you will accept.

picture saying how to get to yes with a man holding a question mark

You can even leverage their offer and possibly get other buyers off the fence by letting them know you have an offer in on the house.

picture of a man climbing a fence

Then you get multiple offers and your job gets easy. But the trick is to get these buyer to submit an offer, without that you have nothing. They are probably just wasting your time. Now that doesn’t mean before they submit an offer you can’t answer questions they have about your home. After all, you want to get them to realize it would be a good fit for them.

picture of family looking at house

But don’t fall into the trap of giving away to much information about what terms you will accept before getting them to submit their offer. There it is. Thats the best tip I can give you on how to negotiate with serious buyers only. Follow that tip and set yourself up for success!

After all, if you are selling your house by owner with one of my flat fee MLS listing plans then you will be negotiating with home buyers and buyers agents directly. And you want to negotiate the terms in your favor. And not get taken advantage of by them.

Hopefully this will better prepare you for selling your house. But if you still have any questions, drop a comment below.  

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