When Home Repairs Interfere With Your Listing Agreement

Regina Brown | March 18, 2015 | Marketing, Resources for Real Estate Leads & Referrals

By Regina P. Brown

Home RepairsYou just gave a flawless listing presentation to your soon-to-be seller clients who contacted you from your Home Value Leads web site.  These sellers are about to sign the listing agreement on the bottom line.  But then, they pause.  Mr. Jones says, “We need to fix up the house first.  You know, paint the outside, change the carpet, and repair the plumbing leak in the kitchen.  THEN we’ll call you back to list the house for sale.”

Help!  Your great listing presentation is washing down the drain quickly.  You don’t want to see this opportunity slip away.  How do you rescue your listing?

You need some great tactics to clear this hurdle, don’t you.  Here are 3 proven strategies for overcoming this common objection and securing your new listing on the spot.

  1. Convince them not to tackle the repairs before listing the house.  Maybe they really don’t need to do the repairs as they thought.  Ask the right questions.  Get to the bottom by peeling the layers of the onion.  Why do they think they need the repairs?  Are they okay with leaving the house “as is” and simply disclosing the existing condition to new buyers?  What if they could net the same amount of proceeds without doing it?  They need to know that many buyers are looking for fixer-upper properties that they can change cosmetically and customize to their own preferences.  Sellers shouldn’t spend money needlessly if they aren’t going to get the most “bang for their buck”.
  2. Take the listing and keep it off the market for a set time.  To use this strategy, I always come prepared with an MLS Opt-Out form.  Check with your Realtor® Association or brokerage to get their preferred version of this form.  I persuade them by saying, “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it’s wonderful you’re going to complete those repairs and get top dollar for your house.  However, there’s no need to call me back later.  Let’s list it today, and then I promise to keep it off the market until you are ready.  Do you think 2 weeks would be enough time to get the repairs and improvements done?”  Have them sign both your listing agreement and the MLS opt-out form for a temporary time period, for example putting it in the MLS 14 days from today.
  3. Offer to coordinate the work for them when they list with you.  In other words, you will do all the hard work of organizing the contractors’ schedules, giving them access to the house, and supervising that the work is completed.  “Mr. and Mrs. Jones, what if I was to tackle all that work for you, and you didn’t have to lift a finger or worry about any of it?  I would help you hire reliable contractors whom I have used in the past.  I would be able to get the work completed before our first open house, and to coordinate with agent and buyer showings.  How does that sound?”

Of course, the sellers will still pay for the work to be completed, but it’s less of a burden on their shoulders.  You can even screen the repair people and negotiate the bids.  Of course, this is not part of your listing contract, so make it clear to the sellers that you are going “above and beyond” your duty to help them.  With your broker’s approval, you may even be able to charge a consulting fee for helping them.

Now you have 3 tried-and-true techniques to salvage your transaction when the sellers say, “But wait… we need to fix the house first.”  With no objections left and no excuses available, sellers will sign your listing agreement!


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Regina Brown