So you did your homework. Good for you. You research the seller’s legal ownership and found out the names of the sellers of record. It’s Mr. and Mrs. Jones, holding title jointly as Community Property. They contacted you from your real estate landing page and you got your foot in the door by scheduling a listing appointment.
When you get to the listing appointment prepared with your listing presentation and your ToolKitCMA report, only Mrs. Jones is home. She says, “My husband couldn’t be here to meet you today. Why don’t you just give me your presentation, and I’ll share it with him when he gets home. Then, we’ll call you if we want to list our house with you.”
Oh no, not so fast… You need all legal owners to hear your presentation and, most importantly, SIGN your listing agreement. You can already see this is not going to turn out well. You’ve been down this road before. One looky-loo spouse gets the listing presentation. You give hours of your time and energy. Then she says, “I can’t sign it until my husband approves. I’ll run it by him later when he gets home.” And then she NEVER calls you back. Obviously, she was not serious about selling her house and you wasted your time with your listing appointment.
How do you overcome this objection of the “missing spouse” at the listing appointment? The first strategy is to prevent this situation from happening by planning well in the beginning.
- Research the title before going to the listing appointment. You just may be surprised who is listed on title. It may have additional people, or may be in a family trust. Once, the property had been foreclosed upon and the sellers didn’t even know it!
- Verify per the MLS that the property is not already listed with another agent. Yes, glitch this does happen sometimes, for various reasons.
- Prepare the sellers BEFORE the listing appointment by confirming that each legal owner will be at the listing appointment. That’s what should have happened in the scenario above to prevent the misunderstanding.
Next, determine how you will proceed once you arrive at the listing appointment to find out that one of the sellers is missing. You can:
- Reschedule the appointment. You may say, “Mrs. Jones, I’m so sorry that your husband had to miss our appointment. Our information is so important that I need to share it with you both at the same time. I can come back on Friday afternoon. Will you both be available at 2 pm?”
- Give a brief presentation and then set up a time for a full presentation with both spouses. “Mrs. Jones, why don’t you give me a tour of the house, and then I’ll come back and show both of you my presentation at the same time.”
- Go forward with the full presentation, with the condition that you come back later and meet with both of them again. “Mrs. Jones, I don’t normally do this, but I’ll go ahead and give you our full presentation. You can sign the listing presentation today and we can get started marketing the house. The only thing I ask is that you allow me to come back and speak to you both in person.” You need to make sure both spouses are in agreement with selling the house, and the details. There’s nothing worse than an obstinate seller who refuses to sign at the closing table. And you don’t want to be stuck in that situation.
Whichever solution you select, be sure to explain to the sellers why it’s important. This is a serious legal decision and you need both business partners available.
Lastly, learn from experience. Practice your answers. Rehearse resolutions to overcoming objections. In this real estate sales industry, we encounter objections out in the field. By being prepared, you can be ready to win that listing.