First and foremost, when working with home sellers as a real estate agent, is to give a good presentation, show on time, add value to the process and, yes, dress well. But also pretty important to turning a lead into a client is delivering the right target price. However, many agents forget or may not realize that pricing is rarely the problem. So, what is it really? The seller’s motivation.
In some cases, price is not an issue for the seller at all. They may be in a situation where they will forego a few thousand dollars or more because they’ve already located their next dream home and want to avoid making two mortgage payments. Or, maybe they found a new job in another area and need to make a move pretty quickly.
But more often than not, a seller is primed to price their home from a pretty comfortable spot. It’s not necessarily a bad thing (hey, a higher price means a higher commission, right?!), but presenting a price that your prospective client will agree to could pose a bit of a challenge.
So, what to do? Delay, delay, delay!
Well, first, it’s important to identify the seller’s motivation from the get-go. Before you even get to the topic of pricing, make sure you ask all the right questions to hone in on why they are selling their home. It’s likely that that seller is going to look to you, as the resident real estate expert, of course, in this relationship for what the price should be. Even if you’ve toured the home already and have a good number in mind, build a good rapport with the seller first to get to the heart of the sale.
Picture this scenario: The seller invites you to see the home. Instead of jumping right in, set the pace a bit. Ask where you can set your stuff down. Be sure to accept water or coffee so that you can actually sit down and talk without the distraction and fast pace of the home tour and inevitable conversation about price. Confirm how much time you have so that you can deliberately extend your time with them and have that conversation to uncover their motivations to sell.
So, when do you talk about numbers? Some real estate pros suggest the second time around. Really, you want to establish a solid foundation for your relationship and build trust with the potential client.
Now, we’re getting to the meat of the discussion: the seller’s motivation! Here are some questions to ask:
- Have you definitely decided to move? Why?
- What would happen if it didn’t sell? Sell or stay?
Great, you now have the motivation down. So what if the seller has either no solid motivation or has a low level of motivation? Respectfully decline the listing. It’s not worth your time or event that of the other clients you have whom you have committed your time and have a more reasonable perspective on the market. This can be a hard conversation to have (no one likes letting go of a prospect) but no lead is better than a non-quality lead. Here are important points to include in your conversation:
- Selling right now is not critical for the seller.
- Market age will settle in with too high a price, which will ruin the house’s reputation in the market.
- Even if they insist the too-high price, continue to decline, siting your commitment to other clients.
- Soften your rejection by offering to be there once they are ready to price to market.
In some ways, such a conversation not only helps you qualify your leads better but will also educate home sellers about how the real estate market really works!