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National surveys and a grass-roots market condition report from HouseHunt shows things picking up in the areas of multiple offers and listings moving quicker. But that’s not true everywhere, and if you’re finding that your clients are still stubborn regarding pricing, it could be time to be more persuasive.
“It’s not always just the seller who is at fault,” said Rich Levin, a real estate coach and teacher based in New York. “It’s not like real estate agents are passive participants in the process. To become more persuasive on pricing, agents need to correct some flaws in their thinking.”
Here are some ways Levin says will help in that regard while not alienating your clients:
Before a listing presentation, learn about the seller’s situation, motivation and urgency. This can be best accomplished with prepared questions over the phone and a thorough initial walk-through of the property.
Prepare your price recommendations better. Drive by the subject property and all the sold, active, pending and expired properties in the region. Make notes, call the pending-sale agents and inspect comparable properties when possible.
Communicate frequently and consistently. If you say you’re going to do something, be sure to follow through. When you’re attentive and up front with the seller, an endearing trust will develop between the two of you.
It’s your choice to take the listing or not. If an agreement is reached, then you can and should offer a pricing recommendation. But allow the seller to make the choice on the initial asking price and adjustments, if necessary. When sellers feel in control of the price, they’ll likely be more comfortable and cooperative.
Sellers are influenced by their confidence in your marketing efforts. If a seller knows and sees that you’re doing everything you can and the property still hasn’t sold, he or she will likely accept your advice and the need for a price adjustment.
Be firm when things are status quo. You can be certain about pricing on listings when your recommendation is the going rate in that neighborhood. This doesn’t mean that the seller will go along with the strategy, however. If that happens, show them the recent history for similar houses sold in the area and let them know that this is the best – if not the only – way to go.
Test the market when things aren’t normal. With unique listings – such as an unusual location or unconventional layout – there is no set standard for pricing. In these cases, the key is to employ a strategy that tests the price by first getting the sellers’ cooperation and agreement on your strategy. This should be based on their motivation and urgency, in addition to the market information you’ve gathered.
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