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Are you worried that your prospective seller won't like the truth, and it could cost you the listing? In other words, if they don't like the message, they might "shoot the messenger" -
How do you handle it when you walk into a prospective seller's home and your reaction is something to the effect of...
Whew, this house stinks! I can't breathe! I need fresh air!
This place looks like an annex to the city dump!
Has your bathtub ever been cleaned since you moved in (15 years ago)?
You want how much for this house? You've got to be kidding!
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine... How many cats do you have?
There really is no way to diplomatically handle situations like these, although I find that many sellers will acknowledge the truth without too much resistance when they know their house is not ready for prime-time. (Which is not to say they have any intention of correcting the situation.) Frankly, if these sellers shoot the messenger - i.e. don't list with you because of your candor - who cares? Any listing with extreme "issues" is going to be a tough sell anyway.
The truths I have trouble delivering are the ones that may offend very nice people who are very very proud of their homes and convinced that it is the best on the block. Delivering these messages with tact is important if I don't want the seller to go searching for another agent who doesn't tell them the truth. And more important, I really don't want to offend them because their home is ideal for them and their families. But my job is to help them find a buyer, and I can't lose sight of that.
Once again, it's not what you say, but how you say it, that really matters -
Thetruth: Yikes, this color reminds me of ___________!
Your message: Mr. and Mrs. Seller, this color is perfect with your things, but statistics prove that neutral homes sell more quickly and for more money. Let me give you the name and phone number of a painter who can help you neutralize your home before we put it on the market so buyers can imagine their own things in this home - and that's our objective, right?
The truth: This furniture is way too big for this room.
Your message: Mr. and Mrs. Seller, that furniture will be perfect in your new home, but there's too much of it for this home. Why don't you move some of the pieces (be specific) to storage while your home is for sale so buyers can focus on how their own furniture might fit in this room. And the side benefit is that the room will look much larger to buyers with just one couch instead of two. The larger it looks, the higher the sale price!
The truth: Pictures, pictures, pictures - not an inch of wall or furniture-top to spare.
Your message: Mr. and Mrs. Seller, you have a wonderful family. I'll bet you really enjoy these pictures... why don't you tell me about them. You know, I'm afraid that buyers will want to stop and look at your pictures when they walk through, and that may distract them from making a buying decision. Why don't you pack these photos and put a neutral paint on these walls so prospective buyers can focus on the updates in your home.
Proud homeowners want you to be impressed by their homes. They need you to validate their choices in decorating, storage, landscaping, etc. Yet you can tell them the difficult truth about needed changes without it coming out of your mouth sounding like a personal opinion. These sellers are eager to please and eager to sell, and they will appreciate your communicating with them how buyers are likely to react to their homes. The prospective buyer then becomes the messenger, not you.
Your sellers can't afford to shoot any prospective buyers, so you'll be safe. You'll get the listing. And everyone will live happily ever after.
Copyright 2006-13. Margaret Woda. All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this post is deemed reliable on the date of publication, but it is not guaranteed and it is subject to change without notice.
Margaret Woda, REALTOR & Associate Broker Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., 2191 Defense Hwy., Crofton, MD 21114 Direct: (410) 451-6245 or click on EMAIL
Real Estate and community information for home buyers and sellers, military transferees, and rookie agents in the greater Crofton area, including Bowie, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Odenton, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.