Answering Objections: Watch Your Mouth!

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

Once many years ago, a real estate agent showed my first ex-husband and I a rental.  As soon as I walked in the door, I knew it was completely wrong.  The good thing was that it was near Kennedy Center, where my ex played in the orchestra.  The bad things?  It was a tiny wee basement unit with no light and no closets. And the place smelled awful.

I immediately said, "Sorry, no way!"  I needed to get out of the place to avoid a claustrophobia attack. 

But wait!  This agent, probably a newbie, felt it his duty to address my objections.

Strong light bulbs?  Don't think so.

Moldy basement smell?  It can only be gotten rid of until the next big rain.

No closets?  I could get rid of some stuff - but not nearly enough.

Itty bitty space? 

OK, you get the idea.

A big part of our job is to figure out when a buyer is raising concerns that could be fixed.  This might include paint colors, kitchen appliances, and other things that can be changed for not a lot of money.  And it might be a good idea to point out the easy fixes.

But another big part of our job is to know when to get them out the door and onto the next house STAT! 

If the location doesn't work the house won't work.  If the room arrangements are all wrong, the house will probably not work without a spending a boatload of money on the place.  If they need a garage and it has street parking and is landlocked, it's better to move on.

And if you are holding an Open House and I bring clients who are reacting with no enthusiasm, please don't start the Overcoming Objections Dance with them!  And I promise that in the future when our roles are reversed, I will return the favor!


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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

I totally agree that we work a lot more efficiently when they hate it and we move them onto the next house!  I feel our role should be to pick up on it when they find "the one" and make it happen!

Thank you for your comments!

Oct 18, 2010 04:00 PM #23
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

I recall a David Knox quote that went something to the effect of: we posses two (2) ears, but one (1) mouth; use them in the appropriate proportion.

Oct 18, 2010 04:11 PM #24
Kaera Mims
Liz Moore & Associates - Fort Monroe, VA
Associate Broker, e-PRO, REALTOR; Hampton, Newport News, York Co.

I always ask my clients for their non-negotiables and also their preferences so I know when to leave and also when to give them solutions to "issues". It really helps me to guide them through the process and get them what they want! 

Oct 18, 2010 04:23 PM #25
Steve Shatsky
Dallas, TX

Hi Pat... it's like that old Kenny Rogers song, The Gambler.  "You gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run."

Oct 18, 2010 04:43 PM #26
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Pat -- Very sage advice.  Steve's previous comment...that song was going through my head as I was reading your post!

Oct 18, 2010 04:50 PM #27
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

If they don't like it, don't feel comfortable, we're on to the next listing! I'm not here to sell buyers a house they don't want; I'm here to help them get the right house to make their next home.

Oct 18, 2010 05:11 PM #28
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Overcoming Objections is great if you are employed by a Builder trying to sell Model Homes in a Subdivision.  

But if you are showing houses, even if you have a Fiduciary to a Seller - if the house is not acceptable, then move on to something that the Buyer wants.

Oct 18, 2010 06:36 PM #29
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Pat - The Gambler ran through my head to as I read this.  You shouldn't have to talk clients into a house.

Oct 18, 2010 06:40 PM #30
Bob Souza (925) 513-3400 & Leilani Souza (916) 408-5500 Souza Realty - Real Estate Broker in Placer County, California
Souza Realty - Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Loomis, Penryn, Newcastle, Lincoln, Auburn, Meadow Vista (Placer Coun... - Roseville, CA
Homes & Land, Real Estate Investments and Rentals

Very well written blog post, Pat...and I completely agree! Our job is not to "convince" buyers to buy a particular home, it is to "listen" to their needs and help them find exactly what they are looking for. :)


Oct 18, 2010 08:45 PM #31
Kathryn Acciari
Cameron Real Estate Group - Shrewsbury, MA
RSPS, SRS, REALTOR(R) Sturbridge-Shrewsbury MA

I agree.  If the buyer isn't loving the home, no amount of pushing will create a sale.  Our job is to help them find a home that suits their needs.

Oct 19, 2010 01:16 AM #32
Brian Bean
The Dream Big Team at Realty ONE Group Champions - Riverside, CA
Homeowner Advocate, Dream Big Real Estate, S.Calif

I save my "overcoming objection" dance for the other agent and for my short sale negotiators.

BTW, what's the saying? A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. You're likely to lose them later in the process unless they love it from the beginning.

Oct 19, 2010 01:57 AM #33
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Pat, the best way to provide a service to our buyers is to listen. Once they've been into a few houses, we get a much better idea of what they might want in a house, and do our homework to find those listings.  We know we've done it right when they walk through the door and within seconds, the smile on their faces tells it all. 

Oct 19, 2010 02:32 AM #34
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

Oh yes, I like the "cut to the chase" approach and know what they want, it saves me time.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Oct 19, 2010 02:37 AM #35
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Patricia, overcoming objections is always taught in salesmanship 101. However, you have to know when when to stop and listen to a buyers/tenants concerns. Thanks for the reminder.

Oct 19, 2010 02:50 AM #36
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

There is a difference between overcoming reasonable objections and bulldozing the people. The art of salesmanship 101 needs to include 'listening and watching' - it is possible to alienate buyers so much that they run to another agent.

Oct 19, 2010 04:53 AM #37
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Patricia,  I learned long ago that the initial impression ( good or bad ! ) will generally determine the extent of buyer interest.  Now, I tell the buyer that if a listing just screams out to them " You will hate it here ! "  then we should turn arounf and leave.  Don't pretend to look at the house to make me happy, just tell me it doesn't work for you and we're gone !

Oct 19, 2010 05:34 AM #38
Peter Clay - NoCo Home Team
Fort Collins Realtor @ C3 Real Estate Solutions - Fort Collins, CO
Sell Smart, Buy Wise & Live Well in Nrthn Colorado

Hi Pat - I agree with the post but mostly just wanted to comment on your photo change.  What a cool shot! Way to show part of who you are with one simple image.

Oct 19, 2010 05:49 AM #39
Sandy Shores FL Realtor®, Melbourne Real Estate
M & M Realty of Brevard Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Brevard County Real Estate, Florida's Space Coast

Pat,  Oh this reminds me so much of the first real estate agent I ever met.  What an adventure that was!  And I remember saying, when I become an agent I would never do what she did to her clients.

Oct 19, 2010 09:12 AM #40
Christa Borellini
Prudential California - San Diego, CA

Wow, that is crazy.  A buyer knows what he or she wants.  It's our job to find it, if it's possible, not to sell them something they hate.

Oct 19, 2010 09:46 AM #41
Teri Deane
RE/MAX 100 - Columbia, MD
Realtor, ABR, CRS, SFR - The Deane Team

Sometimes buyers just get a bad "vibe" when they see a home and they really can't put the whys into words.  I don't push, if it isn't working (and I can usually tell pretty quickly) move on.  Great post.

Oct 21, 2010 02:40 PM #42
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Patricia Kennedy

Home in the Capital
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