The Case of the Pushy Realtor
By Glenn Freezman
I had a chance to catch up with an old friend of mine earlier this week and he shared with me a story of the challenges that he and his wife are having finding a new house. It’s probably worth mentioning that he has been trying to sell his current home for over 5 years and was almost genuinely shocked when an offer was made on the property a few weeks ago.
So now he and his wife are on the prowl looking for a new home and he reports that he’s had more fun getting a root canal. Never mind that the stress of looking for just the right home in the right place has he and his wife a bit stressed out but on top of it his wife has hired her best friend to be their Realtor for the deal.
My buddy really wanted to see if he could arrange some sort of ‘pay as you play’ opportunity with an open minded Realtor who was exploring alternative compensation models. But supporting a friend trumps the advancement of real estate purchase models in this case.
The problem is that the friend Realtor has become somewhat of a challenge. She is very competent and knows the market very well. It’s just that she is adding a lot of unnecessary stress and tension to the process by issuing ‘to do’ directives to her new clients several times each day. While she is trying to share great insights, it appears that she is doing so without taking into consideration that her clients already have plenty on their plates with the house they are getting ready to sell.
His story started me thinking about some things that home buyers probably wish they could communicate with their agents during the process. Here are a few to share with you:
- Don’t assume that your clients are OK with the idea of moving into a property that needs a whole bunch of alterations of fixes before it meets their needs – Simply said, if I have to hire a contractor in order to move into a new place then I probably won’t. Apart from being house poor and timing issues, few people have the luxury or cash and time to make sure that the new place perfectly meets all their needs. For a Realtor to treat major fixes and build outs like it’s no big deal doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s no big deal for the agent but then again they won’t have to live in the midst of said construction work.
- Before you picture your clients moving into a property let them picture themselves living in it – Getting a call from an agent telling you that they have just found the perfect home for you (in you price range!) can certainly get a buyers’ attention. But slow down on the hype. Let them know about the amenities, the location and other benefits then stand back. Once again, you aren’t making the commitment to live there for the next dozen years and what is an abstract idea for you will become their reality.In many cases home buyers get very excited by the hype only to feel totally deflated by the property when they finally get to see it for themselves. Making a recommendation is one thing but avoid setting their expectations too high until they have time to weigh in.
- Avoid teasing your clients with deals they can’t move on – Basically, if the buyers have an agreement with a mortgage lender for $300,000 and expect to have $100,000 in cash to put down then showing them $450,000 homes is a waste of their time and yours. Even if they can make a lowball offer it’s going to be a tough slog to cover anything more than what they have or can borrow. It’s pointless to mention that they only need to come up with an extra $10,000 to cover the gap. You already know in your own reality that this is real money and doesn’t just show up magically.
- Help guide but avoid being pushy – calling your client up 10 times a day to ask them if they’ve made a decision gets old really fast. Certainly a reminder or two along the way can help but avoid becoming a pest. People have the tendency to move at a pace that works for them especially when they’re about to make the biggest purchase of their lives. Give them the time then need within reason and make sure that your motivation is more about getting them into the right house and less about getting them to the closing table.
When possible put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and not just in a new house. Appreciate that this can be a scary and often stressful time. Be certain to do what you can to make things easier and still make sure that you can still get paid for your time.
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