Home-selling clients can handle the truth if you're open and honest about the process

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People are jittery about the economy and no amount of sugarcoating can make things right. In fact, that will do more harm than good most of the time, especially when dealing with a client listing a home.

If that person hasn’t checked out the market for a while, they’re likely in for a shock, no matter how many news stories they’ve read or seen on TV. Being frank and honest with homeowners about pricing and marketing a home is important. They need to know upfront that what they think – or hope – their home is worth likely is off base these days.

Look at each appointment as an opportunity for a two-way dialogue. Ask a lot of questions before the appointment, and then when you meet them and have viewed the home in question, take notes and prepare a marketing strategy to sell the property. This is best accomplished by offering suggestions to the homeowners that could improve the chances of a sale and still allow them to obtain the highest possible selling price.

Frank and honest discussions lay the correct groundwork for realistic expectations for real estate clients. The market is what it is, and there’s no way to avoid that in business conversations. Relevant facts can’t be glossed over with small talk, so be polite and compassionate, but don’t paint an unrealistic picture. It cheats everyone involved and often leads to an unhappy ending.

Sellers also need to know the truth when a home needs a new roof or paint job, the landscaping has no curb appeal or the flooring needs to be replaced. But it’s not a one-way street. Homeowners planning on selling a home need to be asking you about recent home sales in the neighborhood, total days houses are spending on the market and what seller contributions were made on recent sales. That and additional information is vital these days and can easily be backed up by statistics. You can help by knowing the markets and engaging in discussions of local neighborhood real estate trends.

Informed clients with realistic expectations generally make for smoother home sales. It’s never easy to suggest a listing price to a homeowner, and no one likes to be the bearer of bad news. But if it’s handled professionally, things will be much better for everyone in the process. Here are some things to keep in mind to make that happen:

Research the listing opportunity thoroughly and have statistics ready.

Know the local market better than the property owner.

Ask lots of questions and pay attention to the responses.

Be prepared to offer solutions and not just worst-case scenarios.

Have a list of recommended tips for homeowners selling a home.

Offer sellers your vendor list of handymen and tradesmen if they list with you.

Don’t patronize them, and when asked for your professional opinion, don’t be afraid to answer honestly. If you get the listing, get it on your terms.

Read more best practices for Realtors

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