New Strategy For Getting Sellers To Make Needed Repairs!

Real Estate Agent with Comey & Shepherd Realtors

Last week, I had an active client refer me to his sister and husband, who've lived in their home for 16+ years.  You could expect that there may be some updating needed.  (Actually, they did an excellent job in remodeling the kitchen and except for renting a storage unit for excess items and stuff, it's in pretty good condition.)

Well, here's what I did:  I have a qualified contractor, who does jobs from minor repairs to major home remodeling come over to the property with me on the first of a possible two-step listing appt.  Now, he's very friendly, professional, reliable, fair-priced and he's done a lot of work for me and my clients, so I'm comfortable recommending him.  So, we do introductions and let the seller show us their home, while pointing out items that need to be addressed.  The contractor takes the lead and will point out other needed repairs or updates and makes notes, so that he can provide the seller with a proposal of the various repairs/improvements needed to make the home "shine" on the market.

This takes the pressure off of me and onto him.  I'm not the bad guy.  This is his expertise and they can decide what they want to do.  If they aren't willing to take his advice and I think the home would then be too hard to sell or would have to greatly lower the price, then I can decline the listing or refer them to someone else.  Who needs the headache?  Our job is to market properties, negotiate them and handle the transaction to its conclusion.  Having an outside expert, I think, in many cases, can be a win-win for everyone involved.  The seller makes the necessary repairs/updates, gets a quicker sale for more money than if it were in "as-is" condition and we've removed a lot of potential stress.

I do sometimes agree with other agents, who talk about waiting until you have the listing before sharing what you think needs to be repaired, but in today's market, I believe it's your responsibility to ask as many questions as possible of the sellers and be as direct as possible.  I interview sellers over the phone before I meet with them in person.  Yes, there will still be some sellers, who will use you for information, but I believe that more sellers will respect you and your professionalism for having the guts to tell them what they need to hear.  You need to have enough skills and marketing strategies, so that any seller would be crazy to hire a friend or relative, who may just 'dabble' in real estate.

I hope this helps.  I'd love to hear your reply.

To your success,

Dan Weis

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Dan Weis
Real Estate Consultant since 1985
Comey & Shepherd Realtors

Cell/Text: 513.615.1890

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Steve Scheer
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers - Highlands Ranch, CO
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate
I agree with you Dan & I too let them know as I am meeting with them the first time (although I have never brought a contractor with me on a 1st appt - that's an interesting approach).    I wouldn't feel right about not telling them until later.  Many times they will have the work done before I even come back to officially list the house.  The more upfront we are about everything from the get go, the smoother it will go.  For the most part, they generally already know what needs to be done anyway, they just need us to confirm it for them. 
Feb 14, 2007 09:27 AM #1
Doug Beaver
Century 21 Olde Tyme - Corona, CA
Corona Norco Eastvale Riverside Homes
Dan, Great Post and I like the way you think. Anytime we can take the pressure off and get a decision by a seller is great....
Feb 14, 2007 10:30 AM #2
Jackson West
Reveal Estate Home Staging - Vancouver - Vancouver, BC

Dan, I am a "bad guy" and I love it! I understand that discussions of décor, repair, presentation, and odor can be a delicate topics. The last thing you want to do is offend your client. As a home stager, I handle recommendations from a neutral, professional standpoint, allowing the Realtor to focus on selling the property. As an added bonus I provide beautiful after photos for use in marketing. Real Estate Agents that add my services as an extra value to the client, have a competetive edge over other agents.

Reveal Estate Home Staging 

Feb 14, 2007 12:27 PM #3
Sean Dankers
Realty World Select - Fredericksburg, VA
Nice post Dan.  That is a nice approach to a sometimes touchy subject.
Feb 14, 2007 10:49 PM #4
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection
Dan I agree with you that providing the helpful hints as to how to get the property in shape should be address upfront, consumers today watch these improvement TV shows and go to websites, so holding back information would not be in a realtor's best interest.  The idea of bring a contractor is rather interesting and I can see how it could work it could also be a negative if the homeowner did not like the contractor, you could lose the listing.  My style is to do my presentation and recommend three of each professionals as required.
Feb 14, 2007 11:30 PM #5
Frank Helderle
RE/MAX Best Choice - Saint Louis, MO

Great post Dan. I have used a contractor before on our pre-listing appointment and most sellers appreciate another point of view instead of thinking it's another Realtor type ploy. Thanks for bringing it up.

Frank J. Helderle


Feb 15, 2007 05:43 AM #6
William Collins
ERA Queen City Realty - Scotch Plains, NJ
Property and Asset Management


Thanks for the post. I am inclined to agree with those who believe, we need to address the marketing plan first. The follow up with contractors and stagers.

Feb 16, 2007 11:18 PM #7
Mark Flanders
Consulting - Silverdale, WA


This is a great article!

Congratulations, it was included in the most recent Unsung and Overlooked collection.

This should get it a little more exposure :)


Feb 16, 2007 11:29 PM #8
Kelli Fronabarger
Bend River Realty Inc. - Bend, OR
Realtor - Bend Oregon



Nice article. My husband is a general contractor so he is quite a help when trying to estimate repairs on either side. I actually had him out last week with a potential buyer on a home that needed a room rebuilt. His input was very valuable when we went to write the offer. Use whatever resources you can when they are readily available to you : )

Feb 17, 2007 07:23 AM #9
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate
Great post Dan and way to "Step up to the plate" to get things done.  Way too many Realtors are too passive or embarassed when it comes to suggesting repairs or staging to a seller. 
Feb 20, 2007 08:20 AM #10
Robert McArtor
RE/MAX Components - Fallston Maryland - Bel Air, MD
Top Listing Agent for Baltimore and Harford County
I like to put money on the table and not make my Seller do repairs. Repairs are subjective and another way a Buyer can step out of a contract. (I didn't know you were going to use that kind of wood? or that kind of paint? I didn't want that cabinet!) Here is $500....NEXT!
Feb 27, 2007 11:04 PM #11
Sue Argue
Staged First Impressions - Hampton, NH
NH Home Stager

Is there any liability if you refer an outside contractor?


Feb 28, 2007 12:45 PM #12
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