It's a New Year time to stand tall and make a decision to tell the cold hard truth. When you walk into that listing appointment remember they asked you to come because you are a real estate professional and they are looking for guidance and solutions.
Now if your end game is merely to get your sign in the yard then you won't be in the game too long. However, if this is your career you get that it's a bigger picture. The bigger picture... your reputation, referrals, delivering on what you say! Remember you are dealing with folks biggest investment don't make it about you. Once you do you lose.
Maybe your excuse is you just can't be that hard on them, it will hurt their feelings. How would you feel if the cancer doctor felt really bad about your terminal diagnosis so he told you everything was fine come back in 6 months? Too bad you won't be showing to the appointment.
That's what many agents are doing out there with seller's finances. They are over pricing homes to get the listing meanwhile the market is passing the seller by till they are in ruin.
I'm not talking about the seller who won't listen. We all have dealt with them. I prefer to be the second listing agent on those because now they are prepared to listen and I didn't have to spend my money on a house that wouldn't sell.
If it smells, tell them, if it's cluttered tell them, if they want to overprice it for the market tell them. You don't have to be unkind you just need to be honest. Suggest an appraisal if need be.
I would love to hear from some of the best how you handle the seller that is in denial and at the same time really needs to get their house sold.