There exist in the world four basic personality types. I expect all Realtors know this because our brokers hire expensive speakers to tell us whether we are "Labrador retrievers" or "tigers," so we then can identify our clients as "owls" or "Guinea fowl."
Each client of ours has a unique way of looking at the world, and we, as amateur sleuths, must jump into step with the client and speak the right "language" to make a sale.
Have enough clients and you start to feel like Cybil, sifting through your multiple personalities six or seven times before dinner.
The point to all this personality swapping is supposed to be clear and considerate communication, in order that you might — with educated delicacy — inform your clients the best way in which to sell their homes.
Usually, they question each and every suggestion. "So, you’re saying I have to pack away my porcelain doll collection? Everyone loves Victorian dolls! They’re treasures!" And so on.
The old adage, "One’s own refuse has no odor" (or something like that), is never more true than when you are standing in the middle of a home that smells of vitamins, old sheets, and formaldehyde and you suggest an air freshener.
But there was one woman …
One woman who took all my advice and then made up some of her very own. Advice that I feel compelled to pass on because if every one (or 20 percent) of our sellers got with the program we could really move some houses! I believe her action steps placed her in a position to succeed.
First of all, she saw the writing on the wall: Her house was going underwater and her small business was not bringing in the necessary funds to keep her living at the same level.
Thanks to her money management, she knew her cash-flow situation and put funds away for the transition she knew was inevitable — and specifically, enough money to rent a small apartment as her in-between home, and additional cash set aside to clean the carpets and repaint a few walls of her current home.
Contrary to popular thought, selling a home takes more than candles and cookie dough. It takes real money. Deferred maintenance is an actual cost that quite a few people forget about.
The takeaway: By actively managing her money, my client avoided letting her money manage her (I am borrowing this line from financial guru Dave Ramsey). She was aware of her own situation and acted with forethought.
Second step: She moved. Absolutely vacated the property. She took with her every single personal affect, less a few primary staging decorations. Then she cleaned the home, from header to threshold.
It was the most lovely, turn-key property I have ever had the pleasure of listing. You can bet that there was not a moment of hesitation on my part to put a sign in the yard and a lockbox on the front door.
Not only was the home ready to be loved and snatched up in a heartbeat, it was ready to be viewed at any time, day or night. That’s money for a buyer’s broker.
Typical buyers have the unreasonable (or is it?) assumption that any home for sale should be free to view whenever they are ready to view it.
And let’s face it: Once you’ve taken the buyers through eight almost perfect houses and they just can’t make a decision until they see the ninth house with the restrictive viewing schedule, you’re tempted to do a drive-by and oh, stop and knock on the door.
And if they’re not home? Well … hey, I’m not saying anything more.
Selling a home is personal. It’s emotional. It can be elating or downright heartbreaking. As real estate agents and brokers, our job is to guide our clients through the process with consideration for our clients’ emotional and financial goals — no matter what animal group they come from.
Sharing the truth can be daunting, but wow — working with one all-star seller makes all those difficult conversations worth it.