Chances are your home sellers know very little about marketing, much less about the best way to market their home. After all, that is why they have hired a real estate agent to assist them in selling it. They will need to be educated from the initial meeting and throughout the process.

Educating the home seller with “home seller rules” is a crucial step, one that will allow you greater freedom to market their home in the best way possible. Not doing so has the potential to allow the home seller to dictate everything. If you set boundaries from the get-go and educate the home seller, the process will go much smoother.

What is it that a home seller wants?

  • To sell the home as quickly as possible.
  • To get the most money from the property.
  • The process made as easy as possible.

Home sellers are well aware of what they want, but what they don’t know is how to get there. That’s where you come in. Naturally they want the following from you:

  • Highest listing price possible.
  • Optimal exposure to everyone in the market to buy.
  • Most advertising on the home possible.

We know it isn’t that simple. If it were, there would be little need for an agent. Remind them that they sought you for your expertise and reputation for excellence. Assure them that you will guide them every step of the way, advising them on everything.

Before the home seller demands more marketing or a higher price, educate them — they will thank you.

Listing price

Don’t let the home seller dictate the price or try to coax you with “Our neighbors’ home sold for a lot more.” Explain to them the differences between the two homes. Although everyone thinks their home is great, there might be serious issues with it. Often, we’ve come across homes that are tear-downs, but the owners refuse to accept it. It won’t be easy to get them to see the situation, but it must be done.

The next thing that might require explaining is Zestimates, the archenemy of any real estate agent. Unfortunately, a lot of consumers believe that this is a good source of information and will try to use it to support their listing price. You’ll have to explain the following to your home sellers: Zestimates are intended to serve as a starting point and don’t provide an appraisal of the home.

Every city is given a different median cone of error by Zillow, ranging from 5 to 16 percent. In Dallas, the median error is 10.5 percent; for a home priced at $500,000 this could represent $52,500. That is a big number that could potentially hurt negotiations on both sides. Encourage them to read more about Zestimates.


Surely, your home sellers want you to promote their individual home as much as possible. The truth is that a 2.5-by-2.5-inch listing ad in the paper isn’t going to sell their home.

There are things that are much more important than including a listing ad in the paper every Sunday. Here is what matters:

  • Good photography
    Advise them that only fantastic photography can sell their home. With 92 percent of homebuyers using the Internet as a source of information (according to, good photography is critical. A homebuyer might not make it past your online listing if they don’t like what they see. After all, the first impression is the only impression.
  • Home preparation
    Educate home sellers on the importance of properly staging an empty home or stylizing a furnished one. Homes that are properly staged sell much faster than those that are not. Emotion is one of the most crucial triggers for selling a home.
  • Your professional brand
    Show home sellers how much advertising and marketing you do for your brand. Explain that advertising for you is advertising for them. An ad is not responsible for selling their home — you are. The bigger your network, the more buyers you can access. It is essential to have a strong brand established and a good reputation. Furthermore, what sells a home is not the home itself, but the lifestyle it promises. A small photo of a home doesn’t allow a potential buyer to feel connected to the home or the area. It will require some much-needed education on what types of marketing and advertising work best. Inform your home sellers also on the various kinds of advertising that you will do for them online; they might not be aware of all the work that you are doing behind the scenes.
  • Exposure
    As a real estate agent, you take your job seriously. Part of that job is to qualify every lead that comes your way. By doing so, you save valuable time for the home seller. Naturally, you’ll want to explain to the homeowner that anyone that you schedule for a tour will be qualified prior to visiting the home. The privacy of your seller is also important. You certainly won’t be taking people only interested in getting behind the door — people who have no intention to buy the home. It is your knowledge and expertise that will prevent unqualified buyers from wasting time. Let your home sellers know the importance of bringing only the most qualified traffic to their home. Even qualified buyers might not be a good fit. You know real estate in and out; your predictions are typically spot-on. You won’t be able to convince a homebuyer who is not right for a home to purchase it.

Don’t allow your home sellers to put pressure on you. Instead educate them on the value of everything you are doing and the knowledge you possess. Remind them why they hired you, and be prepared to educate them throughout the process. Poor decisions made by the home seller can potentially lengthen the sales process — this is the time to prove your worth.

Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Laura Ure.

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