Real estate can be unpredictable, and when working with clients, the plans we have in our head don’t always play out accordingly. At one time or another, we all have encountered the awkward and uncomfortable moments that make us shake our heads.
Over the course of my career, I have come across many situations with buyers and sellers that did not go according to plan. Below, I recount a few of those situations:
1. Your children (or fur-children) are not that cute.
I was once on a listing appointment where the sellers had several dogs that I could almost see eye-to-eye with standing up. It was evident walking in the door that this was the dogs’ domain, and the humans just paid the bills.
As the sellers and I talked, the dogs showed no mercy by drooling and leaving hair all over everything that was in their path, including me.
On a buyer appointment, I happened to take a good friend along as it was her listing and someone I had never met before. This buyer brought his young son along for the showing.
His son started to run like a wild animal around the property, at one point picking up a stick and hitting my coworker on the back repeatedly.
Lesson: Looking professional means keeping the kids in line and not letting them drool on anyone.
2. Designer paint is still just paint.
I arrived at a listing appointment eager as I had reached out to them because of a listing I had on the same street. As we walked through the house, the seller pointed out updates, including the expense that went into his designer paint. In his mind, that shiny new coat of designer paint justified a much higher listing price.
Lesson: Designer paint is still just paint. Manage your sellers’ expectations.
3. We have different definitions of clean.
Selling-your-home clean versus living-in-your-home clean are two vastly different things. Sometimes, sellers highly underestimate the difference. I’ve shown countless homes where last night’s meal is still sitting out and a trail of laundry circles the house.
One time, with a family of buyers in tow, we walked into a master bedroom where someone clearly thought the display of illegal activity paraphernalia would be a selling point.
Lesson: Again, manage your sellers’ expectations by letting them know what clean means to you.
4. I’m happy to talk, just not at bedtime.
Real estate often feels like the only consulting profession that is open for business 24 hours. I had a panicked seller who was moving out-of-state and worried about carrying two mortgages.
This situation prompted the seller to repeatedly text and call me well after 9:30 p.m. because we had yet to secure an offer on the home.
Lesson: Agents are people too — people who have lives and need sleep.
5. It’s on TV, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.
It can be hard to show a property when there are many opinions in the room. I once showed a house to potential buyers who decided to bring some extended family along.
At this showing, the seller was still at the property. Within earshot of the seller, one family member proceeded to talk loudly about how we should offer $50,000 under asking price. When my buyer asked why, the family member said, “Because that’s what they do on HGTV.”
Lesson: Manage your buyers’ expectations, and keep the trash talk to a minimum.
Just when I think I might have seen and heard it all, I know I haven’t even scratched the surface.
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