A vast majority of clients will throw you a curveball at some point — whether they’re struggling to get a mortgage, going through a nasty divorce or dealing with the fallout of a past bankruptcy — and rather than help them overcome these issues, you’ll feel tempted to avoid the headache altogether. You’ll tell them to come back once they have their ducks in a row.

  • Real estate agents need to change their focus from selling homes to selling solutions.
  • Agents must learn how to handle curveballs creatively.
  • Thinking outside the box can be productive and lucrative.

Let’s face it: Real estate is a quirky industry, and deals are rarely smooth.

A vast majority of clients will throw you a curveball at some point — whether they’re struggling to get a mortgage, going through a nasty divorce or dealing with the fallout of a past bankruptcy — and rather than help them overcome these issues, you’ll feel tempted to avoid the headache altogether. You’ll tell them to come back once they have their ducks in a row.

Making matters worse is the fact that the real estate industry is heavily regulated. If you’re a real estate agent, you probably sat through hours upon hours of classes that explained all the different ways you could lose your license.

I don’t blame you if, as a result, you approach your job with caution and steer clear of challenging scenarios.

But think about how many potential deals are falling by the wayside — and how many dissatisfied customers there are — because of your unwillingness to stray from the script.

The real estate world desperately needs to shift away from the mindset of “selling houses” and start embracing the idea of “selling solutions.” It’s time to think outside the box and confront the common issues that derail deals.

Think of real estate as a service

Instead of operating out of fear, our industry must operate out of creativity. Countering a client’s curveball with a positive solution is always a better option than simply saying no.

The real estate industry might have a lot of rules, but it’s not impossible to navigate. If you go the extra mile to understand them deeply, I guarantee you’ll see more business, happier clients and more positive reviews than ever before.

This is the service-driven approach my company takes, and it helps us close more than 1,700 deals a month per year.

5 deal-savers worth exploring

Here are five outside-the-box strategies we love to use and believe every real estate professional should keep in their back pocket:

1. Guaranteed leases

Guaranteed leases are a great option for clients who are struggling to sell their current homes and can’t close on a new one until they do.

You can do them a huge favor by renting out their houses, being the landlord and guaranteeing them rent payments for a certain duration of time — regardless of whether you can find tenants.

My company has done more than 6,000 new transactions over the past few years, sometimes guaranteeing rent payments for up to six years.

This creates a new stream of income for clients that allows them to make a down payment and move on with their lives. And further, it allows them to buy some time while waiting for the market to turn around.

2. Guaranteed buyouts

This is similar to a guaranteed lease, except you’re straight up buying the house instead of temporarily managing it.

This grants the seller with flexibility and cash for a down payment, and it gives you an opportunity to add another property to your roster that you can either flip for a profit or lease out.

3. Seller financing

Seller financing — such as rent-to-own agreements — is an excellent way to sweeten the pot, keep the process moving and get the seller top dollar for his or her home.

These arrangements are usually short-term, and they allow for the buyer to refinance before a balloon payment at the end of the contract. This benefits both the buyers and sellers who want a different financing option or are eager to sell their homes.

4. Negotiated terms

When it comes to negotiation, people often get fixated on price and fail to realize there are countless other factors that are up for debate.

Wheeling and dealing on terms such as the closing date and earnest money, for example, can provide a much-needed spark that helps close the deal.

5. Chipping in

Don’t you hate it when you’re this close to closing a deal — like, within $1,000 — but the buyer and seller both refuse to negotiate any further and sign on the dotted line?

This is when it’s time to see if any of the other involved parties — like the title company, the lender or even the agents (yes, you) — are willing to chip in and get the deal done.

Your industry cohorts care just as much as you do about closing the sale, and it might surprise you to see how willing they are to put some money toward the cause.

If you’re a broker who only sticks to the script and fears thinking outside the box, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to cement your footing as a positive, solution-oriented staple in the real estate community.

Devote your energy to exploring the creative side of residential real estate, and be the broker everyone wants to work with.

Mike Kalis is the CEO of Marketplace Homes in Detroit, Michigan. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter

Email Mike Kalis

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