Whether you are just starting out in your real estate career or 15 years in and reinventing yourself, failing to have any one of these homeseller conversations will cost you and your client money, time and frustration.
As hard as it may be to cover touchy topics (such as what needs to be fixed up, removed, changed or fixed to sell quickly; how much money is in a seller’s bank account; and who gets paid what amount and when), they must be addressed upfront.
Each of these simple talking points can snowball into confrontation, the loss of sale, unnecessary heartache or unexpected reduced commission.
Make 2017 the year you set the proper expectations. If doing this means you lose a listing, then better to find out early than after months of hard work.
Prep work: Staging and value
Talking points: Ask sellers what attracted them to the house in the first place. Buyers will want to purchase the home for the same reasons.
Asking questions will also help you build rapport, establish your value and get the seller talking.
Do the research on certain upgraded items in a home based on the annual cost versus value report. Get a third-party opinion (a Certified Staging Professional) so that you and the seller can take that information and work with it. Be honest with sellers about what buyers are looking for based on current market conditions.
Next steps: Provide a link or copy to the seller with the cost versus value report for the current year and leave behind a checklist of items to be done prior to listing the home. Detail which items are negotiable or non-negotiable.
Finally, pay for and provide a professional staging consultant to visit the home and create a custom report showing all the items that would sell the home for top dollar in less time, plus the cost of doing that.
Who’s going to pay?
Talking points: Know the history of real estate, and the ins and outs of buyer’s agency. Take time to explain that buyers used to pay buyer’s agents while sellers paid listing agents, but over time and now, sellers are currently paying commissions in most cases for both sides of the transaction.
There may be instances where both sides still have to pay, so have a graph and state exactly how much a client will need to pay, where the money is going, which brokerage is getting it and how it is divided out.
Speak confidently and know your value, then share that so there are no surprises at closing.
Next steps: Create or provide a graph showing your commission structure, provide a seller’s net sheet from a title company detailing all fees including title, county and government recording charges and brokerage fees.
Tell clients what you are offering regarding any potential discounts, home warranty, staging or anything else you provide that will save them money.
Can you afford to sell?
Talking points: Ask sellers how much they owe on their home. If that amount is close to what the list price would be, ask if they had to bring money to the table, could they? How much would they be willing to bring, in a worst-case scenario?
If a seller is unable or unwilling to bring money to the table, and you know there is no wiggle room on the price, you need to decide as a professional, whether to step away from that listing and save yourself time, money and heartache.
Next steps: Provide the seller a sample net sheet filled out by a title company showing all seller fees required to get the home sold at the current list price.
Decide if you, the real estate agent, want to take this listing. Note whether you came to a mutual agreement on a competitive price. Do not just concede to an amount of the seller’s choice, based on what they owe.
You have officially become an adult real estate agent after you have walked away from a listing that you knew would not sell.