- The key to handling this particular seller objection comes back to the empty promise behind it.
It’s a dog-eat-listing-agent world out there, and there are always some people all too willing to cross into questionable territory to get the listing.
They’ll say things like, “I can get you more money than that other agent can.”
‘The No. 1 mistake’
This powerful response suggested by Powell, Ohio’s Shaun Simpson also includes a foolproof follow-up.
“Picking an agent because of the price they tell you they can get — that’s the no. 1 mistake that sellers make,” he explains to his potential clients.
“If you would like, I’ll pay for an independent appraiser,” he adds. “I can give you my price; we can take your price and the appraiser’s number, and we’ll list at the middle.
“But above all — make sure you are selecting an agent based on market knowledge and experience with marketing,” he concludes.
Numbers don’t lie
Lexington, Kentucky, broker Donna Redd Elder wants to know how that other agent justified the price to the clients, first and foremost.
Then she shows them the numbers.
“I present the comps, history of appreciation and charts to show them the price,” she explained. “I also present my printouts to show my original list price and contract price with days on the market.
“‘Did the other agent show you this?'” she asks the sellers. “‘That agent could have a history of price reductions, and I rarely reduce my price.'”
“Did they show you the numbers on why and how?” Denver broker Greg Eckler asks the objecting seller. “Here are my comps and why I think we should price it this way.
“If they can’t back up their opinion, their price is just a sales pitch,” he concludes.
“What kind of information did they use to back that price up?” asks Fullerton, California, agent Erica Boisvert.
“Keep the conversation going,” she advises.
Show the dangers of pricing too high
Juan Gabriel Molina of Oxnard, California, begins by explaining to clients that the agent in question has probably proposed overpricing the home.
“When an agent says he can get you more money, it doesn’t mean that’s going to happen. He still has to rely on market activity and the appraisal,” Molina explains. “And based on the research I have done, you would be overpricing your home.”
What happens when you overprice a home?
“It will sit on the market,” he tells his sellers. “The other agents and their buyers will think you’re not serious or motivated. There will be fewer showings and no offers at your asking price. When you get an offer, you’ll think it’s a low offer.
“Then your agent will insist that you lower the price because it’s not selling. Sometimes an agent will overprice a home to take the listing with the intent of having you lower the price later — but that can only hurt the sale of your home and waste valuable time.
“Let’s do the right thing and price it at my recommended listing price so that you can have access to the best buyers, who are ready and motivated to buy your home today,” Molina concludes.
Eckler also likes to educate clients a little bit by sharing the pitfalls of overpricing a property.
“There are risks to pricing too high,” he tells his seller clients. “We do our best to predict the future, but the market will tell us how right or wrong we are.
“If we price too high, you start spending that money before we know what is realistic — and it can only be a letdown.
“I’ll show you why I’m pricing your home this way, and I want your buy-in,” he concludes. “If you disagree, let’s talk about it — but don’t price your house higher because your net sparkles and shines. Price it so that your check sparkles and shines. #psychologyofrealestate”
‘What kind of agent do you want to work with?’
At Century 21’s One21 conference earlier this year, Anne M. Rubin suggested that agents respond to this objection thusly:
“Here’s exactly what’s happening in the market. We have X houses on the market right now, and we have X selling per month. That means we have X months of supply for buyers to choose from. You told me you wanted to sell your house in X months — correct?
“With X properties coming on the market every month, not to mention the number of foreclosures and short sales, wouldn’t you agree that accurately pricing the property is important today?
“Your home does have many upgrades; and many of the houses I showed you have similar upgrades. That demonstrates what buyers are willing to pay. Do you have any reason to believe that buyers are offering more than the recent closed sales?
“The MLS data is all the same — but some agents will tell you what they think you want to hear just so they can get the listing because they’re desperate to land your business. What kind of agent do you want to work with?”
What’s experience worth?
“Here is my list-to-sales-price ratio and days on market numbers,” Georgia real estate star Blair Myers tells the objectors, adding that he knows those metrics are the best in the region.
“That will nip most any objection in the bud — including commission objections,” noted Myers. “I can show my clients a history of closing my listings for more in less time, and that makes up for any discount or cash-back bonus they may get from the other agent.”
“Anyone will tell you what you want to hear to win the listing,” Seattle team lead Chavi Hohm tells the sellers. “The reality is, only five of us Realtors in this city get our results — when the sellers follow our process.”
Is the competing agent one of those five, Hohm asks? Then she gives her sellers a piece of advice: “Ask him/her to show you actual results out of the MLS — or I can provide you with the results,” she adds.
Acknowledge their investment and offer to compare apples to apples
Before he goes for the numbers, Olney, Maryland’s Chris Speicher spends some time acknowledging the investment that the seller’s home represents — and thereby the anxiety that the seller probably feels at picking the wrong person to sell it.
“Your net proceeds is the single most important number at the end of the sale,” Speicher tells his clients.
“Let’s look at the data in the MLS to compare apples to apples — this other agent’s list-to-sales-price ratio versus mine. The data don’t lie, and you deserve all the facts so you can make an informed decision.”
‘This is about more than price’
“No one can know for sure what your home will sell for,” Glendale broker Kendyl Young reminds her seller clients.
“The real question is, do you believe an agent’s skill and marketing plan can make a difference in your ultimate sales price?
“If you do — which agent appears to have the highest skill and best overall marketing strategy to sell your home?” she concludes.
“Actually, Mr. Seller, the other agent offered to list it for more — not to sell it for more,” New York broker Mitchell Hall tells his objecting sellers.
Then he adds: “Let me show you why my marketing strategy will actually get you more money. The price you get is a function of the marketing you choose.”
‘The agent doesn’t set the price; buyers do’
Sellers with visions of dollar bills dancing in their heads might need a basic economics reminder: If nobody is willing to pay your price, then the house is not selling.
“The only person who will give you money is a buyer,” Pinehurst, North Carolina, broker Laurie Weston Davis tells her objecting clients. “Buyers will decide what to offer based on their market knowledge and advice from their agent.”
After explaining that the agent’s job is to market the home and generate interested and qualified buyers, Weston Davis reminds clients that offers are about more than money — time and repairs and other negotiation factors could cost money above and beyond the offer price.
“My job is to be an educated negotiator and spend the least amount of your money as possible to get the deal closed,” Weston Davis concludes. Make money by saving money!
Use some real talk
“If you think they’re being truthful, then you should hire them,” Lee Arnold of Fallbrook, California, tells his objecting sellers.
“However — just remember that it is in both of our best interests to get you the most money possible, since my commission is based off of how much money you make.”
Then loop back into the special services or particular expertise that you offer, and hopefully you’ve sealed the deal!
About those ‘special buyers’ …
Do “special buyers” exist who are willing to pay more than list price?
According to some agents, they do. You can uncover this myth by asking questions — and possibly offering a bonus if those buyers do manifest.
That’s what broker Hall did. After a listing presentation that went very well, the seller called him the next morning and told Hall “that another agent told her she had special European medical student buyers who would pay $200,000 more than the price we discussed because they were from Europe.”
Hall came back for a follow-up appointment and walked through the neighborhood comparable listings with his potential client — noticing that she was focusing on three-bedroom sales prices when her property was a one-bedroom.
“Finally, I said: ‘List with me, and I will contact the other agent and offer her an extra 1-percent bonus — I will take a smaller split — if she brings a buyer who will pay $200,000 above asking price.”
That sold his seller, who realized that the other agent must be “full of it” if Hall was willing to make this deal and offered to cover the extra commission herself.
“I got the listing,” Hall concluded. “It sold at my price, and as suspected, I never heard from the other agent with all her ‘special buyers.'”
Counter snarky with snarky
Boston broker Joe Schutt takes on this objection with some : “Oh, really? So this agent has a buyer with a contract in hand, right at this very moment, showing that number and just waiting for you to sign it?”
Then he circles back to the “buyers set the price” argument: “The buyers determine the market at the time they make their offer and the seller accepts it.”