3 ways to manage challenging homebuyers

Advice for new agents on how to firmly handle tough situations
  • Navigating a multiple offer situation, handling a non-serious buyer and avoiding marketing pitfalls are all critical skills for new agents to master. 

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Dealing with difficult buyers doesn’t mean you will not have an enjoyable transaction process. It means you will spend more time educating and holding your clients’ hand, and that’s OK. It’s part of the gig.

When other real estate agents come to me with challenges, most of the time it has to do with their clients and their clients’ expectations.

Mostly, the client is being challenging as far as expectation versus budget. A good agent can point out many positives to help show clients how challenges are only roadblocks, not deal breakers.

Below are three tips for new agents.

Circumventing multiple offers

There are times when you may run across buyers who are difficult only because they want to write up various offers in an attempt to low-ball a seller on a property. They create a discount depot culture for a property.

When you notice a client starting to push multiple offers, it is your job to educate them. This gives you the opportunity to showcase the value of a property and often stop an influx of multiple offers on the buyers’ part.

Handling the non-committal buyer

The non-serious buyer who only wants to talk about offers, not make them. This creates a difficult situation for you, and it can put you at risk, as far as reputation, with other real estate professionals.

To deal with this type of obstacle, the best thing you can do is to tell your clients, nicely, to put their money where their mouth is.

My best advice is to tell the buyer that you will only consider written offers when working with them.

Don’t entertain long, drawn out verbal conversations about properties. Be educational and polite, but be about business.

Addressing clients with no vision

With some buyers, there may be an unwillingness to see the possibilities in potential homes.

The buyer may have a picture-perfect idea of what they will find when house hunting with you, which may not actually be realistic when you consider how sellers are staging — or not staging — their homes.

If you can’t get buyers to see the possibilities, your back may be up against a wall.

My best advice to offset this difficulty is to have what I call a pre-game meeting before looking at any home with your clients. Discuss how to look at a home and see past personal photos, bad paint jobs or backsplashes they may not like.

Talk to them about the importance of space and possibilities, and get an idea of if they are truly looking to buy something turn-key or if they are willing to repaint, put in flooring or give up a great yard to get an extra bathroom.

See what their deal breakers are, and give them a head start in thinking about what they are willing to bend and mold with as far as buying a home. By employing this strategy, you’ll make marketing a home to a difficult buyer a lot easier.

When you use the three tips I presented above, you will be able to offset the multiple offer game, ensure the buyer you are dealing with is truly going to be serious and help buyers find homes within realistic expectations.

Sam Benson, SRES, is a real estate broker in the greater Walnut Creek, California, area. You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook.