In real estate, finding new ways to make our job easier and at the same time more effective is something we should all be striving for each and every day.

In real estate, finding new ways to make our job easier and at the same time more effective is something we should all be striving for each and every day.

We all want a perfect buyer or seller that is a breeze to work with all the time, but rarely does that ever come about. In fact, we often see difficulty and stress in many of our transactions.

Some of the most difficult times and conversations in real estate can be avoided by simply setting the expectations ahead of time. Here are four ways to do so.

1. Ask questions

This may seem like the obvious place to start when dealing with a potential new client, but it only seems obvious because it’s so important.

Asking the right questions upfront will give you some background on your clients’ previous realty experiences. Ask questions such as:

  • Did you have an agent in the past that you really liked?
  • What did he or she do that made him or her so likable?

Or the flip side, if they’ve worked with someone they didn’t want to ever work with again, ask:

  • What were the aspects of his or her business model that didn’t work for you?
  • How can I avoid that?

What they know from the past will influence what they expect in the future.

2. Establish needs vs. wants

Figuring out needs versus wants can go a long way in setting expectations.

Discerning between the two can be difficult, but once you know what is negotiable and what is a must-have, you will be able to show the clients more suitable properties that will fulfill their expectations in a new home.

You will look so much better in their eyes if you hone in more quickly on what they are looking for and what they expect from you as their trusted adviser.

3. Look deeper

Once you know the needs and the wants of your client you can look deeper into the motivations behind them. How many times have you had a client say a certain characteristic in a house was a must-have, only to see him or her fall in love with a completely different type of home?

It happens all the time, and much of that can be contributed to not looking into motivation behind the needs and wants.

A client may say she needs a big backyard, but when you explore the motivation, all she really wants is an outdoor space for her kids to play. That listing with the small yard that’s across from the park may be perfect and would have been ruled out had you not had the conversation.

4. Educate

Many problems with client expectations are due to education, or the lack thereof. As the real estate agent, part of your job is to educate and inform your clients on every aspect of the market and the transaction.

This helps them make the most informed decisions possible, but it also ensures proper expectations are set along the way.

If you let them know that 60 days on market is typical for listings in their area, they won’t be upset when you have had their house listed for 25, and it’s not under contract.

It’s the same for buyers as well. Letting them know that inventory is low and that houses often receive multiple offers will light the fire under them when they see the house they really want.

By properly setting client expectations as early as possible, we make our job easier, and we become more effective. When we are more effective in our work, we project more confidence and are better able to serve our clients.

Just a few simple habits can change the nature of our business and allow us to come through for our clients and all their expectations.

David Stroh is a Realtor with Re/Max Plus in Frederick, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

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