At ICNY, a duo of real estate veterans share tips on dealing with type-A personalities.

Every agent has a story about a picky, micro-managing, type-A seller who wants to be in control every step of the way.

At Inman Connect at the Marriott Marquis during a Tuesday morning session called “Marketing a Home with a Micromanaging Seller,” a duo of real estate veterans shared tips for dealing with micromanaging sellers and when it’s time to walk away from a listing.

According to Sara Werner Costa, CEO of The Costa Group at Vanguard Properties, the first step is diagnosing if your seller is scared or, in actuality, just a jerk. If it’s the latter, it’s okay not to sign a listing agreement with that person because ultimately it could bog you down.

Sarah Werner Costa | Photo credit: Vanguard Properties,

“I studied psychology and the thing is, we have to tune into our client’s needs,” Costa said. “A lot of time, they’re just fearful. They’re fearful of losing control. They’re fearful of things going wrong.”

For sellers that are fearful, Costa explained that you need to set boundaries upfront. She emphasized the importance of self-care and making sure you’re in the right headspace — for that, she recommends meditation apps. If a client is willing to repeatedly break those boundaries, it’s okay to walk away, Costa said.

Costa also emphasized the need to deal with clients directly and not hide behind email. You need to ensure that the client knows you are an expert, by creating things like a seller care package, which her team adorns with a bow and fills with maps, brochures and various statements.

“We are the experts and they need to know that, by being their support system,” Costa said.

Caroline Bass, a real estate broker with Corcoran Group in New York City, says she attracts a lot of detail-oriented clients and has perfected her strategies in dealing with them, ensuring neither the seller or she, is stressed.

Caroline Bass | Photo credit: Corcoran

In her pitch package, Bass lays out her 12-point strategy, which includes a weekly feedback report. That report doesn’t just include the number of showings, but also data about the neighborhood, which she compiles from a website called UrbanDigs. That data includes active listings, off-market listings, contracts that month, price per square foot.

“I would strongly suggest adding this into your weekly reports if you haven’t already,” Bass said. “That way, my clients can see not just what the feedback is on their apartment, but where they fall in the greater market.”

Bass also makes sure to take pictures of everything — including things she knows won’t be included in the listing — to make sure the seller sees her doing her due diligence. She puts all the photos into an app for the seller. She also shares a preview of the listing with the seller beforehand, since they are the experts in knowing about the nuances of the home.

“We’re a partnership, we’re doing this together,” Bass said. “I want to make sure they are happy with what I wrote.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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