In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This spring, go Back to Basics with Inman.
Handling the objections of buyer and seller clients has become part of the norm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many buyers are not feeling secure with their economic status, and sellers are not convinced the best time to sell is during a pandemic.
I’ve encountered many buyers and sellers that want to wait until after the pandemic ends. And, with states beginning to open back up, there is some normalcy on the horizon, but experts expect the virus to return in the fall. If that happens, we will have the same objections in the fall that we have now.
It’s in our best interest as real estate agents to understand our clients’ fears and help them be more at ease with a decision to move forward instead of waiting.
Here are six common objections and ideas on how to handle them.
‘I don’t think now is a good time to list’
Depending on your area, you may not have seen much of a change in sales activity since shelter-in-place orders went into effect. With many states deeming real estate essential, business continued with safety measures put in place. The biggest challenge for many of us is the lack of inventory.
If your sellers want to wait until after restrictions lift, they will be listing with the masses and may not stand out. It is better to list now while many buyers are shopping online. Buyers are favoring homes they want to see once they feel it’s safe to venture out.
There are a lot of buyers out there who are moving forward during the current crisis. In the past week, the Hilton Head area of South Carolina saw 107 homes come on the market, and 107 go under contract. Other regions are reporting multiple offers and above asking price contracts. Much of these are due to low inventory, so listing now would be a better strategy in the long run.
‘I don’t want people who may be sick going through my home’
This is a valid concern for properties that are not vacant. But, precautions can be put into place to overcome this objection.
If the seller is willing to allow buyers to tour their home, consider a sanitizing station at the door. I have baggies with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for anyone that does not have their own.
Many buyers agents are requiring masks and are providing them to clients who do not have their own. Agents are wearing gloves and not allowing buyers to open cabinets or doors without their gloves.
If your seller is still not convinced that showings can be safe, consider virtual showings. In this case, you, the buyer’s agent, or the homeowner, could FaceTime a walk-through or record a virtual walk-through for any interested buyers.
‘Nothing is selling right now’
Potential sellers assume nothing is selling right now because they are not up to date with the real estate market. The easiest way to overcome this objection is with current facts and figures from your local MLS. Most areas are not seeing a significant decline in sales at the moment.
‘I’m afraid I may lose my job after I’m under contract’
With an estimated 30 million-plus unemployment claims, this is a concern for many buyers.
The best way to overcome this objection is to make sure your buyer has a finance contingency that allows for their earnest money deposit returned should they not be able to qualify for a loan due to a job loss. If the job loss is temporary, the parties may be able to work around it through a delay in closing. Either way, the finance contingency will protect your buyer.
‘I am afraid the homes I tour won’t be sanitized’
Both buyers and sellers have the same concern when it comes to touring homes. As a buyers agent, make sure you always have masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. You can open doors, cupboards and closets for your clients so that they don’t have to touch anything.
In the alternative, you can always video your walk-through. If the buyer loves a property, they can still make an offer contingent on personally viewing the property. That way, they will only visit one property physically.
‘I’m afraid my equity will decrease, and I’ll be upside down in my mortgage’
The buyers with this fear remember 2008 and the loss of equity after the housing crash. This is not 2008, and there are no indications that property values will decline. Many areas are seeing the opposite. Property values are appreciating due to a lack of inventory.
If your buyer fears loss in equity, use your MLS and national data to ease their concerns.
The bottom line is that these types of objections are going to be with us for a while and may become our new normal. Finding ways to ease the minds of our clients is just another way we will need to pivot.
Missy Yost is a Realtor with Century21 Diamond Realty in Bluffton, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter.