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A conversation between two high profile, top-grossing Los Angeles-based real estate agents — Aaron Kirman of Compass and Tami Pardee of Pardee Properties — offered a master class on sellers’ psyches, and how to navigate them back to something resembling reality, on Monday morning at Luxury Connect in Las Vegas.
“Every seller thinks they have the best house on the best street in the best neighborhood,” Kirman told moderator Katie Kossev. “I can give Academy Award speeches about why their house isn’t worth 30 percent more, but the real trick is conversation. I say, ‘Let’s talk about the path of overpricing versus not,’ and how in overpricing, they are actually getting left behind.”
“I look at negatives [of a house] before I look at positives,” Kirman explained. “I say to them, ‘What is going to be the difficult aspect of selling this house?’ I might say, ‘You’re on the wrong street in the wrong neighborhood, you’re not going to get what you want.’ Sellers appreciate it.”
Pardee also counseled on the value of building trust with sellers. One of her key tactics: not pushing towards a deal if the deal isn’t there. “People want to be seen at the end of the day,” she said. “If they’re not getting the price they want, I’ll suggest to them that we rent it. That’s okay! I’m not looking at commission. I’m looking at what’s best for their life. I’m here to support them on their journey. I earn a lot of loyalty, and a lot of referrals, because people see I really care about what happens to them.”
But Pardee said she isn’t afraid to use real-world data to move sellers to reality, too. “People have such an emotional attachment to their home, they sometimes don’t want to hear it,” she said.
“So I set the expectation,” she continued, “telling them that we’ll revisit the price in two or three weeks based on showings and tractions. If we’re getting no showings, we’ll agree that means we’re 10-15 percent overpriced. If we’re getting showings but no offers, we’re 5-7 percent overpriced. And then that gives me a path to revisit the price without upsetting them.”
Both superstar agents agreed that the power to walk away from a possible listing is one of the most powerful tools agents have at their disposal.
“We have the option of not taking listings,” Kirman explained. “I walk away from listings 60 percent of the time. If sellers are unrealistic, I’d rather walk away in round one, and be the second or third agent. Let someone else work on it. Often we sell a house that’s been on the market six months or a year in a few weeks because someone else did the heavy lift already.”
“I said to one guy, ‘I want to be your second agent.’ Later he called me: ‘I’m ready for my second agent!,” Pardee related to laughter in the audience.
As the panel continued, the agents riffed on other tricks they use to move sellers to reality.
“I listen to people and parrot back what they are saying,” Pardee said. “I say, ‘I hear you saying you want $5.5 million.’ It helps people change their minds, when they see exactly what they’re saying.”
Pardee said she’s also not afraid to dress to impress each particular client. “I Google everyone I go see. I dress according to the house I’m going to see. If it’s a rock star, I am going to look like a rock star. If it’s someone conservative, I’ll dress conservatively. I want to know about them, I want to know their kids.”
Kirman, who said he wears the same t-shirts to meet every client, laughed with respect. “We take opposite approaches, but they both work really well. I am myself every time. I call it Know Your People: some people are your people, and some aren’t. Target the ones that will be yours.”
Pardee offered her own system that she says has changed the game for her Venice, CA-based brokerage. “We call it GAAL: Gratitude, Acceptance, Acknowledgement, and Love. That’s how we do everything in our company.”
Concluded Kirman, “A one-sized approach is something agents do wrong. I just want to connect.”