If sellers are getting anxious, Rachael Hite offers communication tips to help them feel better about their odds of a timely sale during a market shift.

1. Provide sellers with the most up-to-date micro-market data. Your MLS should have all the information you need.  Do not tell them they are overreacting, that will just add fuel to the fire.

Here’s an example:

You are right Susan. Your home is sitting longer than your neighbor’s property that sold in March. Market data shows that days on market was ## in May, and now it is averaging about ##. At the same time, interest rates have made your house’s monthly mortgage payment more expensive, which is probably the reason it will sit slightly longer. Do not stress. In most markets, inventory is still quite low and while it may take longer to obtain a contract, it is not impossible. 

2. The market timing is definitely difficult to tackle, but there are a few things you can do to research what constitutes a reasonable amount of time before you drop the price on the property. Showings will be a telling factor. If the property is getting showings but no offers, your price point is within reason.

If the property has very few showings and poor feedback, it is important to share that information with your clients so that they have a realistic picture of what the market data is telling them.   

3. Turn back time. The DOMs for certain areas will give you a window into reasonable marketing timelines for the property prior to the frenzy of the last few years. In the past, it was not uncommon to take a few weeks or months to sell a property, especially if it was unique or needed significant repairs. Pull these reports so that you can help paint a more realistic picture of marketing timelines for the property.

4. Do not cut corners. In shifting markets, it is important for agents and sellers to ensure that the property is ready before it goes on the market.  If margins are tight, there are four affordable and fast things clients can do to significantly help the home show better.

  • Deep cleaning
  • Caulking
  • Power washing
  • Mulch  

As the market cools, just doing the bare minimum on the property will not sit well with buyers — especially if they feel they are paying a premium. Encourage your sellers to be ready to roll up their sleeves. 

The same advice goes to agents in terms of marketing. Invest in professional photography, make sure measurements are accurate and put together a solid HOA/information package. No more cutting corners because the market is moving “too fast” or marketing isn’t necessary. 

Wrapping up

You don’t have to be a blind optimist, but you do need to be a calm voice of reason for your clients. If you are feeling anxious, do not let your anxiety match theirs.

Take extra care with feedback for your clients, and set up a weekly check-in to keep them informed of what is happening.  It’s time to dial back up the customer service on listings. The frenzy is subsiding back into more normal marketing timelines.

By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting and blogging. Feel free to tweet her @rachaelhite.

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