- You the REALTOR®, you walk into a potential listing and the home has a few (hundred) too many items in the house. What do you say to the seller?
- The seller wants $75,000 more than the home is worth. Do you tell them the advice they got from their hairdresser neighbor or uncle from another town is a mile off?
- The house is dirty, messy and has a bad smell (Big Dog). Do you say lovely home, I am sure it will sell fast or do you tell it to them straight?
- The orange bathroom walls and hot pink bedroom carpet is not going to be popular among buyers. Do you say lovely choice of colors or do you talk about neutralizing?
These are among some of the basics we as REALTORS® deal with on a daily basis. If you are a professional, you need to be honest and tell them the truth up front. You also need to be diplomatic and not hurt feelings or insult anyone. You are speaking about their home. You are however an expert and they brought you in to help them, not stroke their ego.
Being professional includes preparing clients for the process ahead and keeping them informed. I tell clients I would rather tell them the truth up front and not stand in front of them three months from now making lame excuses. A true test of a professional is you ability to say no without insulting someone. Most people understand no. What really makes them angry is being mislead and later having to deal with the damages.
We are dealing with the most expensive item in their lives in most cases and we need to treat it as such.
To address clutter, I discuss making the space look as big as we can. I also talk about what they loved about the home when they bought it and discuss how we can make the home better show that to potential buyers. We also need to allow buyers to envision the home with their stuff in it. If the walls are filled with family pictures and shelves have a ton of collectables they will not be able to place themselves in there. In some cases bringing in a professional stager may be the solution. If the seller does not except my advice, they may accept it from a staging professional.
The pet question is a big one. Many pet owners are immune to the smell. I delicately discuss that many buyers do not have pets and detect the smell easily. I also mention that many buyers and/or their children have allergies to pet dander and fur. Hopefully when I begin the discussion, they pick up on it and make it easier for me.
The loud colors I handle with my famous speech about staging. I tell sellers there is two ways to stage a home. We can stage it to live in it and we can stage it to sell. Staging to sell requires that we neutralized and depersonalize. I have had a few clients resist by telling my how much they love something. In the most tactful way I can I remind them they are not going to be living here and we need to prepare it for the new owners. In most cases the sellers have gone with my suggestions and we have had a successful sale. In two cases they held their guns and the sell price was less than I felt we might have gotten, and it took longer to sell. In both cases, I gave my professional advice and then accepted the seller's decision. It is their home and their choice in the end.
If sellers are completely unreasonable are not willing to price the home within reason or make any effort to make it sellable, I then do the most professional thing I can. I do not take the listing. This is hard for most agents to do, but there are times when you will not be able to help them.
In one case where I rejected a listing, the seller respected me for doing it and agreed to my recommendations. To this day we are good friends and has not only been a repeat client, but has sent me referrals.
Good luck and good selling!
Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®
Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR
Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"
Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers. His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area. His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.
Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors. To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents.