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How to Turn Concessions Into Painkillers

July 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Keep the deal moving by smoothing out seller concessions.

From time to time you’ll be involved in a negotiation with a buyer who wants your seller to cover an unanticipated cost. This might be a specific repair, a home warranty, or some other concession. If your seller already feels like they’re taking a beating on their listing price, these little concessions can be the straw that breaks their back. Often an “almost done” deal can quickly turn into a stalemate between entrenched seller and nickel-and-diming buyer.

One strategy that may make these concessions palatable to your seller (assuming you feel they are reasonable requests) is to remind your seller of the reasons they’re motivated to sell in the first place. If they’re carrying two mortgages, need to get relocated before school starts, or has recently taken a new job at the other end of a three hour drive, now is the time to remind them why they want to sell their home.

1. Be empathetic. Acknowledge that their reaction to the concession is valid, and offer your sympathy.

2. Don’t bad-mouth the buyer. Even if you think it’s a raw deal, speaking ill of the buyer might be the little extra comment that convinces your seller not to budge.

3. Remind them of their pain. “Judy, I know you’re anxious about being settled before school starts, and you had anticipated being in your new home by now. It’s up to you whether not making this concession is worth delaying a clean start to the year.” Or, if math works on your side: “Tom, while I recognize it’s irritating to be expected to replace the stove, you might consider the cost of carrying the house an additional month or more if the buyer is unwilling to let this concession go.”

People lose perspective during transactions. A professional coolly reminds them of their “big picture” goals and helps guide them back on the path.

[Check out a great communication & marketing system for working with your clients.]

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Shifting Real Estate Clients to a Neighborhood State of Mind

July 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Help clients see the big (local) picture.

Buy the neighborhood. If you find yourself with a client who seems unduly focused on the size and amenities of homes on the market, you might want to spend a little time helping them see the big picture in terms of neighborhood benefits.

Often first-time buyers suffer from this tunnel vision that focuses almost exclusively on the home. If you run into this “biggest house with the best features on the biggest lot I can buy” mentality, you have an excellent opportunity to start a neighborhood conversation which can, in the long run, make your client happier with the home they eventually own.

Here are four excellent questions to ask your client in order to get a “neighborhood conversation” going:

1. Tell me, if you had to choose between a smaller home and a longer commute, which would you choose?

2. How important is it to you to be able to walk to grocery stores, restaurants, and other local businesses?

3. Are you concerned about having access to sidewalks and parks?

4. What about your current neighborhood bothers you? What do you like about it?

While buying the neighborhood may seem obvious to you, many clients haven’t taken a step back to consider the big picture of home ownership.

Here’s a great article from HGTV you can also share with them to get neighborhood conversations going:

http://www.frontdoor.com/Buy/How-To-Choose-A-Neighborhood/1162

[Click here to learn about a system agents use to follow-up with first-time buyers!]

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Your Value as an Agent

March 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Scott’s Thoughts: Justifying Your Value
Your value now is higher than ever…
“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.” –Red Adair, Oil Well Firefighter (1915 – 2004)

Red Adair is best known for his uncanny talent at putting out the most dangerous fires in the world: oil well fires. You can bet than when the owner of an oil well sees a plume of raging fire and black smoke where an oil well used to be, he doesn’t break out the garden hose to try and do it himself. A professional is well worth the money.

As a real estate professional, you’ve probably had to justify your value to skeptical sellers from time to time. From your neighborhood FSBO shopping for free help on CMAs to the college kid who believes everything can be learned on the internet in ten minutes, you’re sure to find yourself backed into a corner now and again.

In a boom market, it might be more difficult to justify your value, especially when the good old days of overbidding and multiple offers were the norm. But what we’re in now? This is an oil fire market, and it calls for professionals.

More than ever, sellers need sniper-accurate pricing advice. They need someone who can help protect them legally. And without a doubt, they require someone who can act as a steady, emotional buffer when the house is on the market. Without a smart, level-headed professional, a listing in this market can turn into a full-blown disaster.

Don’t let a down market fool you into devaluing your professional skills. Now, more than ever, your clients need your guidance.

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Why Buyers Hate a House

January 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For Your Prospects: Why Buyers Hate a House
10 Things to Look For
house

Since we know educating sellers is a great way to continue to build rapport (and hopefully land a listing), you might find the following template email and link to the article “Top 10 Ways to Make Home Buyers Hate Your House” as a useful way to continue the conversation with a prospect.

Feel free to copy, modify, or tailor this email template to meet your needs:

Dear [CLIENT FIRST NAME],

Part of my job as an agent is making sure your home is primed to attract buyers. As you start to think about your home as an asset you’re preparing for sale, you might find the following article informative:

Top 10 Ways to Make Home Buyers Hate Your House
http://homebuying.about.com/od/howtosellahome/a/buyer_peeves.htm

Please don’t take the title personally. I’m not suggesting your house has the problems listed here, but it will help you objectively evaluate your property by providing a checklist of reasons buyers might not give a listing a fair chance.

I certainly want to give you every possible edge and look forward to talking with you soon.

[YOUR SIGNATURE]

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client education

What is the Value of a Real Estate Agent?

January 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

For Your Prospects: The Value of a Real Estate Professional
A free leave-behind for prospective clients…

Real estate agents sometimes face an unfair battle when it comes to justifying their value as a professional. Many sellers think a real estate transaction takes as much work as selling a used car on Craigslist, and are perfectly willing to try and negotiate their way out of paying for professional service.

(Watch a funny safe-for-work video about how well this would go over in other businesses:)


Part of the problem is education: Clients don’t have an appreciation for how many ways a real estate professional contributes to a smooth transaction.

To help you educate new clients, download this eye-opening guide so you can either email it to a prospective client, or print it out and provide it at a listing presentation:

“The Real Estate Transaction in 180 Steps: What Your REALTOR(R) Does for You”
Based on a list prepared by Belton Jennings RCE CAE CIPS, CEO of the Orlando Regional REALTOR(R) Association

Download the PDF now.

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video-tn

client education

Most Bang for the Buck on Inherited Homes

January 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Q&A: Improvement for an Inherited Home?
Counsel sellers to get the most bang for their buck…
inherited home

Q: Where should a seller interested in a sale on an inherited home spend improvement money?

A: As the parents of baby boomers pass on, this question is on the minds of many sellers who find themselves with an inherited home that could use a little T.L.C. The question is, where?

If your seller is interested in selling an inherited home and wants the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to improving the property, the focus should be on curb appeal.

While renovated kitchens and bathrooms were big return sources during the housing boom, your top goal with this sort of property is getting prospective buyers off the street and interested in the house.

However, there are two major pitfalls with interior improvements on quick-sale, inheritance listings:

  1. Sellers of inherited properties are usually focused on getting the most money out of the house as fast as possible. This means a strong push for fast, cheap renovation. We all know that the word “fast” and “renovation” don’t belong in the same sentence! Renovations can drag on, and depending on the market, the home can be losing value during the renovation. Add to this the fact that shoddy renovation can actually have the opposite effect on a buyer’s impression of a property.
  2. A quality interior renovation of one part of a house can quickly reveal the flaws of the rest of the house. Just put a Viking range in a kitchen with an avocado-colored Kitchenaid refrigerator from 1972 and you’ll see what we mean. Soon your buyers will be saying, “Well, the appliances look great, but if the cabinets were replaced the kitchen would be perfect. Maybe if the seller will replace the cabinets I’d consider it.” Partial renovation of a dated home can be the first domino in a long line of improvements.

Granted, this advice can vary based on niche market conditions and property specifics. But dollar-for-dollar, curb appeal improvements will help differentiate the home from others in the area and turn Saturday drive-bys into phone calls. (It’s hard to see that new toilet from the road!)

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Free Cost of Living Comparison Tool

November 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Q&A: Cost of Living Comparison
Free data builds relationships…
Q: Where can I find a quick cost of living comparison calculator?

A: Sperling’s Best Places.net has a fast, customizable cost of living calculator that will show you the cost of living change between two cities and tell you how a salary compares to one city versus another. The site also compares cities in over 100 other categories. This is a useful way to connect with prospects who are thinking of relocating to your area. Here’s how you do it:

1. Ask your prospect where they currently live, and offer to send them a complimentary “quick look” at the cost of living change should they locate to your city.

2. Ask them if they would (optionally) like to disclose their current household income to give a more accurate dollar-for-dollar comparison. (Be sure to proceed delicately here; if you think this might overstep your bounds, assume a low-to-average salary as an example.)

3. Plug the information into the cost-of-living calculator at: http://www.bestplaces.net/COL/

4. Copy the information on the results page into an email that you can send the prospect. You can either take a screenshot, print the information as a PDF file, or simply highlight and paste the information into your response.

Alternately, you can simply send clients the link to the cost of living calculator.

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