Tips for Working With First Time Sellers in a Tough Market

Agent Working with First Time Seller

Novice Seller X: “You mean I’m going to lose money on this sale?

First-time sellers can experience quite a shock when putting their homes on the market. Stunned by low prices and big competition, novice sellers quickly realize the economic climate has changed drastically since their initial purchases. A buyer’s market still prevails in most areas of the country, which can be harsh news for sellers and their pocketbooks.

Steering first time sellers through such a difficult market can be trying for even the most experienced agents. How can an agent provide the best guidance to a novice seller in a tight market?

Focus on education and communication and also consider the following guidelines for enhancing relationships with first-time sellers:

Resolve price conflicts

Sellers obviously want a big sale price – so do their agents.

But novice sellers need to know that an unrealistic listing price can keep a home from getting the attention it deserves. Placing a home in an inflated price range strands the listing from appropriate buyers. The “days on market” counter ticks along, each passing day shrinking the odds of a sale.

Encourage reasonable expectations with a thorough analysis of comparable sales. Keep the lines of communication open to ensure all parties are on the same page. After suggesting a listing price, ask for feedback from your sellers. Listen carefully for any hint of uncertainty, and do your best to resolve any wavering.

Tell, don’t assume

Agents spend an enormous amount of time in other people’s homes. That time translates to expertise. Veteran agents know what scents will immediately turn off a buyer and what shade of gray can warm a staid space.

Novice sellers often aren’t as well-equipped when it comes to preparing a home for sale. The value of a clean, un-cluttered home isn’t apparent to all, and some sellers fail to realize the importance of easy showings.

Take it upon yourself to clarify the basic rules of selling. Stress the importance of curb appeal, cleanliness and making a home available for showings.

Discuss market conditions

Agents know that it’s imperative to follow local market trends. Those trends will influence negotiations and the way a property is marketed. Lean markets may require more seller contributions, while hot markets could flood a seller with multiple offers.

Make sure your first-time seller is aware of local market trends and understands how those trends will affect marketing and selling of the property. Let a seller know when it’s essential to pay closing costs or to throw in appliances to lure in a buyer. Have these conversations during the early stages of the process and present data to back up your position.

Carefully explore motivations

Agents put a lot of work into marketing a property. That time, effort and money can be lost on a seller who declines every offer or loses interest in selling.

Make sure you understand why first-time sellers are listing a property. Is a family being relocated, making a sale imminent? Or is a client tossing their home on the market just out of curiosity?

By exploring a seller’s motivations, you can make strategic listing decisions and focus your resources on projects that can add value to your business.

Photo courtesy of Joe Houghton