By Jeni Gunn
The best Realtors navigate house buying and selling objections with James Bond (or Charlize Theron) like class and elegance. Really, the objections boil down into two main categories, and these categories are the root of every other reason buyers and sellers provide:
You’re too busy, you have so many listings.
“The advantage to the more listings I have, the more signs I have on the street, the more calls I get from buyers. Did you know most of those buyers don’t buy the house they call about and ask to be shown other homes like yours?”
Would you reduce your commission? If I must take that much of a hit, I’ll just sell it myself.
“I can appreciate your frustration, but the reality is agents with resources work hard to sell homes, selling it yourself has more steps than you might realize, and I can create more competition through the brokerage community.”
“Agents prefer to show homes that are listed with professional agents who know how to get deals closed.”
“I understand, but I hate to see you lose a sale because a legal aspect was overlooked and the transaction didn’t get done.”
(For buyers) “The good news is that as the buyer, you don’t have to pay me a commission.”
We have a good friend in the business.”
“I can appreciate that, pretty much everyone knows a real estate agent. Did you know that 90% of the sales in our market are handled by just 10% of the agents? Is your friend in the 10%?”
“I hear you. Do you feel obligated to have your relative/friend represent you, or are you able to freely choose who you work with to find your next home?”
“I understand. My only question is, are you willing to risk your relationship if the job doesn’t get done? One of the benefits to working with me is I’m an objective professional that works for you.”
Remember, no matter how frustrating it can be to hear objections, never say “but” and always empathize and agree.
Never underestimate the power of humor to break the ice, remove the “salesperson” label and make an authentic connection. I’ll never forget a realtor I met at an open house who parried my panicked objection of “I’m just looking, not ready to buy.” With a wry, “If I had a nickel….I could buy a better suit.”
I didn’t buy a home that day, but I appreciated his humour, kept his card and when I am ready to buy, I’ll call him first.
When Realtors work with lawyers or notaries, they often have little contact with the person doing the conveyancing. For that reason, through no fault of their own, Realtors are often left without the full picture of the paperwork; the details to help their client’s transaction progress smoothly and problems that snarl up the process.
That’s why we felt it was time to get a conveyancer’s point of view on the real estate transaction, along with a few tips for Realtors.
We apologize in advance if we sound preachy or put-out, but we know you will appreciate knowing more about the challenges a conveyancer deals with almost every day delivered with a dollop of humour and a dash of forbearance!
By Jeni Gunn
1. Understand a real estate transaction has many moving parts outside a Realtor’s role. Often Realtors disappear once the sale is “done” and clients and other professionals are left abandoned or dropped mid-way though the transaction.
Advice: Get to know all the players along with their roles in the process, and keep in mind your job isn’t done just because the Contract of Purchase and Sale (CPS) gets passed to the lawyer or notary.
2. Be organized and professional. The industry is synced in such a way that if a ball gets dropped at the beginning of the process, it impacts everything down the line. I’ve seen realtors FORGET clients altogether, or have an incorrect possession date or provide wrong names on legal documents. These are small mistakes easily prevented with better organization.Advice: Please take a little extra time to check over all the details. You will waste less time and resources, plus prevent unnecessary client anxiety.
3. For Pete’s sake, know your clients NAME. Realtors live and breathe property addresses, and often don’t know their client’s names – especially in this brisk market. You’ll be shocked to know it’s a running joke in the legal side that the realtor can’t be bothered to learn the clients name even thought they make the most profit in the transaction.
Advice: Please don’t call asking for updates on 1234 Profit Lane, which a) isn’t helpful because law offices organize by last name. b) comes across as impersonal. After all, real estate is, at it’s foundation, a people business.
4. Review the title to the home IN DETAIL and provide copies of all charges on title before clients sign the CPS. The standard Contract of Purchase and Sale requires the seller to deliver title to the buyer clear of all encumbrances except those permitted by the agreement. (The seller’s obligation to deliver clear title.)
The seller can remove financial charges like mortgages, judgments and liens, non-financial charges usually stay on title despite changes of ownership. Many of these non-financial charges affect how an owner can use the property. Statutory rights-of-way, easements, and building schemes are good examples.
Advice: Spend a little more time revealing and interpreting these on-title charges for your client.
5. The calendar has 30 days. There is no need to close on the 15th and 30th. If Realtors avoid closing on those dates or even the weeks containing those dates, clients can avoid the stress of banking bottleneck delays, and competing for resources like moving trucks, utility hook-ups, and strata companies.
6. Realtors need to explain to their clients how the insurance works. According to the typical CPS, the buyer assumes the risk of the property at 12:01am on the day of closing and their insurance should take hold at 12:01 on that date not their move in or possession date. This is a common error, and results in the client’s exposure to liability without insurance.
7. Write and print clearly. Despite the claim of “paperless”, an astonishing 90 per cent of paperwork is still faxed. Often the CPS (contract of purchase and sale) is the first information the lawyer or notary sees with the client’s name and address on it. They must prepare legal documents based on what the realtors write here. If a name is misspelled or unclear, it’s embarrassing for the lawyer when the client comes in, and a huge hassle to change. Also, wording of conditions and subject-tos should be clear and leave no room for misinterpretation.
Advice: If you’re not detail oriented or you can’t write legibly, get assistance.
8. Don’t gloss over fees. Make sure clients know the cost of services with GST added on, not just as a per cent. Clients will not do the Math. They often discover just how much their realtor costs at the last minute when signing paperwork with the lawyer or Notary. I can’t tell you how many angry clients I’ve seen who’ve loudly proclaimed they’d NEVER work with a realtor again because the fees were not clear.
Advice: If you’re afraid your client will baulk at the total amount, remember, it’s better to prepare them up-front than to lose their future business over details so easily managed.
9. Any last-minute fee reductions or cash back incentives are dealt with outside the contract.
10. Communicate, communicate, and communicate: Get addendums taken care of quickly and ensure notary or lawyer receives them in a timely fashion. If you need an extension, don’t wait to the last minute to get that rolling. Make everyone aware of the extension and keep everyone in the loop about the changes.
Your lawyer or notary is a valuable part of your team that can help you look good and delight your client. After all, we want your future business too.
by Jeni Gunn
Every realtor knows human beings are wired to have an emotional response to our physical surroundings. The ancient Chinese philosophical system, Feng Shui makes a study of arranging environment to create or reinforce harmony and comfort. Even colours have a measurable effect on our psychology and can lend to that moment when a prospective buyer enters your client’s home and says, “It feels just right”.
Trying to convey to your client just how important psychology of environment really is, and how it impacts sales negotiations can be challenging. Ideally, you will convince them to hire a professional stager to best highlight their home and bring top dollar, but, not every seller understands the value of home staging. Too many labour under the misconception that their beloved home will sell itself, and they think it’s a good idea to model their home’s “personality. We’ve seen some realtors despair when their client insisted a high-resolution image of their regiment of garden gnomes be included in their listing
If you have a reluctant or suspicious seller that resists investing in what they feel is the hoodoo of home staging, try to start them off with these four simple and inexpensive staging ideas.
Corral the clutter
The coveted rock collection and family photos are distracting clutter that take the buyers attention away from the flow of the rooms, and any interesting architectural features. For the cost of a roll of tape, boxes and possibly renting a small storage space, encourage your sellers to pre-pack their treasures. Doing so will automatically increase the perceived dimensions of their home. Prepacking is also a simple step towards depersonalising the space and emotionally preparing for the inevitable move.
White it out
If your client is prepared to paint, you really can’t go wrong steering them towards white or bright neutral palate. Hotels are well known for using white to demonstrate how clean everything is.
A simple coat of white or neutral paint elevates the perceived value of the property, and creates a “move-in-ready” feel that buyers are willing to pay top dollar for. White signifies clean, fresh, and new.
Light it up
Electricity isn’t free, but it’s easy to convince people to turn on their lights for photographs and for showings. Encourage them to include accent lights to really set the scene. It’s simple to place them strategically to add drama or illuminate shadowy corners.
Completely retracting blinds or removing window coverings will let in as much as fifty percent more natural light.
A clear window will enhance the view, and create that sense of openness and space. Encourage your sellers to pack away any curtains or window-hangings that are somewhat dated, and let the window frame be the highlight.
Mow and Mulch
In addition to a freshly moved lawn, mulch adds instant curb appeal. Mulch is inexpensive, comes in a variety of shades and textures and adds immediate look of cultivated freshness to scraggly, dry or unkempt garden beds.
Ordered by the load or purchased in bags, mulch is lightweight and perfect for last minute staging.
Suggest these four approaches to your clients to give them a taste of how home staging can add to the real and perceived value of their home and ultimately garner both them, and you, top dollar.
Greater Victoria realtors have an unusual problem.
It’s not buyers. Every time you turn around, you bump into another buyer desperate to call Victoria their home; willing to do anything to have a chance to bid for a new listing. Realtors have plenty of time to carefully select buyers, ensure they qualify for a mortgage and keep them enthusiastic to buy in Greater Victoria.
What you don’t have is inventory to sell. It’s a frustrating situation - like waiting in line for hours at Best Buy to get the latest iPhone only to finally get in and find all the shelves empty.
It’s a beautiful city with an uplifting environment, marvelous lifestyle. It's sad your buyers can’t move here. After awhile, it’s no wonder you're dealing with an attrition of buyer’s interest.
With a market approaching a one to one ratio of active listing to licensed agent, there are plenty of realtors without listings. To compete, you need to be a bit different, to stand out from the crowd.Here are four simple ideas from a marketer who is not a realtor. Let me know if they are useful. Be sure to tell me if I’m being naïve. The beauty of articles from a marketer is this. I don’t mind sharing what I know and learn (except for any information you share with me under a non-disclosure agreement – something I insist on signing before I work with you).
Solve a Seller’s Problem
Even though it’s a seller’s market, a seller still wants to get as much from the sale of their home as possible. If you show them Before and After photo of a home renovation, or demonstrate how you can help them declutter and stage a home for sale, you will immediately be solving a problem sellers may not even now they have. It’s worth having a section on your site demonstrating how you work with them.
Be Sure You Are Showing Up Regularly.
If you have a list of contacts and/or past clients you’ve tucked away in the drawer somewhere, it’s time to pull them out and get busy staying top-of-mind. That family you sold to four years ago may be thinking of selling and moving, or know friends who are. If you’re struggling to stay on top of your newsletters, social posting, blogs or news release, I can help.
Invite A High-Profile Guest to Write on Your Website/Blog
Who is a local expert that you admire? Who is doing work you respect? Even if that person isn’t in real estate, it’s a great opportunity to offer someone else a chance to be published to a new audience, and they, in turn, will promote your website blog or vlog by sharing it with their circles of influence.
Be the Oprah of Real Estate in Victoria
Interview that high-profile, local expert. Ask one of your clients a few questions. Or talk to your latest seller about how they came to be working with you. It’s easy to record a video on your phone once you start the habit. Stop worrying about the little details. Just dive in and get started. If you don’t have the time or you’re shy, I’d be delighted to represent you, conduct the interview and create the video for you.
Sponsor a cause that matters to you.
A financial planner friend of mine found the largest part of his business from sponsoring his curling league. He didn’t just show up. He paid some money to help the league promote itself, and he supported their mission. He originally committed to a year of service, but ended up supporting his league for five years. As people came to know him, doing business with him wasn’t even a question.
From rescue animals to cancer to children’s literacy, connect your cause to your brand. Don’t just do it once. Commit to it for at least a year. You’ll find it a financially worthwhile endeavor, but even more importantly, you’ll have some fun along the way!
I love real estate, but I'm not a realtor. That allows me to bring you the best information, ideas and marketing practices I've discovered, built and implemented with my real estate clients.
I'm a Victoria based creative writer and editor with a background in acting, investigation and content strategy. I walk the fine line between wrestling words into submission and encouraging language to come to life.