See Possibilities in Every Listing

Have an open mind when showing your buyers potential homes; a bad attitude can backfire.

October 1, 2004

Think twice before criticizing a listing in front of your buyer. Negativity can backfire, eroding buyer confidence and possibly even leading your buyer to seek the help of a more upbeat practitioner.

You have no idea of the opportunities you and your buyer can miss when you turn up your nose at a certain home or avoid showing homes on certain streets and in certain neighborhoods. Your buyers want you to show them the possibilities, not to make decisions about which or what kind of home they should buy. And if your buyers happen not to agree with you, they may lose confidence in you.

The real estate industry is powerful enough to make whole neighborhoods prosper or decline. You've seen it happen, and you may be contributing to it right now. One neighborhood will suddenly become "hot," while another, nearly identical neighborhood languishes. Why? The first area caught fire among real estate practitioners, who build more sales by fanning buyer interest.

Don’t Follow the Crowd

But there’s a danger in flocking to the “hot” area of your city and disregarding homes in other neighborhoods. The hottest areas may not be the right fit for your buyer for any number of reasons, such as the price of homes, property taxes, parking problems, or schools.

And if you’re less than enthusiastic about the areas better suited to your client, you’ll end up showing homes in those neighborhoods with a bad attitude that could infect your buyer. So train yourself to see the possibilities in every home, even if lacks features you consider important.

When you’re looking at homes from your multiple listing service, there always will be some that are overpriced, under-maintained, in a poor location, or otherwise buyer-unfriendly. So don't expect homes to be move-in ready, and teach your buyers not to expect perfection either.

Here's what most practitioners forget: All homes will eventually sell for the right price to the right buyer. Trying to fit all your buyers into a perfect, easy-to-sell home is simply unrealistic. For that reason alone, it’s not your place as a salesperson to refuse to show an overpriced listing, or a listing on a busy street, or one that hasn't been updated, because your buyer may actually be the right buyer for one of those homes.

Buyers Defy Their Own Preferences

You can't predict which home will make your buyer fall in love. You ask for a buyer’s preferences to get a starting point, but don't assume those preferences are set in stone.

Buyers looking in a certain price range may find they can buy a bigger house if they compromise on location or condition. And buyers who want a home in perfect condition may have to compromise on location or price.

Or, you may find that the house you thought your client would never buy reminds him of his childhood home. Suddenly, it doesn't matter that the house needs a ton of work; that's the house for him.

The goal is to be more flexible, but not to the point where you are feigning enthusiasm. That can be just as deadly as being negative if your buyer picks up on it. Just remember that most negatives in any home can be changed and it is up to the buyer to make the decision to take on the job or not.

It's not your job to judge the housing inventory, but to show it and sell it. Let the market—the buyers—do the judging.

(c) Copyright 2004 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

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