Buyer Psychology: Beat the Fear Factor

Many of the issues that delay closings come down to legal issues or dollars and cents, but fear and uncertainty about the market can also cause a buyer or seller to pull back.

August 1, 2010

"Consumers are facing a crisis in trust" because of the trauma they experienced during the economic meltdown, says Dr. David Sachs, a training and supervising analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center in Philadelphia.

If people buying a home seem emotionally conflicted, you must do more than simply convince them that now is a good time to buy.

"Sympathize with their understandable fear," Sachs says. "You should show that you find their concerns realistic."

Only then should you try to address any specific issues they have about this particular home or transaction, he says. "Because any big decision has unavoidable risks, the final decision requires a leap of faith," he says.

One technique for reducing buyers’ fear is to reinforce their decision, even after the closing is scheduled, says Gee Dunsten of Gee Dunsten Seminars in Salisbury, Md. Let buyers know if other homes in the area sold at or above the price they’re paying to reinforce that they’re getting a good deal.

Similarly, you can reassure sellers by providing the specifics of a few comparable homes that have sold at about the same amount. "This keeps them committed to the transaction," Dunsten says.

Mariwyn Evans

Mariwyn Evans is a former REALTOR® Magazine writer and editor, covering both residential brokerage and commercial real estate topics.