Thanks to the Internet, clients have a wealth of information available at their fingertips. The downside is that not all of the information available is accurate or up-to-date, and many clients are unsure of how to interpret what they find in well-meaning articles online. Sometimes clients’ research and expectations are so far from reality that REALTORS® would be better off starting from scratch.
Managing expectations can be tough for even the most seasoned agents, but with a few tips, this frustrating process can be a bit easier—maybe even fun.
Learn from reality TV
While real estate reality TV shows can be a pain (the DIY movement has done horrors to resale values), there is something that we can learn from them. Once you verbally make an effort to adjust clients’ expectations, back it up with an undeniable example like on Property Virgins: show clients their dream home and then show them the price tag. True, it can be soul crushing, but it’s a guaranteed way to cut to the chase. They will know that you’re listening to their requests, and they will know what their requests will cost them. If they can ante up to the price—fabulous! If not, you can sit down to the table that same day and readjust their expectations.
Mark Fischer of Mark Fischer Home Team recently ended what could’ve been a perfectly reasonable deal. After the inspection, the buyers’ agent assured her clients that they could request an upgraded roof, new siding, and replacements for three fully functioning HVAC systems.
“The inspection report did not recommend replacing of any of those items. The property had only been on the market for two days. It was already competitively priced. The sellers were getting other offers; they weren’t desperate. That REALTOR® should’ve managed her clients’ expectations better,” says Mark. “Those people missed out on a great opportunity by trying to turn an existing property into a new home.”
As an agent, you want to play hardball for your clients, but you can’t forget to base stipulations upon conditions such as the sellers’ sense of urgency, market conditions, inspection reports and, of course, comparable homes in the area.
Call an intervention
When clients don’t agree on a budget, you may find yourself in the middle of a tug-of-war. Many clients disagree on a budget because they haven’t set a budget! This isn’t always a preliminary step in their process. It may help to recommend the following resources.
- Many banks offer online budgeting tools to anyone with online banking for their checking or savings account.
- Clients may also consider Mint, a free online tool that allows users to link financial accounts and automatically import and categorize expenses. Mint offers graphs and charts to help visual learners.
- BudgetPulse is a good alternative for those who don’t want a program linked to their personal accounts. It requires more manual input but offers comparable results and more customization.
What methods have helped you to manage your clients’ expectations?
Today’s guest post comes to us from Erica Rascón, an online content developer and contributing editor for The Balance Sheet — the Yardi corporate blog.