Bolster your confidence by preparing answers to these 7 common questions from sellers.
How experienced are you? – Strangely enough, many sellers never ask this question – they probably should, and you do need to let them know why they are in good hands with you. That might be your years of experience, the number of your listings that sold last year, the strength of your office. You want them to have faith in your ability during what may be a long process.
How much can I sell my home for? – This is the place sellers usually start. Often they have little knowledge of the real estate market and an inflated idea of what their home is worth. Your goal is to help them understand how the market is working in your area and how that market applies specifically to their home. It’s really an educational process. One of the best tools to help bring realistic sales prices into focus is with comparable prices of properties sold in the neighborhood. Help them understand how their property compares – both positively and negatively.
How much will I actually receive? – This question really shows how little they know about the real estate industry. How much they receive depends on many things in addition to the actual selling price. ,Probably the most important, their real equity including seconds, things like any liens or other surprises, plus any repair work they will need to pay for. Of course, they also want to know how much commission they’ll be paying. Take them step-by-step through this process to come up with some rough estimates.
How quickly will it sell? – Again, this reflects unfamiliarity with the local real estate market. You know if the market is hot, slow, or somewhere in between. All you can do is share what you know. This may also be an indication that for reasons they haven’t admitted, they want to sell in a hurry. Make sure you understand their thinking around timing.
What will you do to help it sell? – Here is your opportunity to explain how you advertise, hold open houses, use multiple listing services, both for their property and to attract buyers in general. You can also talk about staging and staging costs if that’s applicable.
Will you represent me exclusively? – This question is usually based on a vague understanding that agents may represent both sides of the deal. Unless you exclusively represent sellers, you’ll need to walk them through an understanding of your fiduciary responsibility to all parties.
How long will escrow take? – Ah if only we could answer this with certainty! There are so many moving parts in any real estate deal that predicting when an escrow will actually close is almost impossible. You can ease your seller’s mind by simply listing all the steps. Pay particular attention to the steps the seller must take, but don’t leave out the others, including yours.
Remember, real estate is a service business. Your job is to help your clients go through the process in reasonable comfort. Information is one of your most effective tools – particularly when you break it down into understandable chunks.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.