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Prepare Yourself for Buyer Concerns

May 16, 2018

Posted by

Tom Hopkins

My life's work has been to change the image of the stereotypical salesperson into that of sales "professional." Selling real estate is an honorable profession in which you get to help people make Read more

Only in a dream world would your buyers walk through a property and say, “It’s perfect. We love it -- wouldn’t change a thing.  How soon can we close?”  But that’s the dream many real estate agents have and hold onto.  They’re like lottery junkies.  Because they keep hoping that dream will come true, they often fail to prepare well for reality.

The reality is that just about everyone you speak with will have concerns of some sort or another about every property they see.  Champion real estate professionals not only understand this, they acknowledge it, expect to hear it and prepare for the most common objections or concerns they’re likely to hear.

If you haven’t yet achieved Champion status in your company or your area, invest a little time in thinking through the most common scenarios you encounter.  Decide in advance how you would like to handle them.  Then, practice the best strategies for responding to them.  Remember, you always need to look at and show the positive aspects of every property from the buyer’s perspective.

Addressing Concerns

In my own experience as a real estate agent, there were about four or five concerns that came up over and over again.  Until I learned how to handle them, they often stopped the forward motion of my sales and I ended up taking potential buyers to see more homes than I had originally anticipated.  Not knowing how to address those common concerns had a negative impact on my ability to serve more clients.  I was spending too much time with each client and I needed to get better in three critical areas:

1.)  Finding homes that met my client’s needs;

2.)  Employing strategies for showing the homes; and

3.)  Addressing those concerns I was hearing over and over again.

One of the early lessons I learned was not to jump into answering every concern as soon as it came up.  When I was doing that, I spent nearly all my time with clients in that aspect of the sales process.  It wore me out.  It was like playing in a grueling tennis match.  They’d volley a concern.  I’d rush to answer it.  They’d volley another.  I’d jump topics and try to address that one.  It was both exhausting and non-productive.

Your goal when you first hear a concern or an objection about a property is to get the clients talking.  Get them to elaborate on what they mean.  The next time you hear what might be a sale-stopping concern say, “I see that is a concern for you.  Would you mind elaborating on it for me?”  Then, be quiet and let them talk.  Sometimes they’ll talk themselves right through it and answer their own concern.  Or the non-objecting spouse might answer it, given the opportunity.  Another thing that could happen would be that something else entirely different comes up that needs to be addressed as well.  The more you can get them talking, elaborating and explaining what they want in a home, the better.

Common Objections

In this article, I’ll cover some common objections you are likely to hear and provide some suggestions for the best ways to handle them.

“We really wanted another bedroom.”

When they say this, what does it really tell you?  They don’t need another bedroom.  They want it.  They were really hoping for it, but the odds are good they can’t afford a home with that fourth or fifth bedroom based on the parameters they gave you.  To address this concern, remind them of the specifications they gave you when you first spoke with them.

“John, Mary, I know when we first talked, you were hoping to find a home where you could possibly have a fourth bedroom.  Knowing inventory the way I do, I’ve done everything in my power to find a property with that fourth bedroom.  However, I have to weigh something like that with what is more important to you -- having that fourth bedroom, or having a home with the three bedrooms that you really need and can afford.  I don’t want to put you under any financial pressure.  If I encourage you to stretch beyond the limits you’ve given me, I’m not doing the job you asked me to do, am I?”

At this point, your buyers are either going to be grateful to you for sticking with the parameters they gave you or they’ll change their tune a bit -- giving you permission to show them something that might be a little higher investment.  Maybe they really can stretch a bit more but were nervous about giving you their maximum amount when you first talked.

“I don’t feel we’ve seen enough homes yet.”

You will usually hear this objection when you have found the right home.  When you’re so good at your job that you find the right home quickly for them it might scare them to death.  They’ll want to second guess themselves.  They won’t want to believe the home they really wanted was right there waiting for them.  All of their “too-good-to-be-true” reflexes will kick in and they’ll want to see what they think they might be missing or look for flaws in this “too perfect” opportunity.  This is a very natural instinct.  That’s why I always recommend having a plan to show at least three homes to every buyer.  This strategy works using the general philosophy behind the children’s story Goldilocks -- too hot, too cold, just right. 

First, show a home that’s not quite what they want to see -- possibly something that needs a little work and is on the low end of their investment goals.  Then, show something that’s slightly above their top end expectations.  Show the third home -- the one you believe to be perfect for them -- last.  If this third home is just right and they still hesitate, say something like this:  “John, Mary, I feel that you’re rather apprehensive because I’ve found a home that’s suitable so fast.  I don’t blame you for that; I hope you realize though, in essence, I am your eyes.  There are countless homes for sale in this community.  Rather than show you all of them, which would be a waste of your valuable time, I decided to show you only those homes that meet your needs not only financially, but also physically.  I can assure you that this home is quite suitable for your family’s needs as you expressed them to me.  That’s why I’d like you to consider getting yourselves and your family happily involved in this particular property.  By investing your time looking around further, chances are good that you won’t find anything better and this home might be purchased by someone else.”

“The home across the street is in terrible condition.”

I love it when they say this.  Here’s how to handle it.  “I’m so glad you mentioned that.  I saw it, too.”

When they ask what you’re talking about, continue with, “You saw one of the advantages I saw when I first looked at this home.  You see, the average American moves every three to five years.  I don’t know the people in that home, but there’s a good chance that they’ll be moving a lot sooner than you will.  I’m sure the condition of the home across the street is reflected in the value of this home you’re considering today.  When the new homeowners move in to that home, they’ll probably fix it up, just like you would.  Or, the sellers might have to fix it up before they can put it on the market.  That will in turn enhance the value of your property.  Its current condition could be what’s made this home a good opportunity.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?”

Almost anything that is an objection has a positive side to it.  Your job is to find it and explain it in such a way that the buyer sees it, too.

“We did want a fireplace.”

If this is the only objection, mentally put a fireplace in for them.  Help them visualize one there.  Suggest that there is room for them to add a fireplace after they own it.  Depending on what part of the country you’re in, there may be regulations about fireplaces today that weren’t in place when the home was built.  Even if the home had a fireplace, it may have needed something changed or addressed anyway.  A home with a fireplace might cost more to purchase.  And with that additional amount financed over a period of 20-30 years, they’ll be paying more than if they added a fireplace on their own -- in exactly the location they want, and with the features and trim they prefer.  Adding the fireplace

after the sale could also increase the value of this property if resold.

These are just a few of the concerns you can expect to hear during the presentation of property.  Learn the words to use for those specific concerns covered here and the right phraseology for the others will become easier to formulate.  Your ultimate goal as a champion real estate professional is to help people rationalize decisions they really want to make and to help them move into living situations that are truly good for them.