Buying and selling a home is a tricky business—which is why real estate agents are needed to make sure everything goes smoothly. But no matter how much you prepare, you can never totally predict what your client is going to say when a potential buyer asks why they’re selling. Here are the worst answers they can give—and what you can do to smooth over these home seller mistakes.
High Utility Bills
Nobody wants to spend a fortune on utility bills—especially someone in search of their next home. If the seller confesses that the power bill is just too high at their current address, potential buyers will immediately be turned off. Keep statistics of average utility costs for homes of similar size on hand and be sure to point out any energy-efficient updates.
Moving on in a Hurry
This one is pretty straightforward. If the seller is anxious to move on—perhaps they’ve already bought another home, or maybe they’re relocating for a new job—then the buyer may sense a certain amount of desperation. To avoid getting a lowball offer, steer the conversation away from the seller’s timeline to the home itself.
Too Much Maintenance
A gorgeous lawn or garden can provide a lot of curb appeal [LINK TO CURB APPEAL POST], but high-maintenance homes aren’t every buyer’s idea of a dream come true. If the seller starts complaining about how hard it is to keep up the place, talk about the easy-to-care features like vinyl siding or new countertops.
In Search of a Smaller Mortgage
If the home is too expensive for the current owner, then it might be too expensive for the buyer as well. It implies that the property is overpriced…or, even worse, that the seller’s finances are in such dire straits that they’d be grateful for a lowball offer. Once again, information is key to getting past the home seller mistakes. As long as the home is priced fairly given the neighborhood and market, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Looking for a Bigger (or Smaller) Place
Sometimes it seems like there are only two types of people involved in real estate transactions—those looking for a bigger place, and those who want a smaller one. Families may be looking for a larger home to accommodate a houseful of kids, while empty-nesters and singletons might want to simplify or downsize by moving to a smaller home. Ideally, you’ll have one of each type to balance each other out.
But if the home is too small for the seller, the buyer may be worried that they’ll outgrow it as well. And if it’s too big? The same issue, only in reverse. It’s best to steer the conversation back to the home’s best features and highlight its potential.
There Goes the Neighborhood
Discussing the neighborhood can backfire, since the things the seller likes about it may be exactly what the buyer wants to avoid. If the seller says they want a quieter neighborhood, it strongly implies that there’s too much noise in the area. They definitely shouldn’t mention break-ins or other disturbances, even if it happened years ago. Ultimately, follow the buyer’s lead when it comes to praising the neighborhood. And don’t forget, you can sweep a lot of home seller mistakes under the rug with a smile!