Common Objections (and how to handle them)
for Real Estate Agents
The most frequent ‘why I can’t be your client right now’ stories you’ll hear — and what to say next
BY AMBER TAUFEN Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS — “With all of my objection handlers, it’s really about educating the consumer,” said Anne M. Rubin at a session at One21, Century 21’s conference. “It’s not about giving them what they want.”
1. Let’s list high; we can always come down later.
What you say: “I understand you want to leave room to negotiate, but have you considered the problems this could create?
“Most people won’t even bother looking at properties out of their price range. You’ll have fewer showings and receive fewer offers — and they will be lowball offers.
“The best opportunity to sell your house for the highest and best price is in the first two weeks that it’s on the market. If you price the house according to what you expect to sell it for, from the beginning you will have more showings and could end up with multiple offers.
“In a multiple-offer situation, you will have the opportunity to have buyers bid up to the best possible price. Don’t you want to maximize your selling price?”
2. I have a friend in the business.
What you say: “I hope all my friends are as loyal as you are! But let me ask you a question: Are you serious about selling your house, or just helping your friend get a listing?
“If this is your most expensive asset, don’t you want to choose the best agent and not the agent you’re friends with?
“It’s important to be loyal to your friends, but because your home is probably your most valuable asset, you owe it to yourself to choose the professional who can best market the house and best represent you to get you the highest and best price and terms for your house. Wouldn’t you agree?
“Plus — if you have a problem with your friend’s performance or services, how will you be able to criticize or fire your friend? Who would you rather yell at — me or your friend?
“And then there’s the fact that you might need to reveal more about yourself to your friend than makes you feel comfortable. When you start to negotiate and prepare for the settlement, you’ll be discussing your finances, life, your bottom line and opening up some warts and blemishes in the process. Are you sure you really want to expose that much to your friend?”
3. You haven’t sold any houses in our area.
This is a good opportunity for new agents to shine, suggested Rubin. “Take it away from yourself” and talk about your company. Even a brand new agent probably knows more about buying and selling real estate than the average consumer.
What you say: “That’s a valid concern. The reason to choose me is not just for my knowledge and expertise, but for my company.
“My company has listed and sold many houses in this community. When you sign the marketing agreement with me, you’re signing up with my entire team. You’ll immediately have your property exposed to potential buyers from all over the area — and exposure to potential buyers is the most important thing about selling your home. Wouldn’t you agree?”
4. What do you do to sell homes?
What you say: “I have a 21-point marketing plan in writing.*** Can you show me the other agent’s written marketing plan so that I can compare what we will do to what they have promised to do?
“There are passive agents and active agents. I am an active agent — which means that when you hire me, I will spend my time actively marketing your home to the public, to the agents active in your area and on the internet, where 96 percent of all real estate transactions start.”
5. We will list with you if you reduce your commission.
What you say: “Let me explain a little bit about how the commission works. Think of the total commission as a pie.
“The pie gets cut in half immediately. Half of the pie is offered to the buyer’s agent’s office, while the other half stays with the listing agent’s office. Then those halves get cut again and are shared between the office and the agent.
“The difference in my pocket between 1 percent and 2 percent is very little, so I would have no problem reducing the fee, personally. However: The difference in your pocket can be huge because most agents are motivated by dollars, and with X houses on the market, buyer’s agents are going to show their buyers the houses that offer the greatest commission.
“So if we offer a discounted commission to the other agents, what that means for you is fewer showings and less qualified buyers. That can result in a lower sale price or other issues during the transaction. Do you really think that is worth the perceived savings?”
6. We are not ready; we want to fix the house up first.
What you say: “I think that’s a great idea! Let me come by and walk through the house with you to discuss the items that will be important to consider doing in preparation for selling. I wouldn’t want you to spend money unnecessarily. Would today or tomorrow be best for me to come by?
“That’s a good idea — we want your house to be 100-percent ready to show when it goes on the market so we can maximize its impact. Let’s get the paperwork signed now, and then we can pick a target date for putting it actively on the market. How much time do you think it will take to complete the items we discussed?”
7. I want to wait to buy until mortgage interest rates drop.
What you say: “What is your primary motivation for considering buying a home? How long do you plan on living in the home?
“Real estate truly is a long-term investment with tremendous tax benefits; your home is also the place where you will live life and build memories. We have no way of knowing when or even if interest rates will drop. They are still at one of the lowest points in our history. But the longer you wait, the greater the chances are that rates could go up.
“If we can find the home that meets your personal needs and we can negotiate the best value, why wouldn’t you consider buying now?”