“You should really have pushed back when I was unreasonable” – A quick lesson in adding value to a real estate transaction

One of my agents ended up withdrawing a listing a couple of days ago, for a number of reasons.  During their email correspondence, which I later had a chance to read, the seller used the quote you see in the title of this post.

I have NEVER had a client tell me that I should have pushed them harder, so this came as a surprise to me.  I guess I felt that this was worth writing about, since it illustrates an interesting point about real estate sales (and sales in general, for that matter).

There are times when it simply makes sense to push a client, most commonly when they are having trouble making the right decision.  This is not an easy task, especially for newer agents, but it is a necessity if you want to make real estate a long-term career.

A few years ago, I helped some buyers from California to move to this area.  Their original budget was $160,000 or so, but the home they fell in love with was a little higher, at $172,000.  Let me preface this story by saying that I strictly honored their price range – they drove by the more expensive place and HAD to see it. 

When the time came to make a firm decision, the husband was hung up on the higher price.  Here’s the conversation that followed (and this is pretty much verbatim):

CLIENT: I don’t know, Jason.  It’s more than we wanted to spend, and I don’t even have a job there in Austin yet.

ME: I realize that, but you’re buying this house with cash from your current home sale.  You are going to have enough money to buy two new cars, also with cash.  You just have to cover the taxes and insurance on this place.  Frankly, you could get a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s and handle that. 

They bought the house, and they are still living there today.

Don’t be afraid to “push back” when your clients are being foolish. 

It’s your job to represent their interests to the best of your ability.  Part of that involves pointing out when they are wrong. 

Much of the pre-licensing education in our industry is focused heavily on the liabilities that we face as Realtors.  I remember thinking that the classes should all be called “1001 Ways to Avoid Being Sued”.  While this is not all that inaccurate in our litigious society, I think a lot of agents are afraid to speak their mind, even though the client needs direction.

Give your client real help and real opinions.  This doesn’t mean that you have to guarantee appreciation, or tell half-truths, or overlook potential problems.  YOU are the professional.  YOU are the one who does this every day.  They need your help.

Thanks for reading!

Photo by Joseph Robertson via Flickr.com.


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