From Knowing Neighborhood Secrets to Making It Easy to Say Yes

At AAR’s Winter Conference event in March, instructor Joeann Fossland moderated a panel discussion on listing presentations with REALTORS® Holly Mabery, ABR, GRI (RE/MAX Achievers – Phoenix), Jonathan Miller (Realty Executives – Scottsdale) and Paula Serven, GRI (Realty Executives – Scottsdale). Here are some of the top tips they shared:

Ask good questions. In a phone call before the listing presentation, find out: Why are they moving? How soon do they need to be out? Have they refinanced in the last three years? What are their expectations for an agent? What are their expectations on pricing? What’s their game plan if it doesn’t sell? This will help you tailor your presentation to their needs.

Consider previewing the home. “I do a first appointment to see the house,” says Holly. “I want a grand tour. Then I come back with a price.”

Send over a prelisting package. “NAR statistics say only 5% of REALTORS® have a pre-listing package,” Joeann says. “But those that do get 95% of the listings they go on.” Your package should include a summary about your experience, information on the team you work with, testimonials from past clients, etc.

Know which homes they’re going to ask about. Drive the streets around their home. Whenever possible, preview active or pending homes nearby. “Yeah, you pulled comparables, but you need to be aware of all the houses they’ll walk by as they’re walking their dog,” advises Jonathan. “They’re going to ask questions about those listings.”

Factor in new-home competition. If the home is in or near a new housing development, visit the new home center and ask about incentives being offered.

Know the neighborhood’s secrets. Prepare the sellers for what may happen to the neighborhood in the next few months. “Tell them, ‘Did you know that three over behind you are actually in foreclosure status right now?’” Paula says. That’s important information for a seller to know when pricing their home.

Remember that you are a guest in their home. Park on the street, not the driveway. Walk on paths, not lawns. Ask for permission to set down your materials.

Build rapport before the presentation. Encourage the homeowner to show you around—to show off the home. Ask questions and take notes. Consider the tour an insight into their world and into their way of thinking.

Be professional. Dress as you would for a job interview. Try to make your presentation at the kitchen table or counter rather than on a couch in the living room. Don’t use acronyms or industry lingo that may be unfamiliar to the seller.

Reassure them. “Sellers are terrified,” says Holly. “They’re watching values plummet, watching neighbors lose homes.” They need a professional they can trust, and this is your opportunity to tell them what you can do. “We’ve done a great job of taking care of the trauma, bringing deals back to life. The seller needs to know that we can do it. That’s what they need to hear from you.”

Talk about absorption. Show the homeowner the absorption rate in the price range he wants versus the price range just below it. “Ask them, ‘What’s the cost going to be for you if it stays on the market too long?’” suggests Paula.

Be assertive. Ask, “If we come to terms on price and length of time, are you prepared to sign the listing with me tonight?” If they say no, ask them why. Assure them that you’ll be this assertive with potential buyers  as well.

Don’t plan to reduce later. With some market segments still declining, you want to come in with a price within $5,000 of where you think it will sell. Otherwise, you’ll be chasing the market down. “The longer you’re on the market, the less money you make,” Paula tells clients. “If you’re not priced right, you are selling somebody else’s house.”

Make it easy for them to say yes. Jonathan offers to make the calls to the other agents they interviewed to save them the awkward calls.

Assess the seller. They’re interviewing you, but you’re also interviewing them to determine if this is a listing you want. “Some of you may have listings that are never, ever, ever going to sell. Ever!” says Joeann. “You’re much better off letting that go in terms of time, energy and money. If it doesn’t sell, they’re often going to come back to you.”

Keep your sense of humor. What’s the saying? “You want to be the first-born child, second wife and third REALTOR®.”

About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be up-to-date or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.