Has reality TV ruined your clients? Help for those who serve design show fanatics

You’ve done an amazing job networking, farming your area, marketing to your sphere, and you’re a social media wizard. In fact, your pipeline is practically bursting with buyers and sellers ready to make a move.

Just as soon as they find the perfect house. Like the ones on HGTV.

Cue the screeching tires.

The little voice inside your head is screaming, “The perfect house? In this market? Does the unicorn have to convey or can the sellers take it with them?”

In reality, this is the moment success is created. Can you, as an agent, find and define your clients’ motivation? Can you manage their expectations? And can you educate them on the difference between what they see on HGTV and what they will see in the real world?

Have a conversation about why they want to move: If you’ve heard Joe Stumpf talk about the “5-6-7” conversation, you’ll already know what I mean. (Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/OsfGxjGDH4c). Basically, you have to really get to your clients’ deeper motivation for making a move so you understand what appeals to them. It’s never about needing a fourth bedroom. It might be about the ability to have a multi-generational home and the togetherness that brings, or about personal fulfillment. The point is, when you know their motivation, you can remind your client of that when they see a house that is “almost perfect, except.” Being reminded of the ways in which the nearly perfect house would help them achieve their goals can remove insignificant obstacles.

Manage how your clients perceive staging (or lack thereof): Often, what buyers mean by the “perfect house” is one that is staged well with a design that reflects their favorite TV show. They may see a few houses that look great online, but when they go see them in person, the flow of the house doesn’t work for their needs at all. You can help manage this by reviewing listings with them before you show, pointing out houses whose numbers make sense on paper first. You can also help them see past the houses that don’t look up to snuff by presenting an alternate mental picture as you walk through it. Remind buyers that most of the houses they see won’t be staged. Some of them won’t even be clean. And though it’s hard to look past the grime to the structure of the house - all the stuff they see – the dirty dishes in the sink, the weird portraits on the walls, the messy bedrooms – none of that stays with the house when they buy it. It’s also a good idea to remind new buyers that most people don’t look at three houses and then choose one. They don’t need to be discouraged if they don’t see anything they like after door number three.

And then there’s the price: The success of the good folks down in Waco has created a bit of sticker shock around here – especially with our quickly rising prices – and especially among first time buyers or would-be renovators in need of a reality check. This is where having a few really good resources comes in handy. For instance, the super-cheap houses are often from auction, even if they don’t say so on TV. If you’re not an expert on auctions, find someone who is and get to know them and the process. If you’re not interested in developing your business in that direction, you’ve at least got a good place to send referrals. That way, when you’ve got a buyer who is determined to go that route, you can explain to them how it’s done and find out if they have the resources (i.e. cash) or if they are better off going the more traditional route. Getting a great lender to pre-approve your buyers is also critical. Your buyers should be made aware up front of all of the costs associated with buying a home – not just closing costs, but all of the money they are going to need in hand for escrow, inspections, option, down payment, and anything else. When you can have this conversation in tandem with the lender and the numbers agree, your clients will be better prepared to buy and will feel reassured that both you and your lender know what you’re doing. If your clients want to renovate a home, make sure they fully understand how renovation or construction loans work before the go under contract. And make sure they have a few general contractors give them renovation bids during the option period as well, so they have an idea of what they’re getting into if they’ve never done a project house before.

Good luck, REALTORS. Do let us know if the unicorn conveys. We’d LOVE to hear that story!