Unlike other product and service transactions, property shopping is one of the most important transactions made by a person, mostly because there is a lot at stake. More often that not, it is life-altering for a person not only in the financial aspect but also the emotional angel. The purchase or sale of a house is not something a buyer or seller takes lightly. Thus, it comes as no surprise that clients come into such dealings with great amount of expectations. These expectations are automatically bestowed upon the real estate agent.
Navigating client expectations is essential for an agent. With price points fluctuating constantly, higher number of persons getting into the real estate business, and a steady increase in the number of homebuyers and sellers in the market, keeping the client list intact is proving to be more and more challenging for a realtor.
Agents are answerable to clients in regards to all factors that affect a deal, even ones that are out of their control. It is important for an agent to make sure that a client’s expectations do not exceed unattainable limits. If a client has unrealistic demands that can’t be met by an agent, they are left unsatisfied and unhappy. To keep a balance between buyer & seller demands and what is doable, it’s best to set expectations from the very beginning.
In a hot market, with properties immediately receiving multiple offers, it’s often confusing for a client, whether buying or selling, as to what margins to draw out or what pricing to set. In such situations, people also tend to look out for other agents or decide to go solo to go forward with the transaction, getting overwhelmed by the response they are receiving.
Having control over your client’s expectations is key. It is essential for one to know how to navigate tricky conversations with clients and come out on the top, a winner. Set realistic and achievable expectations, keeping in mind the desires of the client.
Here are some ways to set client expectations in a hot real estate market and come out successfully:
1. Let’s talk!
The real estate industry solely rests on the principals of communication. Be a good listener. Take interest in the what, why, when, where and how of your client, and understand their agenda beforehand. Seek out information about your client’s expectations. Know where they stand financially and emotionally.
Do not presume. Make calculated judgement about your client but don’t make assumptions. Retrieve information and ask more questions to understand your client better.
When faced with an enquiry, give definite answers, don’t reply with ‘maybe’ or ‘I’m not sure’ . If you don’t know simply say that you will find out and let them know at the earliest. But keep your promises, do not go back on commitments.
Be realistic while making promises, don’t set an unachievable bar that cannot be met, this will leave clients unsatisfied when they don’t get the results they were hoping for.
2. Are you free?
For any real estate agent, the ultimate goal is to close a deal and keep both buyer & seller happy. Having said that, agents often find it difficult to set boundaries or rules within the framework of their business.
Establish a communication network with time slots. Find out when your client prefers to be contacted. Together with your client, decide a preferred mode of communication, be it via phone, video call, email etc. If your client prefers face to face interactions, then keep in mind the schedule of both parties. Inform the client beforehand at what times of the day you are available and via which method of communication.
Be consistent while providing information and avoid miscommunication. Don’t delay call-backs. Maintain a schedule for providing updates. All in all, be consistent and reliable.
3. Remove misconceptions
Home sellers are often concerned that they are cutting themselves short while pricing, thinking they can gain a higher revenue in a given sale. Most people buying or selling houses are often unaware of the prevailing market conditions. They receive their intel from word of mouth and mainly unreliable sources. This leads to clients taking rash decisions on false information.
Unsatisfied sellers often make the decision of going solo to continue a transaction in the hopes of receiving a better price. They also believe they can list their house at any price when the market is hot.
Do your homework on the property, it’s benefits, the locality surrounding it and the nature of prospective buyers. Know what can be the estimate highest and lowest bid. Find similar properties and compare the pricing charts. Provide your client with facts and help get them to the expectations they should have from the sale. Taking decisions jointly with your client helps immensely in the process of a dealing.
4. Make the list, share the list.
Provide a clear timeline as to what will happen when. Make sure your client knows the importance of your presence and what role you play in the deal. Take them thought the process, giving a clear picture of each step.
Develop a checklist, with all important steps, to remove ambiguity from the dealings. Make sure to give a clear idea of what comes next and the end of every interaction.
5. Explain the details.
Keep your client well informed about the technicalities involved in a dealing. Informing them beforehand about safety protocols, required documents, legal procedures, the timeline of the process, loan options etc.
Go through your agreement and explain your commission and any and all non-negotiable aspects of the agreement. Make sure they know the terms and conditions before beginning any dealing processes.
6. Be open
Be welcoming and compassionate to all your clients. Be open to questions and make sure to start conversation at a regular basis. Get to know your client and you shall know what they want. Be a support system for your client, and establish a mentor-mentee relationship. If your client is comfortable with you, then he or she will be open to making joint decisions , which is very beneficial and will facilitate the process of the dealing.
Navigation of a client’s expectations is a tricky skill that mainly lies upon effective communication. Make sure to keep these tips in mind and you will have a smooth sailing transaction with your client, where both parties are happy!