Is there anything more frustrating than a motivated seller who refuses to take your advice and reduce their asking price?
If you really care about your clients (as I know you do), I believe you have a professional, moral and ethical obligation to tell them exactly what’s going on and get them reduced to sell.
I’m not great at many things. I can’t ice skate, I can’t play Poker and I can’t drink coffee after 10am.
But I can get a motivated seller to reduce their price when I know it’s in their best interest to do so and I want to share my ideas and strategies to help you do the same.
And can I tell you that the effectiveness of using these scripts is ten times more powerful when delivered in person.
I once flew from Melbourne to Brisbane (a 2 hour flight) to speak with my sellers and get their price down.
This followed many weeks of ignoring my advice then ignoring my phone calls.
I didn’t tell them I was coming. I just turned up. (You should have seen the look on their faces)
I also told them I wouldn’t leave until they either fired me or took my advice.
A gutsy move I know but I was almost out of time and the other agents were circling like vultures.
I got the reduction and the sale.
Six months later, the market had tanked and the seller called to thank me for going to the trouble to help them understand the huge mistake they were making. I remember he said that I saved him $30,000.
In the mail the next day I got a cheque for the airfare!
Sometimes it will take more than one visit. Sometimes more than two, but if you’ve invested your time, money and energy into getting a result, don’t do all the prep work for your competition.
And please keep in mind, it’s all about seller motivation. If they don’t really need to sell, then the best price reduction ideas will always fall on deaf ears.
If you need to get a price reduction on a listing right now, take a look through these 19 points and see which ones apply. Then practice them in your own words and set up a time to meet with your seller. If they ask you why you want to meet, tell them it’s a ‘Marketing strategy review’ and that you ‘have some ideas’ you’d like to discuss. Keep in mind, that you’ve been appointed to provide your selling clients with a real estate solution. That’s your job.
Okay… let’s do it!
Here are 19 scripts, strategies and ideas to get that price down to where it needs to be and help your seller get where they need to get.
1. Mind your language
When you read through my scripts, notice how I use words like “us”, “we” and “our”. This tells my clients that I’m there with them. They’re not alone. I’m here to support them whatever happens. We’re a team and working together we’ll find the very best solution.
2. When you feel your market is falling
“Mr and Mrs Seller, I feel I have a duty to tell you that, in my opinion, the market is going down and will continue to fall for the foreseeable future. In the past, where this has happened, property sellers play a game of catch up as they continue to reduce their asking price in the hope of meeting the market. In a falling market, a solid price adjustment is essential”
3. You’re paying me for my advice
“Mr and Mrs Seller, if I’m not able to sell your property, I won’t be charging you anything. That’s the way our industry works. But when I do make a sale for a client, I believe 95% of my fee is for the advice and marketing suggestions I offer along the way.
Right now I have something… some advice, I need to offer and seek your response. It’s my opinion that the current asking price for your property is too high and this will continue to have a negative effect in 3 ways.
First, because buyers always shop on price, they are not considering your property. We know this because the number of buyer viewings is well below average for a home of this type.
Second, The longer you are on the market, the worse it gets. When a buyer sees a home on the market for a period longer than the average days on market, which in your area is X, they begin to wonder why it hasn’t sold.
And third, good buyers are out there right now ready to buy. We know that. The problem is they’re not calling me about your home because our asking price is making the other homes for sale in the area look like much better value”
4. I’m a Marketer, not a Valuer or Appraiser
“Mr and Mrs Seller, the challenging thing about real estate is that it has no specific recommended retail value. We could hire a valuer/appraiser to come by and give us his professional opinion, but he won’t be giving us a cheque. He is NOT our market. I have to deal with real buyers, who pay real money in the real world and right now, that’s the only opinion that matters”
5. Let me get you something you can say “no’ to (let’s say you’re quoting the property at $500,000 plus when your most optimistic opinion of value is $475,000)
“Mr and Mrs Seller, we are missing the market because buyers perceive your property is priced above market. When we do this, one very important thing will happen: We will attract real buyers who are actually taking the time and trouble to view your home. This has been the missing link for us. We are failing to attract buyers who want to see inside because they feel your property is over-priced.”
By the way. Labelling a property at ‘$500,000 plus’ when the real value is less is marketing suicide and 100% counter productive. If the owner wants $525,000 call it $525,000 or $529,000 but not $500,000 Plus. I see this happen all the time and it’s very poor marketing.
6. Don’t reduce yet. (When you know the price is way too high but it’s too soon to reduce)
“Mr and Mrs Seller, I know it’s early days, but we’re not receiving anywhere near the level of buyer enquiry I expected. This has everything to do with our asking price but let’s not reduce just yet. If there’s no change in a week or so we need to sit down and look at our marketing options
7. The real estate domain stats (look up the public stats and see how popular your listing is and how many page visits it has recorded)
“Mr and Mrs Seller, we’ve been on the market for 5 weeks now and have only had 5 buyer appointments (or whatever it is). The average list to sell time in our area is 4.2 weeks. I’ve taken a look at the (real estate domain/s) buyer visits and I can see your property has attracted more than 500 (or whatever it is) views. This tells me buyers are looking at our listing online but taking it no further. Whenever this happens it’s ALWAYS about price and the buyer perception that the price is too high, the property is over-priced and it’s not worth them taking the time and trouble to view. Online marketing is a critical part of the exercise so we need to convert this buyer interest into inspections.
8. Average days on market
“Mr and Mrs Seller, there’s something very important we need to address; We’ve been on the market for 7 weeks now. The average list-to-sell time in our area is 4.2 weeks. I don’t want your property to become stale which turns buyers off. I don’t want your property to become the home nobody wants. I’d like to suggest a realistic price adjustment and start getting better value from our marketing.
9. You’re property is making other properties look cheap (used this before but it’s very powerful and perfect as a stand-alone price reduction strategy)
Mr and Mrs Seller, good buyers are out there right now ready to buy. We know that. The problem is they’re not calling me about your home because our asking price is making the other homes for sale in the area look like much better value”
10. Are you living where you want to live or where you have to live?
I once listed a home for sale and my clients were elderly couple. Their dream was to retire to the beach and a year before they had bought a home there. The man wanted to dominate every discussion and refused to reduce the asking price to a more realistic level. We’d been on the market for more than 4 months. The house was on a busy main road and poorly presented. Eventually (when I could get a word in) I asked him if he was living where he wanted to live or where he had to live. When you’re older, quality of life is even more important. It was the message that finally got through. We reduced the price and the home sold quickly. I was devastated to discover his wife died of cancer before they moved out and I find it upsetting to even write about it all these years later.
“Mr and Mrs Seller. You’ve made this amazing investment in a beautiful location. The only thing that’s stopping you from being there is a contract for the sale of this property because buyers believe your price is too high. I would imagine time is really important to you but perhaps I’m missing something. I have to ask… are you living where you want to live or where you have to live?”
11. Not a fast sale, the best sale.
“Mr and Mrs Seller. I’m not interested in a fast sale, I’m interested in the best sale. But here’s the thing; in my experience as a real estate agent, time is money. Literally. When a property remains on the market for sale past the average days on market date, it always seems to sell for a lower price.
12. Have you considered renting? (Use this only when the seller’s motivation is high and you know the HAVE to get a result. You’re looking for a reaction and the seller’s understanding that they are flogging a dead horse at the current asking price)
“Mr and Mrs Seller. Have you considered renting? I know you would prefer to sell but we’re not really getting anywhere”
13. I found out what the problem is. I’ve let you down.
“Mr and Mrs Seller. I’ve worked out why I haven’t found a buyer. Seller: “Oh great, what is it?”
You: “It’s because I don’t have the communication skills to help you understand your asking price is way too high and we are completely off the buyer’s radar. It’s like your property is invisible because the price is scaring buyers away. My job as an agaent is to help my selling clients understand that price needs to be adjusted sometimes more than once in the selling campaign. Nut in our case, I’ve been unable to do that and I feel I’ve let you down. I’m sorry.
14. Hypothetical evidence
This is buy far my personal favourite. Delivered correctly it has the power to achieve rapid productive results. It requires some research and the beauty in this script is the you are not the bad guy here because you’re reporting someone else’s opinion.
Call up 2 or 3 buyers who have viewed the property and say “Hi Mr Buyer. I just wanted to ask you a quick hypothetical question. A few weeks ago, you looked at 27 Smith Street. I’m not asking you for an offer but I want to give my client, the seller, some feedback. Hypothetically, if you did want to buy the property, what would you pay”
The buyer will always offer an amount well below the asking price.
“Mr and Mrs Seller. I’ve been doing some buyer research to find our why we haven’t had any offers yet. In fact I’ve call some buyers to see what they would be prepared to pay. Jennifer Jones said she felt that (price) would be a fair offer. I also called Sally Smith and she believes the price is around (price)
I value this kind of buyer feedback because we don’t have a contract right now. Can I suggest we adjust our marketing to help us attract more buyer interest?
15. Off the radar
“Mr and Mrs Seller, the big challenge we have right now is that we are literally off the buyer’s radar. All of our marketing evidence points to the fact that the buyer we need is not seeing your property. It’s completely off their radar”
16. When you’ve had an offer but it fell over. When this happens, it’s really important to de-brief your client and help them understand that the failed contract or even unsigned verbal offer is worthless and SHOULD NOT form the basis of any REAL and TANGIBLE opinion.
“Mr and Mrs Seller. I think the thing holding us back is the prior offer and contract we had for (price). It’s understandable and even reasonable for you to think that that offer/contract is a real indication of actual value, but in all reality it isn’t and it’s my job to help you understand that. Many sellers fall for the trap of holding on to past offers or signed contracts in the hope that another buyer will do the same but it usually doesn’t happen and causes major delays preventing the seller from getting a sale.
The only real indication of value is a signed contract and a deposit. Everything else is speculative and false because a failed contract or even a verbal offer is totally worthless.”
17. Let’s put the price up! (I love having a bit of fun with a seller from time to time when the situation is right. I use this strategy when the asking price is ridiculously high and there is no buyer evidence to suggest otherwise. Seller motivation is probably questionable and you need some kind of interruption to help your seller understand the damage they are doing)
Let’s say the price is $550,000 and your opinion of value is closer to $450,000
“Mr and Mrs Seller. I’ve been thinking about our marketing strategy and I think we should increase our asking price to $1 million. Are you okay with that?
Seller: “That’s crazy! Are you on crack?”
You: “No, but we’re getting zero buyer response with our asking price at $550,000 so we may as well double the price because the way we’re going, we’ll be still on the market this time next year.
18. Opening up a discussion about reducing the price. (Do this at the start of the month)
“Hi Mr and Mrs Seller, it’s the start of a new month and I’m setting up my marketing schedule for the next 30 days and I just wanted to know, would you like to be sold this month? You would? Great. I have some ideas, let’s make a time to catch up. What’s better for your Tuesday or Thursday?”
19. Selling real estate is a two-stage process
“Mr and Mrs Seller, selling a property is actually a two stage process. The first stage is to attract a buyer and have them view your property. Nobody is going to make us an offer until they’ve seen inside.
The second stage can only occur once a buyer has been through and they make an offer so I can begin to negotiate the best result on your behalf.
The problem right now is that we can’t get to stage one.