In Part 1 of this three-part feature we talked about the importance of understanding your sellers’ needs, and how important this understanding was to making sales. In Part 1, I gave you seven questions to ask your sellers during the listing presentation. Here are fifteen more.
• Why are you moving now?
Timing is important. Why now and not next year? You need to know your sellers’ time constraints. Note: NEVER divulge these to anyone; you could jeopardise your sellers’ chances of getting the highest price if you disclose your clients’ deadline.
• If your plans to move worked perfectly, what would need to happen?
Your clients will describe the perfect scenario… when the buyer will come along, sometimes how much the buyer will pay, how quickly the buyer will settle, how soon they will find their new home, how much that will cost, and the total cost of selling, buying, and moving. Prompt them as they ‘dream’ about this aspect of the move.
• Tell me about this house. Who built it, how did you find it?
Lovely stories emerge. Older clients tell you how they built the house after the husband returned from the war. You ‘feel the love’ in the home, and sadly sometimes, other more negative emotions.
You may be surprised how this question helps you identify a good buyer for the property. It’s uncanny how many times that your buyers closely resemble your sellers in some way. An elderly couple may sell their home for a few thousand dollars less to a struggling newlywed couple, even when there is a likelihood of finding a buyer who’ll pay more, just because the newlyweds reminded the elderly couple of themselves at that age. It may sound ridiculous, but it’s not.
• What made you buy this house?
Get all the good features of the property from the ones who know best – your sellers.
• Is the house you hope to buy going to be as nice as this?
You discover whether this is a financially upward or downward move, and the client likes you.
• Do you own the property outright, or is there something owing?
Get as much detail as possible. How much is owing and who holds the mortgage? You should know the clients’ finances almost as well as you know your own. Sometimes you discover that they aren’t allowing a sufficient financial margin for safety, and more often you discover that they are allowing too much.
If you work out the finances properly, you are in a better position to help your clients buy a better home. You also get a good idea just how much they are expecting from the sale of their property, when you use this figure with the figures that are supplied by the next questions.
• How much do you think it will cost to buy in the area where you are going?
• Do you expect to carry a mortgage on the new property? What size mortgage do you think you’ll finish with?
• What costs have you allowed for moving?
Do the sums. If the new house costs $500,000 and moving costs are $15,000 and they owe $20,000 on the old house, then the cost of the move is $535,000. If they expect to carry no mortgage, then they expect $535,000 for their old house. If they are going to carry a $100,000 mortgage, then they expect $435,000 for their old house. This knowledge should in no way affect the likely selling price you quote, which must always be the truth, but at least you have an idea if these people are expecting more than their property may be worth. Most, if not all, do.
If the mood is friendly, you can even discuss these figures with your clients with this question:
• So you are hoping to get about $435,000 for this property then?
There will be no such defence statements as, “We got you out here to tell us how much it’s worth!” if you arrive at a frank discussion of price in this fashion. This question leads to another:
• Have you discussed what you’ll do if for, some reason, you don’t get that amount for your property?
Don’t get drawn deeply into price at this time. If they say, “Isn’t it worth that much?”, just say, “I’ll talk with you about this at length shortly. But you might be pleased to know that from what you’ve told me, this move makes sense.”
• Is it hard picking a good agent? How are you going decide which agent is the best for you?
If the client says, “Get three quotes and pick the one we feel is the best,” it may be time to lead into The Biggest Liar Gets the Job Principle as explained in Winning Ways – Real Estate Sales. No matter what, in supplying a good answer to this question, your clients will tell you their criteria for selecting an agent. This will be great information when it comes time to close.
• If you were to select an agent on one aspect alone, what would that be?
Ultimately, you must lead the client to the one aspect that matters: the ability of that agent to negotiate a high price.
• How long have I got to sell it?
This Assumptive Closing question is also a Trial Close . It assumes that you are going to be the one selling the property, imparts a quiet confidence that you can sell the property, and gives an opportunity to double-check the clients’ deadline.
• If a buyer came along tomorrow, are you ready to go, or would you like me to take a little longer?
Another Assumptive Close which gives you the opportunity to double-check the sellers’ motive.
OK, that should keep you busy until the third and final installment of Get Close. In Part 3 we’ll look at some special ways to server elderly clients.