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Tips for Talking with Prospective Purchasers
Some of the information you need to know is covered in the content of the Sellers Handbook on Owners.com. However, there are several other factors to be considered when talking with prospective purchasers.
Firstly, you want the purchaser to see your home in the best possible light. If there is something wonderful about your house; for instance, the afternoon sun is beautiful in the family room or you have a great view of the sunset or the den looks cozy with a fire going, try to schedule the appointment so the buyer can see the nicest features. If this is impossible, always tell the buyer what those features are before they leave your home. It also helps to tell the buyer what you have enjoyed most about the house or the neighborhood and what you will miss when you’ve moved. Don’t underestimate the power of emotion in the sale. Many buyers will respond positively to the fact that you love the house. If there are features of the house that are not apparent, such as hardwood floors under the carpet, be sure to mention these features to the buyers.
However, most everyone hates a pushy salesperson and buyers will be doubly aware of this when that salesperson is the actual seller. Let buyers look at the house without you. As they are leaving, always ask if they have questions and take that opportunity to chat about how long they have been looking, etc.
Many buyers will ask questions throughout the showing. Some will be about the house itself and some will be about your motivation for selling. We’ll deal with questions about the house first and then with questions about why you are selling.
In general, when talking with buyers, it is best not to be guarded about the house. You are probably required by law to disclose any known defects and should fill out a seller disclosure to that effect. So, direct questions about the condition of the house should ALWAYS be answered truthfully. If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know, but add that you assume a new buyer will have a home inspection and the inspector would likely answer that question. If you have information about the condition, (for instance the buyer notices a water stain and asks about a leak which you have had repaired), say so. Give the time and cost of the repair and how it was repaired. The absolute best policy about answering condition questions is to be 100% truthful.
Questions about why you are selling are a little more difficult. All buyers are looking for a deal and will ask questions that try to establish whether you are desperate to sell, have already purchased another house or are willing to lower your price. How you respond to these questions is somewhat important, since the responses will probably affect the buyer’s initial offer. However, don’t get too hung up on the answers. The best advice is to tell the truth while protecting yourself by not appearing desperate. After all, even if the buyer makes a low offer because of something you’ve said, no one can make you take an offer that is unacceptable to you. Respond to all questions that you will consider all reasonable offers made IN WRITING by QUALIFIED PURCHASERS.
Some of the more frequent questions are:
How long the house has been on the market? The assumption behind this question is that the longer the house has been on the market, the more ready you will be to deal on the price. Answer truthfully and, if you are in a hurry, indicate that you would like to settle quickly and would be most amenable to offers which accommodate that timeframe.
How did you arrive at your price? This is a great question as long as you’ve done your homework on the comparable sales and properties currently on the market – and priced your home accordingly. Simply say you’ve priced according to the comparables and offer to show those to the buyer.
Why are you selling? This question is an attempt to get at how motivated you are to sell. The more motivated you appear to be, the more the buyer thinks you will take a lower price. If you are very motivated to sell quickly, indicate that you would be very interested in reasonable offers, which accommodate your timeframe.
Will you take less? A very blunt question, which deserves a blunt answer. Respond that you have priced the home according to comparable properties, and that you will consider reasonable offers made in writing by qualified purchasers.
Why are you selling without an agent? The reason for this question could be curiosity or the buyer could be looking to find out if you are willing to share the savings in commission. It is probably fair for the buyer to expect some savings, since they too, will have to do more work if an agent is not involved. Respond that you think you can sell the home yourself which should save both you and the buyer money.