By Robert Irwin
Many agents know that selling doesn't really begin until the potential buyers say, "No."
Until the buyers commit themselves, even negatively, you can't really begin to negotiate with them. Before then, they're simply lookers. They aren't even interested in your home.
But, once they tell you, "No." It means that they have at least considered it.
Further, if you can determine why a buyer is saying, "No," you might be able to turn it into a, "Yes!" Thus, as a "by owner" seller you should be listening carefully and occasionally asking if the buyer wants to purchase, just so you'll get to the point where they say, "No." (Of course, if the buyers first words are, "I'll take it!", then disregard what follows -- however, a quick agreement to purchase is not usually what happens.)
WHAT DO YOU DISLIKE ABOUT THE PROPERTY?
It's a simple question and should be asked of every buyer who tells you they don't want to buy. It's not a personal question, it's not a question that leads to stress... You simply want to know what's wrong with the house so that, perhaps, you can correct it for the next buyer. Of course, you really want to know if you can overcome this buyer's objections.
Some objections can be difficult or even impossible to answer. "I don't like that amusement park next door." You can play down the noise and point up the fun the kids could have there, but a negative like this is usually overcome only by lowering the price.
On the other hand, some objections may be overcome with logic and/or information:
NEGATIVES AND THEIR ANSWERS
"Not enough storage room."
Have you really looked at the large closets? Did you notice the shelves in the garage? If you have an unusually large amount to store, have you considered renting a storage space?
"Only a 2-car garage."
All the homes in this area have 2-car garages. Unless you have 3 cars (most people don't), it's really just a place that attracts clutter. This house would be far more expensive with a 3rd garage.
"Only a single bathroom."
That's reflected in the price. Other owners in the neighborhood have converted a closet into a new bathroom.
"It's too expensive."
Here's a list of comparable sales in this neighborhood over the last six months. You'll see the home is fairly priced.
This would make a good starter house, to get you into the neighborhood.
"Don't like the paint/carpeting/window coverings/etc,"
All of that can be changed to suit your needs. As the owner, I'll repaint and clean the carpets. Can you live with the carpets and wall coverings for awhile? Later you can always change them to something you like better.
"Don't want a swimming pool."
Even if you don't use it, you grandchildren will love it. It's beautiful to look at the water. It'll be a plus when you resell.
"Neighborhood too noisy/crowded/rundown/etc."
We've enjoyed living here. It's a great close-in location. It's a turn-around area with home improvements springing up everywhere. There's a neighborhood improvement group that's helping change things for the better.
Sometimes your arguments will fall on deaf ears. Other times, the potential buyers won't reveal their true feelings and so you won't know what the negatives to overcome really are. And as noted above, sometimes the negatives can't be overcome, except by lowering your price and offering a bargain. Nevertheless, many a seller has gotten to "sold" by coming up with clever answers to overcome a buyer's objections.
Robert Irwin is the most prolific real estate writer in America having produced over 100 published books in the field. His TIPS & TRAPS McGraw-Hill series has sold well over a million copies and his FOR SALE BY OWNER KIT and FIND IT, BUY IT, FIX IT and other books have been strong sellers for Dearborn. In addition Irwin writes a regular real estate column for The Wall Street Journal online and is introducing a new weekly column forOwners.com.
Irwin has sold his own property "by owner" and during over 30 years in the business has been a broker and consultant to lenders, agents, buyers and sellers.