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Setting Seller Expectations in a Buyer's Market

The increased inventory and absorption rate* in the Denver real estate market make
it a great time to purchase, especially for the move-up homeowner or first-time buyer.
Of course, for those trying to sell their home in this market, the reverse can be true.
As a Realtor, there are several ways you can help set and maintain realistic expectations for your sellers.

Let the numbers speak for themselves
Use accurate MLS statistics and reports to keep your seller focused on the reality of the market. Present information up front and in a professional manner. And make sure to keep your numbers handy to refer back to throughout the process as questions and concern arise.

Facts and data win out over emotions in the long-term. It’s the realtor’s job to keep the transaction professional and grounded in realistic expectations.

First impressions: Staging
Sellers only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure sellers understand the importance of staging their home. With so much inventory competing for a buyer’s attention, it’s the property in show-home condition that will stand out from the rest.

First impressions: Pricing
Likewise, having a realistic price tag when the home first hits the market is just as important as how the home looks. Buyers are looking for the best value for their money and, with so much inventory to choose from, they can simply move on if the first impression is “overpriced.”

A home that is priced right tells buyers (and other agents) that the seller is serious about selling. Sellers who set a high price initially and then drop the price later risk sending the wrong message. Buyers may ask, “What’s wrong with this home that it’s been on the market for 4 months? If it’s so great, why hasn’t anyone picked it up?” And sellers who price high and then consider a price reduction later are gambling with their time and money, since their home may in fact be on the market longer.

A professional Realtor will research the market and suggest appropriate pricing that sends the right message to the right buyers from the very beginning.

Educate about appraisals
With the appraisal process more regulated than ever, sellers can easily become frustrated when the numbers don’t support their pricing expectations. It’s the Realtor’s job to educate their sellers about the new industry regulations that affect appraisals.

Tools like Value Check,** which accesses county records and details recent comparables, can help Realtors and home-owners quickly acquire sold information that could be used by an appraiser.
Remember, everyone is following the same appraisal rules, so the playing field is level.

*January 2013 - Real Estate Market Statistics
** Value Check Demo


Win-win
Remind sellers that even though they are selling lower, they are buying proportionally lower too. If sellers are moving up, they are actually reaping greater benefits of a proportionately lower cost on a larger home.

Sellers who are moving down may not enjoy the higher savings in the sales price, but they are still getting a better deal on the new house, regardless of its size. And the lower maintenance costs and monthly fees of a smaller home will add up to larger savings in the long term.

Focus on reality, not stories
Undoubtedly, potential sellers will share stories of their friends who hired the brother of a friend’s nephew to sell their home at a huge profit. Never mind that it may not have been in their neighborhood, state, or even in this real estate market, and the actual profit may have been inflated each time someone passed it along.

Don’t worry about trying to compete with this story. Just keep leading your clients back to the numbers in THIS neighborhood and THIS real estate market. YOU are the real estate professional who knows your market best, and you want to keep them focused on the reality of the market — and on your research and your expertise.

You get what you pay for
It’s also important to educate sellers about the value of working with a truly professional Realtor. While sellers may think they are saving by selling their homes themselves, or by working with their friend’s neighbor’s uncle who charges only a fraction of the regular commission, a professional Realtor who knows the seller’s neighborhood is invaluable in this market.

Stay rational
It’s easy to become emotional or have a knee-jerk reaction when a seller first shares a concern. Instead, stay level-headed and go back to your presentations and data to support your answers. Your sellers will appreciate your professional response and knowledge, and everyone can stay focused on successfully closing the transaction.

Disclaimer: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal or accounting advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
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