I’ve been spending time in some local real estate offices lately and have been hearing pretty much the same thing from the majority of the agents.  They all mention the economy, short sales, foreclosures, the market and the bailout as road blocks to their sales.

Thankfully, the clients I coach across the country don’t have those things on their mind.

I don’t mean to say they don’t think about them, what I mean is that they don’t let those thoughts get in the way of their business.  Despite what you hear about how bad things are, houses are selling every day.

One of my clients in Salt Lake City, Utah is having the best year of his career…this year…in this market!

Why?  Because he’s the salesperson, not the media and not the clients.

Yes, these are challenging times.  Yes, the buying/selling public buys into the media hype and lots of times just spouts off what they hear/read without thinking about it.

Yet still, houses are selling.  In my county (Atlantic County, NJ) there have been 1900 homes sold so far this year.  In fact, the same amount of homes sold in September 2008 as in September 2007.


Do you need to brush up on your sales skills so you know what to say?  Of course you do.  And that’s no different than any other time in your career.

It used to be if a property expired the seller would blame the agent.  Now, more than likely, they blame the market and the agent might get a free pass.  That is, unless that agent disappeared out of fear and frustration, as I’ve posted about before.

All the market situation means is that you need to work on a few different objection handlers.  Otherwise, you won’t be the salesperson, your prospects will be.  They’ll be selling you on why they shouldn’t buy or sell.

Prospects will throw up an “I want to wait for the market to get better” smokescreen very quickly these days.  And most agents will let them go.

The good agents will realize this may not be the best course of action for them.  And sometimes you need to ask more questions to find out what it is they want or need.

***HINT: at any time if you find yourself mostly answering questions, telling prospects a lot of information, defending or justifying then you are being sold by that prospect.  The more questions you ask, the more in control of the conversation you are.  Don’t let them sell you.

Look, if a client truly can’t sell because they can’t afford to bring money to the closing, or the financials don’t allow for them to buy something else, etc., then you can’t help them.  I’m not talking about manipulating people into buying or selling when they really shouldn’t.  I’m talking about not buying into the hype of what’s going on around you, and helping them do what they told you they want to do.

Buyers who want to wait because they think prices could still go down need to be aware that interest rates will most likely go up.  Even a small interest hike makes the same house cost more, even if the price stays the same.  A larger interest hike causes the same house to cost more, even if the price went down.  And this past summer we were up a full point from where we currently are.  It can happen.

Sellers who want to wait need to know we are in year three of what could be a five year cycle, so prices could still go down.  And if they are buying, then they need to know that the price of their house will go up or down relative to the price of what they are buying…however (see the paragraph above), the X factor is interest rates.  Worst case scenario is that their house goes up and so does the other house along with the interest rates.

The plain and simple fact is that most buyers and sellers think they know what they’re doing.  However, their actions and their motivations don’t really match.  A lot of that has to do with the media.  A lot of that has to do with how poor of an industry real estate is in terms of good agents who know how to sell homes.

You see, kids, the best time to buy or sell real estate is always now.  You never know what’s going to happen around the corner.  And if you want to argue that those people who bought their homes in 2004 shouldn’t have bought them then, I’ll give you that.  However, the average buyer usually takes about 8 months to buy, looking at over 50 houses with 10 agents.  Not to mention most agents over price homes, so they stay on the market longer than they should.  In other words, many people who bought in 2004 were probably starting the process in 2002-2003.

Regardless, real estate has always gone up each decade over the last 160 years, and it will continue to do so.

Find out your prospect’s motivation, help them do what they want/need to do, and don’t let them sell you on the market.  All those expireds from the last few months who want to wait until January, or the spring are going to have a rude awakening when they realize everyone’s thinking like them and the inventory will be even more flooded.  Add that to potential interest rate increases and their houses will be worth even less than now.

Go help them!

Scott Friedman