You’re at the listing appointment. You’ve gotten a handle on why the owners are selling, where they intend to go, and what they hope to net from the sale. Naturally they want top dollar for their “perfect” home - and they expect you to make that happen. Can you? Maybe. But your first priority is to get the seller to gain a little perspective and to see their home through the buyer’s eyes. How do you do this? Ask them the single most important “Million Dollar Listing Question” that prompts the homeowner - not you - to reveal their home’s possible deficiencies and allows for a candid discussion about pricing. Why is this called the “Million Dollar” Listing Question? Because the more well priced listings you take and sell, the more well priced listings you’ll continue to earn! Over the course of your career, this could mean over a million dollars in additional income. Is this reason enough for you to give this strategy a go?Let’s try this script on for size:
Agent: John, Mary - if selling weren’t an option and you were to remain here, what would you repair, replace, or update?
Mary: Well ,we’d definitely replace the carpet in the bedrooms...and maybe paint.
Mary: I’d want new kitchen counters and a new sink.
Agent: Great, John do have something to add?
John: The roof is original, so I’d be thinking about that...
Agent: Thanks...anything else?
John: The deck needs some work. A few boards need to be replaced and it could use a new coat of stain.
Agent: Perfect. Is that all?
John and Mary: Yes.
Agent: I appreciate you sharing this with me. You know, it’s very likely that the buyers who come through here may point out the same things. What do you think we should do?
Notice what’s been accomplished here? It’s pretty powerful. You’ve implied that you’ll be working together (“we”), you’ve shared a glimpse of buyer behavior, and you’ve remained out of judgment around their home’s condition - THEY’VE stated what needs to be done!
Now, after you ask the sellers what they are willing to do, you can likely expect to hear one of two responses:
- “We don’t have the money (or desire) to do anything.” Your response? “Well that’s okay - I respect your position. We just need to be mindful of the things you have mentioned as we discuss our market price. If we position ourselves correctly, we’ll still be able to attract early interest and offers.”
- “We may be able to do a few things. What do you recommend?” Your response allows you to demonstrate your Local Market Expertise. Be prepared to show the difference between comparable homes that sold quickly and those that sat on the market. What updates and upgrades were most mentioned? Did photos and videos reveal spaces that appeared fresh, bright, inviting? Use what you’ve learned to plan a course of action for the sellers, and share with them the biggest “bang for the buck” items first - fresh paint, new fixtures, cabinet hardware, cleaning and staging.
There’s an expression in our industry: Price solves everything, and it’s true! Sellers will be more willing to heed your advice around pricing after you prompt them to reveal what they’d repair, replace, and update if they remained in their home and after they see what buyers have responded to and ultimately purchased. Integrate this valuable question and script into your presentation starting today. You have nothing to lose, and listings to gain!
Beth Incorvati is our Chief Blogger and Podcast Host at Radio Relola. She has been training, motivating, and inspiring real estate professionals for over fifteen years.