7 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Clients

...And seven things you should.

Sometimes, real estate agents’ tongues get ahead of their brains. Here are some client scenarios to approach with tact and diplomacy to keep your business relationship on track.

1. A cluttered house.

Don’t say: “You have too much stuff that you need to dump.”

Do say: Sherri Meadows, 2016 vice president of the National Association of REALTORS®, tells clients, “Homes that are staged properly sell faster and, most times, for a higher price.”

2. A filthy or smelly house.

Don’t say: “Your walls are dirty, and your house smells musty. People will only focus on that when they view your home.”

Do say: “I have a great contact I could recommend that can go through and do all the pesky deep cleaning for you. She’ll even scrub your walls, because I know I can’t stand doing that at my house,” says Ashley Huizenga, broker at Exit Realty in Davenport, Iowa.

3. Being inflexible.

Don’t say: “You can only reach me during business hours.”

Do say: “You can reach me between [pick a range of hours you are happy with], but I am always on alert for my clients.” You don’t have to be on call 24 hours a day, but it’s important to set reasonable expectations with your clients.

4. A know-it-all client.

Don’t say: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. If you don’t follow the contract, you will lose your deposit.”

Do say: “I can relate to your frustration regarding the deadlines in the purchase contract, but truly, they are there to protect both parties,” Meadows says.

5. Making assumptions.

Don’t say: “Hi, you must be his daughter.” Guessing based on age or appearance is not advisable when you are identifying a client’s family or significant other. The person in this scenario could be a spouse rather than offspring, says Joe Castillo, broker-owner of Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago.

Do say: Introduce yourself and ask, “What relation are you to Bob?”

6. Expressing opinions.

Don’t say: “My goodness, this house was just too old and small. Scratch this one off the list.” Castillo remembers when he first started in the business, he walked out of a house while saying that to his client, but then he could hear the client’s husband, who lagged behind, say, “This is the one.”

Do say: “Tell me, what are your initial thoughts on the home?”

7. Personal mementos.

Don’t say: “Buyers don’t want to see your family portraits or your design style when they tour your home.”

Do say: “I love all of your personal touches,” Huizenga says. “I think it might be helpful for people to envision their own décor if they had a little bit more of a blank slate. Would you mind taking some of this down?”