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?”