How Much Influence Should Outsiders Have on a Real Estate Transaction?
It just happens sometimes. It's nothing you've done wrong. You get the sellers to agree to a reasonable price, then their neighbor says, "Wow! That sounds really low to me. Is your agent just trying to get the house sold quickly so they won't have to work at it?" The seller calls you with questions, and there is suspicion in her voice.
Or perhaps you have worked really hard to negotiate on behalf of your buyer client, then his dad tells him that he is paying way too much. How can he possibly afford that house on his salary? He hasn't even paid off his student loans yet! Well, this is the kind of thing that makes you so valuable ot the transaction. You are probably going to "earn your money" here.
The amount of influence that a family member or friend holds over the transaction is inversely proportional to how badly you need the commission. In other words, if you need the sale badly, that's when a random "expert" who has your client's ear will step out of the shadows to offer advice on the situation. Maybe they used to be an agent back in the 70's. Maybe they just bought a home and they are wary of the bad things that some agents do. Whatever the case, it can often be difficult to overcome these types of objections.
In basic sales training at many brokerages, they cover the rudimentary objections that we often face in the field. However, I haven't seen this specific topic addressed. Frankly, this is easier to address on a case-by-case basis, but there are some broad rules to follow.
Here are some other examples to ponder:
- What do you do if your client's mother tells him not to buy in that area of town where you have already finished finalizing the paperwork and you are set to close?
- What about the FSBO across the street that just went up for $30,000 over market? It makes your listing seem underpriced by comparison.
These are two real-life experiences that I have had in the past month. In the first case, I simply told his mom that the area of town was the only place where you could find a home that was suitable at the desired price. The buyer had obtained custody of his two small children, and they needed a decent sized home and yard to make it work for him.
In the case of the FSBO, since it wasn't someone really close to the seller (who happens to be my cousin in this case), I told him that the guy across the street was insane, and that he would never get anything close to that price anytime soon. Were these harsh words? Yes. Was this the truth? Without a doubt.
My general rule of thumb when dealing with well-meaning friends or family members is to politely yet firmly remind them that I do this EVERY DAY, and that I am their representative, and as such I am obligated to look out for them ahead of what I want/need. I never have to push very hard. The truth works wonders. Perhaps you will have to spend more time than is normal to salvage the deal, but it is certainly better than starting from scratch or losing the client altogether.
Don't let your buyers or sellers be misdirected by those around them. Remember that you are the expert!