Steve Stewart Seminars

Steve Stewart Seminars

SYNOPSIS: Author explains how to get all the information to the sellers up front so you have less to explain afterward, and you start the listing appointment with more professional credibility. 1850 Words.


How many times has your seller fought you on price, on brokerage fee, on simply leaving home during your open house because they didn't understand up front what an essential difference those factors represent? If our sellers only knew what we know, they would understand what we understand. They would see the same world with the same perspective that we see. But how do we get our understanding to them, up front and without ever having to say, "You're wrong and I'm right?" It's simpler than you think.

Make your own audio file that tells every buyer and seller what you'd want them to know from the beginning. Not only will this help prevent your most common problems from road-blocking your success, it will also give you the opportunity to demonstrate your competence, to prove that you know what you're talking about, that you know which important questions to ask.

Whenever possible, tell people things they don't know and wouldn't expect to hear. Make them think, "I didn't know that!" Put all your seller and buyer in the audio file. There is no good piece of advice you'd give a seller that you wouldn't want a buyer to overhear, is there? Everything ought to be in your own voice.

In this article we'll consider what you should put on the seller's side of tape. Next time I'll give you a list you should include on the buyer's side. If you just can't wait, email me at and we'll email the full list. Or, visit my web site to download the whole article for free.

  • You can't sell it for more than it is worth. Even if we find that one buyer who is willing to pay more than the property is worth, every lender requires a fee appraiser to examine the price and the property. That's not just a way lenders accelerate fees. The buyer may have 20% of the price covered, but the lender is risking 80% of the value and has much more to lose. Low appraisals are the second most common reason for sales falling apart. It's better to ask for what the property's worth and stick to your guns than to reach for something unreachable.
  • It's a bad idea to start high and come down later. Price the property as if you want someone else to own it. As a matter of fact, the seller's neighbor probably didn't sell their house for as much as they said (or did so in a better market, or by accepting a small amount of cash while carrying back a note). If a seller is going to lose a buyer, please try to lose them during the negotiations rather than during the showings! People usually don't go see properties known to be over-priced.
  • Be gone every time a buyer shows up. Would you buy a house with no kitchen cabinets? With no closets? Yet that's what we ask buyers to do when they see houses with the sellers at home. You can't open a cabinet door with the seller standing there because it would be impolite. You can't walk into a walk-in closet as long as the seller is anywhere at home - even the back yard - because you don't want to get caught standing inside someone else's private space. However, the lack of storage space is a very common complaint among homebuyers. No matter how inconvenient it is, even if you are eating dinner when buyers show up without an appointment, grab your car keys and leave. Don't come back as long as the buyers are still inside the house.
  • Let people see your house without an appointment. Discourteous? Rude? Certainly. Yet how would you like to almost sell your house to someone you asked to come back later when it was more convenient to you, but who bought the house right after yours and no longer needed to see what you have?
  • Keep the property in showroom condition. People know that your furniture and your clutter are not included with the sale. But spaciousness and neatness sends messages about how you maintain the house structurally. If you see a car that needs to be washed and painted, it makes you wonder if they've ever changed the oil. Therefore, to get top trade in, you wash and wax your car before taking it to the dealer. The same goes for houses. Also, when buyes see a messy house, it seems more invasive than when they walk through neat homes. You do want your buyers to feel comfortable in the home. Coming in second place on a buyer's selection list is the same as coming in last place. Almost selling equals not selling any way you cut it.
  • Homeowners fight while their house is on the market. That's not optional. While you wait to sell, keeping the place in sparkling condition as if no one actually lived there, there's the added tension that comes from uncertainty and the fact that you have all these strangers coming through your house looking through your "stuff." Worse: NOT having strangers come through your house! As long as you can only sell it for it's current street value, why not price it right, get it sold, and move on to all the other wonderful adventures that await you?
  • Yes, even their pets are a problem. Be careful; some dogs and cats are people's four-legged kids. But pets present unique problems to consider. Many people are allergic to animal hair; if you have animals, you have animal hair no matter how often you clean and vacuum. Birds attract attention to themselves and away from the house. And it doesn't take a pit bull to scare people off. Little Fifi-the-Toy-Poodle becomes Kujo-the-Tiger-Dog when left to defend the property while the owner is gone. Some agents won't show property with a house cat; if the cat sneaks out, we have to spend 45 minutes trying to catch it and put uncooperative Fluffy back in the house. A dog barking constantly in the back yard makes buyers feel as if they don't belong in the house - and should leave. Truth: the longer buyers spend in the property they like the best, the more likely they are to make an offer. Find a neighbor or friend who will keep the pets for every day for a couple weeks while the house is for sale; you never know when buyers you didn't expect might want to see the home. Pet snakes in the house? Don't even ask….
  • Fast sales are better than slow ones. The best offers come during the first 30 days. No one ever made more money by waiting ten months for another offer to come in higher (while making ten more monthly payments on a property they did not want to own any longer).
  • There's no such thing as waiting for a higher offer. Once you turn down an offer on your house, you can only wait for a different offer. The next one might be higher, might be lower, might even be the same. But for every 30 days you wait, the next offer (if it ever comes) has to be a full house payment higher than the last offer for you to just break even.
  • Tenants are the kiss of death. Tenants don't want the house to sell because they'll have to move, or stay there and face higher rents and new landlords. They won't let you have a lock box, but it's never convenient for them to make an appointment on short notice so you can show it. They frequently don't show up at appointments they've set. If they let you in with your buyer, tenants are compelled to walk with you throughout the house to protect their "stuff" - and to point out every conceivable flaw (leaky faucets, bad electrical wiring, sticking windows and doors that jam). Even tenants who are blood relatives of the owner present problems. It's best to move the tenants out, fix whatever needs attention, get a lockbox on the door and not have anyone there undermining the sale. This way the owner looses a little in rent and gains much in market value.
  • Consider every offer that comes in. On the surface it may not be what they want, but every offer has to be seen in perspective. How does it compare to other offers being made (... or not being made)? Are there factors in the offer that compensate for the price (low price but with no other demands; or high price with demands for all sorts of personal property, closings costs, time-of-closing problems, credit-worthiness risks). Sellers can still say no, or counter offers if they choose to. Please don't just reject offers out of hand.

Look in your telephone yellow pages under Audio and Videotape Production (any studio that provides video duplication usually also does audio production). These studios will either have recording facilities or can refer you to a recording studio. Recording will cost you $30 to $80 for one hour (that's all you need). Recording voice files is much easier, simpler and less expensive than recording music. Practice your script out loud at least 30 times before you get to the studio keeping the final tape to a total of no more than 20-30 minutes. Extensive practice will smooth out your script and delivery, saving you a fortune in editing costs (usually $50 to $80 per hour).

When you are ready, get in, do your job and get out. Don't linger there. Studios often offer to add "bumper" music to your audio file to lead in and take you out just like you hear on the radio when a host has his/her own theme music to bridge between the commercials, the news and their show. Music is not a problem and does add a more professional touch, but it can quickly become very expensive. You don't need it. Get quickly to your voice telling people what they need to know and don't; your message is what this is all about.

Ask around for a good deal on making your final CD product look professional. Ask and you will get good advice. If you are a strong promoter, have your black and white photo printed on the label as well. Recording, labels, master file (yes, you need one) duplication, printing plates for the labels and a protective paper or plastic sleeve - all run you in the neighborhood of $1.30 each on a quantity of 500 copies.

Your job now: Give them out like candy to anyone, anywhere with any interest in buying or selling property. This is a slightly more expensive and completely more valuable business card that no one will ever throw away - although they will pass them around to their friends!

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Steve Stewart is a popular writer and seminar speaker based in Oceanside CA, and the author of 13 books and audio series on real estate sales including this excerpt from "The Best 200 Sales Ideas You Ever Heard!" For information on Steve's books, tapes and seminars, call (760) 298-8146.

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276 N. El Camino Real, #184
Oceanside CA 92058



(760) 298-8146
(760) 216-1353

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