Steve Stewart Seminars

Steve Stewart Seminars

SYNOPSIS: Buyers and sellers are given too much credit for knowing more than they actually do. There is a great deal more to know about buying and selling real estate than they typically know. Think of the classed you attended to learn what you have; where your buyers and sellers there, too?
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It is a mistake to give homebuyers and sellers too much credit for knowing how the process of buying and selling works. We do this for a living; they don't.

The public often gets credit for being so much more sophisticated than it was ten years ago. Are they smarter? I think not and I can prove it. A widely discussed news article this year reported that 53% of American adults don't know how long it takes the earth to go once around the sun (does the phrase "one year" mean anything to you?) One quarter (27%) even got that simple idea backward, believing it's the sun which revolves around the earth. Where's Gallileo when you need him?

Recently I stayed in a classy hotel with a large yellow decal in the shower reminding the guests to "Please put shower curtain inside tub before taking a shower." Whimsy? Or did the management finally come to the conclusion, "I guess we've to come right out and give them shower instructions since clearly they have not figured out where to put the curtain."

If the public hasn't figured out something as simple as a shower curtain, what are the odds they understand net equity based on hard values determined by recent sales of comparable property?

What are the odds they've got a firm grasp on competitive market values recognizing what their house is worth on the open market as opposed to what they would like it to be worth?

We can sympathize with homeowners getting an inflated vision of their own home's value and a deflated view of the what they will buy next (which, of course, appreciates wildly within 24 hours of the closing - if only in their minds). Even trained, objective, dispassionate Realtors® make honest mistakes in pricing property too high. So, what chance does the self-selling homeowner have of doing it right the only time he needs to be right? Or even of knowing what all he must do?

George Carlin said it best.

"Think for a minute how stupid the averge person is. Then realize that half of 'em are stupider than that."

Many of us trade emails that we call Darwin Award Nominations. Remember survival of the fittest? The other side of that coin is the demise of the un-fit. A few of us believe we should remove all the traffic signs and warning labels just to see who survives. Here's a short explanatory sampler:

  • Asked frequently of national park rangers at the Carlsbad Caverns: "How much of this cave is underground?" "What's in the unexplored section?" (That's my personal favorite question.)
  • Asked frequently of park rangers in Yellowstone: "Who turns off the geysers at night?" "We found the entrance to the park; where are the exits?"
  • Asked of park rangers at Yosemite National Park: "Where are all the rides?" "What did they do with the other half of Half Dome?"

Frankly, some people are too stupid to be left at home without a sitter.

So why should an astute, professional Realtor® such as yourself presume everyone knows what he's talking about? All of us are ignorant on different subjects. Twenty percent of the people reading this article had to take the real estate exam more than once in order to pass. If we professionals have a head start, think of the ones who never took the test. Real estate has to be on someone's ignorant-about-it list!

A licensee will complete pre-license training; pass an exam designed to test your knowledge on real estate laws and customs; get licensed by the state's licensing agency; convince an experienced broker to say "we want you!" Then, become an associate member of the local, state and national professional Realtor® associations; graduate from the company's sales training program; and actually sell two or three houses.

Ask that agent: "On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you?" Answer: "Maybe a 4."
Then ask the same question of a For Sale By Owner who's never, ever sold a house and who knows nothing about disclosures, finance or the competition. Their answer: "On a 10 scale? 11!"

That is front porch bravado. But behind closed doors, deep in his heart of hears, cloaked in fear and fantasy, the For Sale By Owner knows he's kidding himself. He needs a pro and he knows it. The question is whether you can demonstrate that you are the particular pro he needs.

Don't get stuck on what they say. Talk to the need that lies inside. Let them talk about what they can do on their own; but you should talk to them about their reasons for selling, the time limits they have, what it will mean if the sale doesn't happen on time.

Answering those questions will keep them centered on the real issues - realities that are not addressed when people are saying, "We'd like to do this; I'm sure we can do this; Oh yeah, we can make this happen ourselves!" Merely wanting it to be so is not the same as delivering results. No kidding, it takes a pro, not an amateur.

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Steve Stewart is a popular writer and seminar speaker based in Southern CA and the author of 13 books and audio series on real estate sales including "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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