How To Deftly Deal With 5 Common (But Cruel) Seller Demands

Just because it’s a seller’s market doesn’t mean your clients should get whatever they want. If your sellers have a tendency to be overly demanding — and mean about it — here’s some advice for bringing them back to reality.

Yes, yes, yes, we all know that it is a seller’s market now. However, it seems that good ol’ fashioned cruelty plus having a property to sell are no longer mutually exclusive.

While we agents want to arrange for our sellers to get the most out of their home sale, some sellers are taking meanness toward everybody else in the deal way too far.

Here are a few situations that sellers might put you through, and how to deal with them appropriately.

Showcase your experience


Your seller insists that you do open houses in rain, snow, 115 degree weather, etc. Enjoy putting out those signs!

What agents can do about it:

You can counter this by letting them know that, in your vast experience, nobody shows up to open houses in bad weather. And do they really want to leave their own house when they can be inside and comfy? How much time can they possibly kill at a Big Box store?

Nobody likes to be teased


Your seller prices their property artificially low to tease buyers who cannot afford the property anyway.  Forget the time that buyers, their agents, and their lenders spend in putting an offer together. Forget the time you spend in analyzing these low offers, speaking to the buyers’ lenders, going over the buyers’ financials and explaining those to the sellers, etc.

What agents can do about it:

Point out to them how much of their own time they will have to waste going through 9 out of 10, or 19 out of 20 unqualified offers and that there will be a test at the end of the review session.

Point to solid comparables


Conversely, your seller wants to price their home way high because, well, “It’s better than anything else out there,” or “I need to get this amount.”

What agents can do about it:

This is where statistics come in. You can show them all of the properties that sat and sat on the market because they were too expensive – and then had to have a price reduction in order to sell (this is all overpriced properties, pretty much).

Alternatively, you can have your sellers agree to do in-person showings. They will get tired of this pretty quickly once the house has to be cleaned every morning.

Both parties must cooperate


The seller wants to set unreasonable time frames and contingency dates. Why not insist on receiving counter offers on a major holiday? Why not do all physical inspections in one day of acceptance?

The sellers’ house is perfect, right? Why even have contingency dates at all? If the buyer really, really wants the house, they’ll find a way to buy it, right? (Yes, and I’ll “find a way” to buy the L.A. Lakers, too.)

What agents can do about it:

OK, it is time for you to tell the sellers stories from your experience – how short, or no, contingency dates did not mean a closing, and how great offers often had standard time periods. You may want to sneak in your favorite horror story about a cancellation here too, and how really hard it is to collect a buyer’s deposit.

Don’t let your sellers break the law


Your sellers violate Fair Housing. Agents, this is on you. Please explain what Fair Housing means before you take the listing – and be prepared to walk away if your sellers disregard the law.

After all, would you rather miss a paycheck or go to jail?

What agents can do about it:

Maybe reminding your sellers about the Golden Rule is unwarranted. However, most sellers understand words like “reasonable” and “fair.” And even seller sadists can be persuaded to want a smooth marketing and home selling process. Just have them think about how much energy they will have left over for other kinds of mischief.

Judy Graff is the broker-owner of Judy Graff Properties, Inc., in Los Angeles. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

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