The Rule of The FIVE

My husband bases his entire Real Estate philosophy on the advice given to him from a busy, sophisticated mother of six- “I never give my kids more than two options for dinner.” No buyer should be equated to a toddler, but the advice still rings true- never overwhelm your client. If your kids opt for chicken, God forbid you serve trout- confusion will abound, dishes will break, and tears will fall.

When someone calls looking to buy, a good Realtor should be able to listen and understand the complicated nuances of subjective wants vs. needs. While discussing a buyer’s future home, the Realtor should already have 5 MLS numbers in mind and be checking availability from his laptop (with a Sprint wireless card if he’s not in the office). By the end of the conversation, the Realtor should know the area the buyer desires (probing questions may reveal that they said they wanted North but they didn’t know the Tollway opened, so now they are open to the more affordable options in the West), have 5 homes in mind to tour, know 5 things the buyer wants in those homes by asking questions regarding subjects even THEY haven’t thought of (you have a baby coming? Perhaps you could use a study instead of an additional bedroom- that will open up some options. You want red brick? You’ll love this red brick with limestone accents featured by a prominent local builder. You say you want to landscape? Oh, you mean you want a 2’x4’ space for your hydrangeas!). After all, knowing 5 things they want is good because, as my husband says, “you can’t argue with your own data.”

If you (as a buyer OR Realtor) find yourself in home number six and are getting closer to a selection, the Realtor should discuss with the buyers their original 5 wants/needs and address how these have changed. Regrouping is pertinent at this point because buyers CAN change their minds midstream. If the Realtor isn't even close to the mark, the connection might not have been made and the relationship should be optional beyond that point.

Too many Realtors simply have fun playing around in vacant houses and forget that the buyer’s time is precious too! Everyone loves dreaming about replacing floors and what color the valances will be, but shopping should be the easiest, smoothest, and often the shortest part of the home buying transaction. After the home is selected, most Realtors consider their job done and suddenly stop answering calls. This is pathetic- the best Realtors know to hold a buyer’s hand through the lending process, to follow up with title, to go to all inspections, help coordinate insurance and warranty, be at the closing table and be there to open the front door with the buyers. This is an incubation period which is often neglected in the Real Estate industry, but is CRUCIAL to the buying process. No wonder builders are experiencing so many cancellations!

Look, my husband has a 99% closing ratio because his background in PR and marketing has given him the unique advantage of being able to listen effectively and narrow down people’s comments into 5 desires or needs (and being able to distinguish the difference between the two), and in most cases being able to show buyers the home they will buy in the first shot (but will show 2, 3, or 4 more to ease the “what if” questions buyers may have). He tells buyers up front that they will look at up to 5 homes, they will not be stalked (and can walk away if it is not a good fit), and they will have someone on their side watching over the entire process. Most times, they will take their chosen home off the market the same day he shows them. He loathes the long term buyer’s agreement and doesn’t feel the need to subject a client to 120 days of his “service”- if a Realtor hasn’t gotten close within the first 5 homes, maybe they just don’t get it and all parties should part. After all, he wants to be at the house warming party and he will be the Realtor to sell that same house in the future!

To summarize- when your buyer calls and is prequalified, you need to
(1) ask questions, listen, and assess their wants versus their needs into 5 specific targets
(2) don't beat around the bush, show them the house they described first (often this can rule out your other four homes, but show them the next best thing anyhow).
(3) If you've realized that you missed the mark, don't waste their time- reschedule and research with new current data in hand.
(4) For home number three, with your new data, show them the home most closely matching their new description- since this is post-reassessment, you should be spot-on. And here you are at home number 3 or 4 as opposed to 33 or 34.
(5) Now that you've saved time shopping, you can spend more time with the closing process and should be able to give more (aka better) service to the buyer!

I see this work every day- it should be the norm in the industry, not the exception to the rule!

1 comment:


Glad you enjoyed the Group Writing Activity!