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Handling Objections

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Today’s objections can be a challenge, but they don’t have to stall the deal. We’ve got some dialogue for you to use when an objection comes up.

It’s no secret that market conditions have real estate professionals revamping some of their strategies to deal with a host of objections and challenges. There are homeowners who think their properties are worth more than the market will bear, sellers who want to pay lower commissions to offset losses and buyers who feel they’re entitled to bargain-basement prices.

Somewhere in the middle are the sales associates, who must effectively diffuse the objections or risk seeing their sales volume decrease. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, check out these top objections along with advice from the experts on how to deal with such challenges:  

The objection:  “I want to list my home at a price higher than what you’re saying it will sell for.”

Your short response:  “Let’s look at the market-absorption numbers to see what your chances are for selling your home at the desired price.”

The full story:  Sellers will compare their homes to the comparative market analysis and complain that it’s worth way more. To avoid this problem, use market-absorption numbers and educate them on the 10 months’ (or more) worth of inventory currently on the market, which means that only 10 percent of homes are going to sell in the next month. “Use market-absorption numbers instead of a CMA with a seller, and he or she will be more likely to agree with your numbers,” says Joeann Fossland, owner of Advantage Solutions Group, a real estate coaching company in Cortaro, Ariz. “When the seller asks, ‘What do I need to do to be in that 10 percent?’ you can work out a strategy together instead of [arguing about] who is right or wrong.”

The objection:  “I don’t want to spend the money making my home ‘model perfect’ to sell it.”

Your short response:  “Your home is going to be up against competition in today’s market, much of which will be ‘model perfect.’ In fact, let’s go look at a few right now.”

The full story:  “Sellers may want to just [offer] an allowance for bringing the home to its best condition,” says Fossland, “but that’s not going to work in today’s market.” To help sellers understand how important it is for them to do what they can to improve the look of their homes, show them before-and-after photos of a home that’s been de-cluttered. This should open their eyes to the reality that their homes will have a much better chance of being sold when they’re neat and clean. “Then,” says Fossland, “load them into a car and show them the competition—two or three homes that look great and that are in their price range.”
The objection:  “I’m not convinced of your ability to sell my home in this market.”

Your short response:  “I know that I can handle the task. Let me show you how I’ll do it.”

The full story:  In this situation, your presentation was probably weak, and as a result, it didn’t convey the message that you’re the person that the seller should hire to sell the home. “If the presentation is weak, the objections will flow like a river,” says Dirk Zeller, CEO at Real Estate Champions in Bend, Ore. To boost your chances of getting the listing, go into the meeting with a strong listing presentation that proves your ability to sell homes. The key is not to relinquish control of your mind to your customer, says Zeller. “Practice being successful daily,” says Zeller, “and you will be amazed at your progress.”

The objection: “Home prices are going to go back up, so I’m not going to give my house away now.”

Your short response: “Home prices from [a few] years ago were unrealistic and too high. They aren’t going to return any time soon, so let’s talk about a realistic listing price for your property.”

The full story: The early 2000s saw home prices skyrocketing to unprecedented levels. Many sellers think they’re still going to get those prices for their homes, when those days are over. Experienced associates know this, and are turning down listings that sellers insist on overpricing. “Inexperienced agents are putting out signs and spending a fortune on marketing,” says Jim Crawford, president of in Atlanta. To avoid this trap, Crawford advises real estate professionals to “heavily arm” their listing presentations with statistics and numbers (from the preceding three months) that show how sellers  selling homes at realistic prices. “If the seller doesn’t want to follow your advice, then move on,” says Crawford.

Bridget McCrea is a Clearwater-based freelance writer.