The adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rarely applies to real estate.
When buyers find a home that fits all their criteria, listed at a price they can’t believe, and appears to be in perfect condition, they may wonder aloud to their real estate agent why the owners are selling.
“Over time, cynicism replaced ‘one man’s trash’ with ‘If they’re selling it, what’s wrong with it?'” Inman.com staff writer Caroline Feeney wrote in “How to handle ‘Why are the sellers moving’ like a pro.”
“While you’re up late pulling comps and keeping track of the critical details, the temptation to respond with ‘It’s none of your business’ is strong for many,” she wrote.
Of course, that answer won’t go over well with buyers, so to help you with ways to handle, “Why are the sellers moving?” Feeney put together these tips gleaned from an Out of the Box Owl Facebook Group discussion thread.
The vague one-liner — Keep your answer simple and nondescript to avoid making negative comments about the home. Group members suggested, “It was a lifestyle decision,” “They’re relocating,” and “Their needs have changed.”
Group member and Realtor Tina Felder said she uses economics in her reply. “They are taking advantage of historically low-interest rates and moving up (or downsizing, if that’s the case),” she said in the article.
The deal sealer — Think like a lawyer. Do your best to avoid “argumentative dialogue,” real estate sales and investment mentor Bill Crane said in the Facebook thread.
“Step one is always acknowledge their question as if it makes sense even when it is annoying [be]cause we’ve heard it 40,000 times,” he said.
Other tips include using the question as intel for the sellers, as The Keyes Company real estate associate Ann Ryan said she sometimes does.
“I actually think this is a great question because it can help me put together a better offer,” Ryan said in the article. “I’ve had offers chosen because we adjusted to the sellers’ real needs, which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t ask.”
The ultimate reversal — If nothing else is working, group members suggested turning the question around with answers like, “Well, why are you looking to buy?” or “The sellers want to know why you’re buying a home.”
What about the seller’s agent? — If the seller and listing agent haven’t discussed how to handle this question, the listing agent should keep responses vague to protect the seller’s interests.
Group member Nicole Arenas, a luxury and investment real estate consultant, said she addresses the issue head-on.
“The best way to handle it is — ‘What would you like me to say to buyers when they ask why you’re moving?’,” she said in the article. “This also gives the seller the opportunity to permit or decline that conversation.”
What are some of the ways you answer this question? Let us know in the comments below.