Stock Answers to Common Real Estate Questions

By Amy Schafer, Director of Education

I once read an article (and I wish I could find it again) that said real estate was one of the sexiest careers.  What?  They rank and rate that sort of thing?  And, to be honest, there is not a single thing about this business that makes me feel sexy!  Yet, it got me wondering…….

Then, in 2005 my beloved niece began her journey as an undergrad in nursing school and I realized that nursing is one of those careers that as soon as you hear it, you just have to ask about your latest pain or ailment.  Dalacy (my niece) all of the sudden started having folks ask about why their lower back hurt or telling a long, lengthy story about a recent surgery.  This made me realize, real estate is the same thing!  As soon as someone hears I am a REALTOR, they ask about the real estate market.  It happens ALL the time:  at the grocery, cocktail parties and sometimes it feels like a natural greeting versus even just saying hello.  So, here are three basic stock questions you will get as a REALTOR:

Question: “How’s the real estate market?”

Answer: “Great, why do you ask?”

I didn’t event this idea, but the reason I suggest this stock “come back” is because I have fallen in the trap way too many times.  The trap of saying “the market is great and I have homes selling in the first week on the market” only to have the other person reply with a horrible story about their uncle who has been trying to sell his house for over four months with the worst outcome ever.  And, then the conversation turns super awkward!  Super.  Awkward.  If I instead say “why do you ask” it gives them a chance to share their story, good or bad, and I can leave the conversation on a positive note.  It also allows me to set up the conversation so I can reply at some point with “oh gosh, sorry to hear about your uncle, I thought maybe you were looking to make a move!  Are you considering a move?”.  Bingo, that’s what I really want to know!  Not about their uncle who made the biggest mistake ever and didn’t list his house with me in the first place!

Question: When’s the best time to sell a house? 

Answer: The day you list with me!

Again, not my idea and kind of corny yet I love it!  I love it for three reasons.  One, it is not what they are going to expect to hear as a response, which means they will really perk up and start to pay attention.  Two, it sets the expectation that you want to earn their business right way.  No sense is playing secret agent, get yourself out there!  Three, sellers think spring is always the best time to list their home and it just simply isn’t true.  For example, March is a really high selling season which means in order for those deals to close, the offers were written in January or February.  In the cold and snow, not when grass is considering making a come-back!  And holidays are another good example.  While there may not be as much traffic as April or May, those buyers are serious.  They need to buy a house and sellers most likely have the least amount of competition of other homes for sale.  I literally could give you a logical reason to list on any day of any month of any year.  Including the day I am leaving on vacation!

Question: When is the best time to buy a house?

Answer: As soon as you have your financing in order!

What I really like about this response is two-fold.  One, you are planting the seed that the first and most important step is getting financing in order.  I love working with buyers yet I don’t put my best friend Marnie in the car and go house shopping without a pre-approval letter!  Never.  Ever.   I want all buyers to have the confident feeling that they can pursue the house they love without wondering if they can really buy it.  And, I don’t want to get a seller excited about a hot offer from a buyer who may not be qualified.  Gary Keller says “if you chase two rabbits, you will catch none.”  Yet if you chase one rabbit at a time, you will be much more successful.  Think of one rabbit as financing and another rabbit as a house.  And, this includes cash buyers having proof of funds.  The second thing I like about a response like this is how fast they get that piece in order tells a lot about them as a home buyer. How quickly someone turns around and meets with a lender tells me how organized and motivated they are.  I once had a past client ask me this very question and I gave this stock reply.  They shared they really weren’t looking to make a move for another 6-12 months.  I shared that getting with a lender early will only help them plan ahead for down-payment and all the other details that we had discussed.  And, guess what?  They were pre-approved within three days and I had them under contract on a beautiful home two weeks later.  They said 6-12 months!  The truth is, once they knew it could be a reality, they couldn’t think about anything other than real estate.  

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