Overcoming Obstacles When House Hunting

Written by Posted On Friday, 04 May 2018 09:16
Help your clients see the dream in the home Help your clients see the dream in the home

Even in boom times, overcoming obstacles as a real estate agent or Realtor is a major component of the sales process.

It should go without saying that your client's interests should be of singular importance when helping them find the right home. What we're talking here is helping your clients see the difference between actual obstacles - the house has too few bedrooms - and perceived shortcomings that require a little creativity!

It's sort of like decluttering your thinking, but giving your client that type of clarity on what's truly important when purchasing a home. So, once you've found the right set of properties in your client's desired neighborhoods with the basic requirements (bedrooms and bathrooms), let's talk about three of the most common obstacles still on the table!

The House's Amenities (or lack thereof!)

As you've no doubt experienced, it's pretty common to walk through a home with clients and have them start nitpicking details in the house. The wall paper is ugly, or the appliances are old. The carpet is dingy or they don't like the tile backsplash.

For the most part, these complaints can be benign and they don't all have to be corrected. But, if the house is right, help them reframe their thinking about those shortfalls. "Sure, the wallpaper is hideous, but a little sweat equity and paint and it's like it was never there!" Or, "the house with better wallpaper in a worse area costs $10k more."

On the bigger stuff, it might also help to remind your clients that homes are investments with advantages unlike renting: specifically, appreciation and equity... Almost everything about the house can change, except where it is. So, if they're standing in a nearly-perfect home in their dream neighborhood, help them see it as a future.

For example, if your client's home value appreciates and they add in a few years of payments, suddenly updating those appliances, replacing carpet with hardwood, replacing tile and backsplashes are all easy projects to complete with a small home equity line of credit. And many of those projects can be done over the weekend with a little free training at Lowe's or Home Depot!

Square Footage

There's a not-insignificant part of the American dream that's tied up in having the big house and the fancy cars. Which is understandable. However, a vast majority of homes across the country are priced exactly that way - by the square foot. If your clients wants the big house, they're literally going to pay for it!

But is there really a huge difference between 1,450 square feet and 1,600 square feet? Experience will tell you that it depends on the house. Low ceilings make homes feel smaller, along with tiny rooms with lots of walls. Often, 2,000 square feet can feel like 1,300.

But the reverse is true too! As well thought-out remodel could feel much bigger than it is. It all comes down to how the space us used!

Additionally, there are entire movements, like the Tiny House Nation, dedicated to living in smaller spaces. Ideas on how to live smaller are everywhere! Here's a great article from Forbes on how to live "smaller". Or, this website, offering sleeper sofas that will help maximize your client's space. The key focus here is to help your client see beyond the number and focus on the utility of the house.

If the house is right, but doesn't measure up to the square footage they wanted, it's in their interest to see the house as more than just that single statistic - to see it as a potential home.

Too Few Living Spaces

One final hurdle that seems to be a make or break for many home buyers - the number of living spaces. Obviously, this one can weed out tons of great properties. As a diligent agent, it's worth digging deeper. Often homes will only have the one living space, but have a great covered deck or other outdoor space. That's not the solution for every client, of course. But knowing your clients and checking the extra details on the property can help you and your clients find gems others might easily overlook!

Have thoughts about these suggestions? Leave a comment below and let's hear your two cents!

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