|What Is a Seller Counseling Session? 10 Reasons Why You Need One|
|RISMEDIA, Thursday, October 12, 2017— The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).
A seller counseling session occurs at the beginning of your relationship with a current or prospective seller client and is a strategic activity that helps ensure a high-quality experience for everyone involved.
The consequences of unprepared sellers cannot be overstated. In a recent article from REALTOR® Magazine, agent Ryan Zwicky outlines some lessons learned the hard way, one of which was about setting appropriate expectations from the start. Zwicky says, “I learned that trying to please the seller only harms them in the end. It is better to be completely honest and open from the start.”
A seller counseling session is a powerful expectation-setting tool. It can be a sit-down meeting in person, a virtual web-based teleconference, or even a long phone call—all supplemented with a print resource, to help guide the conversation. The mode of communication that you use for it is not quite as important as your ability to carve out uninterrupted one-on-one time for yourself and the seller to get to know one another a little more deeply, and to go over how everything will work.
There is no one set way to do a seller counseling session, but there are some best practices and resources—home-grown or for-purchase—that can help you plan the conversation beforehand so that you don’t forget any aspect that needs to be discussed. For example, the Real Estate Business Institute (REBI), an affiliate of NAR, offers sets of customizable PowerPoint® presentation templates to help with structuring the conversation. The slides can be reorganized and adapted as needed to your situation. For those that want to take their seller representation skills to an even higher level, REBI also offers its Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) Designation course online at NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development. It also offers the course for classroom delivery, and a schedule of upcoming courses.
Regardless of the exact structure and the exact resources used, a seller counseling session is an invaluable strategic tool that will help you succeed as a seller’s representative. Below are 10 reasons why.
1. Demonstrate Your Value – The session helps you showcase your service package by giving you the opportunity to highlight and explain your business background, your education qualifications, the extent of your experience, and the value you bring to the process. Your expertise and service orientation will help your client feel at ease and taken care of.
2. Set Expectations – The session will help you set expectations so that in the long run there will be fewer surprises (and therefore fewer delays and less confusion). The client will come to understand their role, your role, and the roles of everyone else along the way. Things will run more smoothly. Smooth transactions lead to more referrals.
3. Get on the Same Page – As confusion and potential misunderstandings are addressed and cleared away up front, the session will help put you and your client on the same team so that you are working together with each other, and not at odds or toward opposing goals.
4. Reduce Risk – Because of this meeting, there will be fewer chances for confusion, missteps, breaches and conflict. Whenever processes are made clearer at the outset, the risk of veering off into antagonistic or dangerous waters is greatly minimized.
5. Explain What You Can and Can’t Do – An important aspect of further reducing risk is addressing what you as the client advocate can and cannot do. By addressing this early, there will be fewer or no client expectations or demands that you do something which is unethical, illegal, uncomfortable or just plain fishy. You can go over how agency works in your state and all of the seller disclosures required. You can also discuss what the REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires of you, your fiduciary duty to your client, and what that looks like in day-to-day practice.
6. Outline the Process – Your client will be a more calm, confident, and cooperative partner once they have a big-picture scheme in their mind about what the entire process will entail. Do this for them in the seller consultation session; give them the big picture, 50,000-foot view. This may be second nature to you, but to them, the entire process may be foreign and disorienting. They may not need as many check-ins along the way, and it will be less likely that they will become upset with you if you have explained the overall process beforehand.
7. Position the Property – Having an in-depth conversation about the property, its current position in the market, what can be done to improve this position, like staging (and what can’t be overcome) will help you down the road when you and your client have to deal with price reductions, price negotiations, concessions, contingencies, multiple offers, deals that fall through and so on.
8. Explain Fees – Understanding the line items of the different services clients are paying for will head off a number of questions, objections and frustrations down the road, especially if things get challenging. Having a talk about fees as connected to the value of what you do to help the property succeed in the marketplace is key.
9. Gather Preferences – The seller counseling session is a great time to gather information to help you understand how your client prefers to communicate and be treated. Do they want a daily or weekly check-in, by phone or text? How would they prefer open houses be handled? What makes them stressed and what puts them at ease? You’ll want to gather this information to help you serve them in the way that works best for them.
10. Provide Resources – The session will provide you the opportunity to share resources that the seller can take home with them, review in detail on their own time, and ask questions about later. The value of takeaways and reading material as time-saving educational tools cannot be underestimated. The seller counseling session helps you present and offer these materials so that the seller knows they exist and understands how to review them.
To learn much more about seller counseling sessions and seller representation overall, please consider checking out the education, benefits, and resources offered by REBI and its SRS Designation. In October, the featured 25% OFF course at the Center for REALTOR® Development is the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) Designation course, which is the basic requirement toward obtaining this credential.
It wasn’t long ago when state and local associations, and consumer advocates, began examining “buyer agency” in real estate transactions; this lead to adopted legislation which now mandates the disclosure of agency representation to consumers by licensed real estate professionals. The term “agency” is used in real estate to help determine what legal responsibilities your real estate professional owes to you and other parties in a transaction. Buyer Representation, AKA “the buyer’s agent”, allows for purchasers to have their interests represented throughout the course of a home search, and the eventual purchase of a property. We are no longer subject to a system in which agency representation only supports the Seller. Increased demand from consumers, and years of experience from Realtors, has enabled purchasers to enjoy a professional advocate who only works for them and their interests. Why wouldn’t you choose to have this type of assistance when purchasing your next home?
Just a few of the benefits you’ll receive include expert guidance, objective information and opinions, expanded search power, negotiation knowledge, transactional expertise, career experience, and your anchor during emotional moments. Not to mention that your understanding and satisfaction with a real estate transaction increases when you have your own representation. In most instances it costs you as the buyer very little to have representation, and will very likely save you money and anxiety along the way.
Talk to a buyer’s agent about assisting you with your next real estate transaction, and find out in detail the benefits of receiving the personal representation that years of experience has made available to you. The conversation is free; the knowledge you’ll gain from it is priceless!
Ann and I consider our professional experience in design, construction, and architecture to be a seamless benefit to the clients we help to buy and sell real estate – Real Property.
Many people don’t initially grasp the subtle advantages they receive when working with us, or how our design and architectural expertise within the Richmond real estate business separates us from our competition.
We’ve been involved with residential construction and design since 1986, a licensed Architect since 1995, a licensed Realtor since 2002, and we are both Associate Brokers; these complementary and overlapping disciplines have created for us a unique and specialized knowledge in our field. We share these assets with the people we work. Together with our client-centered approach to business, we deliver the “Service You Deserve & Expect” in your real estate transaction.
We like to ask the question, “What makes a house a home?” The answer is likely to be different for everyone. We help you to explore this subject, as well as the multitude of other considerations we face in real estate sales and service. This is true on both sides of the transaction, weather buying a home or selling a house. It’s important to understand “objections”; we have the ability for one to overcome them by turning them into “opportunities”.
It’s one thing to talk to a knowledgeable sales person about “possibilities” that may exist at a property; it’s quite another experience to discuss practical and achievable solutions, which meet your particular needs, with a qualified and licensed design professional.
A home is more than just a structure, no matter what the style. The essence of architecture is what makes a house so personal. There is a certain feeling that good design embodies – it’s the fundamental ingredient in what makes a house a home – the perceptible difference that you may wish to consider during your next real estate transaction!
I’m not going to get to the heart of this thought in such a brief article, but many people don’t initially grasp the subtle advantages they receive when asking themselves this question. The answer is likely to be different for everyone. Consulting a good design professional can help you to explore this subject, because it’s an important concept on both sides of the transaction. Design consultants have the ability for one to overcome perceived “objections” by turning them into “opportunities”.
In today’s real estate market, even with lower than normal inventory, it is still critically important to have properties which show at their best. There is no question that homes sell faster, for a higher price, when they look their finest. In addition to design professionals, Realtors are able to compile lists of helpful services and associates that can assist in staging a property, consult on finishes, color selections, materials, and correct any areas that are in need of attention.
A home is more than just a structure, no matter what the style. The essence of architecture is what makes a house so personal. There is a certain feeling that good design embodies. It’s the fundamental ingredient in what makes a house a home – the perceptible difference that you may wish to consider during your next real estate transaction!
Ann & John think of Real Estate in three dimensions. Our extensive history in design and Architecture are a bonus service we provide to our buyers and sellers.
Find out why we are especially suited to meet all of your real estate needs!
I recently came across a 2009 online article by Nigel F. Maynard asking, “Why should architects become real estate agents?” Maynard points out the opportunity for architects to gain access to properties they might not hear about otherwise, and furthermore, supposes that this exposure may lead to additional work as an architect. My experience as a licensed architect as well as a licensed Realtor and associate broker says otherwise; at least within the confines of a small scale business model.
I will confirm that being a licensed architect, with experience in construction going back 30 years, has been a material benefit to my real estate clients for the last fifteen years. There is without a doubt real value to the conversations about the opportunities available to buyers and sellers that I bring to the table wearing these two distinct but overlapping hats; especially when there are challenges surrounding a property. But when it comes to being an architect or a Realtor, a choice has to be made regarding the primary focus of the business – at least if you intend to be successful at one or the other.
I can tell you that both jobs are a full time proposition. There is little in-between that will allow you to succeed at performing the duties of each profession successfully, at least as a small business person. The time it takes to get involved in a building project, or to work with buyers and sellers, are both all encompassing. They each demand your complete attention. Perhaps if one has a business which supports a staff, where tasks and responsibilities may be delegated, it might be a more viable option to do both jobs at once. I don’t think it is realistic to do this within the confines of a small or single proprietor business model.
Early in my real estate career – as an independent single contractor, as most Realtors are – before I began to develop a team model, sometimes when my sales business slowed I would attempt to pick up a bit of design work to compensate for the down-time in RE sales. It seemed, just as I got into the depths of that project the phone would start ringing, and my attention needed to be redirected back to real estate. Since, at this stage in my career, real estate was my primary focus, the design work would become a nuisance rather than a benefit. I found it exceedingly difficult to give adequate attention to each discipline in order to satisfy the demands of both practices.
I have now found new ways to incorporate both real estate and architecture into our current business model, but this business is real estate driven. My point is this – in contrast to Maynard’s suggestion that being a licensed Realtor will support and benefit your real estate business, or vice versa, I think that if you plan on being a successful architect, then let that business speak for itself. I did a business plan for both approaches and decided to pursue real estate in lieu of architecture. Yes, my being an architect does support and benefit being a Realtor; however, it is the attention and detail that I put in to being a Realtor that ensures my success in this business.
It will be the same thing if you plan to hang your shingle as a licensed architect. Your eventual success in that field will build on itself – if you pardon the pun. You can then find a Realtor who you can get close to, who wants to support your business, and be the eyes and ears of your real estate pursuits. I do not believe that one should count on building an architectural career by becoming a licensed Realtor.
Passion & Purpose For Marriage
One of our top three suggestions for improving value when it’s time to sell a house.