As far as I can tell, Sarah submitted the information about the property into our website unbeknownst to Steve. In talking with Sarah, it came about that both names were still on the deed. When I informed her that because of this I would need both her and her ex-husband’s signature, she seemed less than pleased.
Which brings me to my first point: never underestimate what your sellers don’t know. You are the professional. Take them through the process as if they’ve never been through the process before, and know nothing about selling a house. Thinking this way will force you to get everything out in the open, and save a lot of headaches further down the line.
Once I informed Sarah that Steve needed to be involved, she gave me a contact number to reach him. Since that point, it’s been a lot of back and forth “negotiating” with me being the intermediary between the two of them. Said “negotiating” involved a lot of “he said, she said”. I had to lend an ear to each party and listen to “he doesn’t deserve that”, “she doesn’t deserve this”, “he’s being childish”, “she’s being childish”, etc., etc.
Which brings me to my second point: ONLY be nice to a point.
It’s also part of building rapport, and just generally being a nice person. However, don’t forget why you’re there. You’re a professional home-buyer, and the only problem you can solve is buying their home. Keep that in mind throughout your dialogue, and always work on politely and empathetically steering the conversation back toward what you can do for them.
After two days’ worth of “coaching” Steve and Sarah, I think we’re on the verge of a sweet deal here. I was able to talk them both down to accept $40,000 total for the property, with each person taking half, and Sarah is going to pay the taxes out of her half because she lives there.
Originally, they wanted $50,000 so while it’s not my BEST work, it was some pretty effective negotiating if I do say so myself ?! I mean, this property would probably retail for $70-$80k and I could probably flip it to a cash buyer for $60-$65k. I don’t have an agreement inked yet, but I’m optimistic I can get one done within the next day or so.
So lend an ear, be a shoulder to cry on, or be an amateur mediator for a splitting couple. I know that time is money, and that spending more than 20-30 minutes on the phone with a seller is generally frowned upon, but wearing these myriad hats on the phone with your sellers gives you a great opportunity to build rapport with your sellers.
Also, breaking down the walls of professionalism this way (for both you and your seller), and positioning yourself as more than just a telephone salesperson, gives you great insight into your seller’s TRUE pain buttons. However, as I said: stay the course, don’t get wrapped up in the drama, and still be a decent human being by using this information responsibly.
That’s it for me, folks! In the words of a great TV theme song: Thank you for being a friend.