In the world of real estate, not every listing leads to a successful sale. Recently, I experienced this firsthand when I lost a listing after dedicating over six months to marketing the property. This was a unique situation, involving both the sale of a condominium and the purchase of a new HDB flat. Losing a client is always a tough pill to swallow, but it's even more disheartening when it's a two-for-one deal.
The client was the mother of a friend, someone I was warned might be a challenging person to work with. Despite this, I was eager to take on the challenge. After all, I was the Rookie of the Year 2022 (a humble brag, I admit).
So, what went wrong? Here are my key takeaways from this experience, and some advice for potential sellers to make the sale process smoother and more efficient for your agent:
Embrace Modern Marketing Techniques: My client was a private person and initially resisted having pictures or videos taken of her property. I understand the need for privacy, especially when it comes to one's home. However, in today's digital age, visual content like photos and videos are essential tools in selling a property. After some discussion, she allowed me to take photos, but videos remained off-limits.
Be Flexible with Viewing Times: The property I was marketing was a large unit, making families our target audience. However, scheduling viewings during the week can be challenging for families with working parents and young children. My client had personal commitments and was against weekend viewings. While I respect her need to "live her life," this did limit our opportunities to showcase the property.
Price Realistically: As a homeowner myself, I understand the desire to maximize profits. However, an unrealistic asking price can severely limit the pool of potential buyers. Most buyers need to take loans and don't have a large amount of cash on hand to pay the cash-over-valuation (COV) component of the purchase price. In this case, the COV was potentially $200k! While there may be buyers out there with an all-cash offer, the chances of finding them are slim.
Know When to Walk Away: Despite the heartbreak of losing a listing, sometimes it's necessary to recognize when a deal isn't progressing. If there's nothing more you can do to assist your client, it may be best for both parties to part ways amicably. There may be another realtor out there who can be a better fit for your client.
In the end, walking away from this situation was the right choice. We can't win them all, but every experience, even the losses, provides valuable lessons for the future. As realtors, we must remember that our role is to facilitate the best possible outcome for our clients, even if that means knowing when to step back. It's a delicate balance between understanding our clients' needs and managing the realities of the market. But it's this balance that makes real estate such a rewarding profession.