5 client complaints and how to fix them

by REP25 Sep 2014
You’ve heard it all from clients: the market’s too hot, the market’s too cold, agents don’t communicate enough – they won’t shut up! We asked a panel of expert Realtors and got their tips on how to fix the top client complaints.
Tim Bosworth
The Complaint: Multiple offer situations where the vendor is holding back offers. Trying to gauge what price to offer and how much the property will sell for and whether [the clients] feel they’re overpaying for the property.

The Fix: Ultimately you have to look at the comparables and the market value. Your clients have to set a maximum price that they’re willing to pay for the property and not get too involved in the moment - based on market value and what they can afford. I normally say to my clients, this property is listed at $699,000, but you can afford $750,000. Well, how would you feel if it sold for $8,000 more? Would you have paid that price? Then offer that price - as long as it’s a reasonable price for the property. In this day and age, you have to look at staying in the property for at least four to five years, because there are buying costs – land transfer taxes – and selling costs. You need to forecast the future cost of the property. It’s a big investment as well. You need to look at properties where there will be future increases in value.

Geon van der Wyst
The Complaint: Lack of communication throughout the listing process or the purchasing process. That’s the most common [complaint]. I think especially through the listing process, because there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to marketing the property, clients don’t necessarily get to see that and the time involved in making those plans. People see the signs and people going through the property and open houses, but they don’t see the administrative process of a listing. And not all agents provide information or updates on that part of the process and people think listing from that perspective is pretty easy when it’s not.

The Fix: I have a system in place where I document every activity involved in each listing. My clients have access via their own private webpage to see that. So I don’t need to contact them and say I had three showings; they can look at the web page and see what’s being done with their listing.

John Quentin Welsh
The Complaint: The price of the investment. It’s where the prices have gone in the city. Although the buyers are very savvy and are aware, but when it comes down to buying something, especially in multiple offers, it’s hard to understand that you’ll have to pay over asking price, and sometimes substantially over. Some won’t get involved in it. And unfortunately, they end up paying more anyway.

The Fix: You’ve got to educate your buyers and show them the comparables. You can’t rely on last year’s numbers. Things are so dynamic in the city, immigration is fantastic and nothing is static. [The comparables] are moving up all the time. What’s comparable six months ago might not be comparable now. They have to know, this was renovated, etc. They have to be fully aware of what they’re getting into.

Michael C. Doyle
The Complaint: The market itself. Here in Halifax, the market has slowed down, so the average price is starting to dip a bit. The number of sales have been down, about 20 per cent from 2011. And people complain about that. They’ve started to realize that [the market has dipped] and that the buyers more in control.

The Fix: You have to educate the client on exactly what the market’s doing. Show them statistics and the comparables. What happened two or three years ago is not as relevant as what someone actually got in terms of price. You have to educate people for them to be realistic. It does, unfortunately, drive some people out of the market. A lot of people decided to wait [to list their homes], because expired listings were up.

Gail Boudreau
The Complaint: Lack of communication, especially when it comes to sellers. Their agents don’t communicate to them as often as they’d like.

The Fix: I communicate with my clients on a weekly basis, whether there’s anything going on or not. I do both [make phone calls and send emails], it depends on the client. When I first meet with the client, whether buyers or sellers, I ask how they’d like to communicate – some prefer texting, others are fine with an email, others want a phone call. I think people would rather know that there’s nothing going on rather than speculating. At least they know you’re thinking of them. But if you don’t hear from someone for a month, it makes you wonder.

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