“My approach is generally to be very open, a step-by-step approach, so I allow the market to respond, to improve [clients’] expectations as the market responds,” says Nick Brewerton, an agent with Real Estate Homeward. “Allow them to come toward the market.”
Indeed, market reactions are a great tool with which to educate clients; a house that sits on the market for months without a single offer is a great indication of overpricing. But agents should also be prepared for situations in which a client insists on pricing high.
“Usually you’ve got a range that tells you what the market value is, but you do get sellers who think it’s worth more,” says Elizabeth Johnson, a Re/Max agent in Toronto. “As long as you’ve told them truthfully what the value is, if they want to try [to list the property at a higher price], they can. I would have something in place that if it doesn’t sell in X time, we re-evaluate it. The market will tell you quite soon if it’s priced well enough.”
While the market can quickly correct a seller, it’s still important to educate clients before they list their home. Prepare yourself with comparable market data at the listing presentation and aim to set expectations early.
Still, every seller will need to learn their home’s true value however they can.
“Every buyer and every seller is unique,” Brewerton says. “And my approach is very catered to the individual person and situation. It’s always different, always a new deal.”
Clients – especially inexperienced ones – often have unrealistic expectations and it’s your job to set them straight, but some agents say it’s best to let the market do the talking.