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Houses are just buildings, but homes are personal.
Because of this, our work of buying and selling homes puts us directly in the middle of some of life’s most challenging situations.
Moving is a time of transition, and these transitions can bring promises of joy and hope as people carve out new paths for themselves and their families. If the investor is eager to buy and the homeowner is eager to sell, purchasing an investment property is cause for celebration on both sides!
But what if the investor is eager to buy and the homeowner is not eager to sell, as is often the case with cash purchases? What if this particular time of transition is marked by tragedy or grief? As investors, we still have a beneficial service to offer these sellers, but how do we respect our clients’ sensitive needs during hard times?
3 Ways to Respect Home Sellers While Negotiating Deals
As an investor, you may be used to taking the lead in the conversation, guiding the client to see things from your perspective. However, in times of tragedy and loss, people often need an outlet or someone to listen to their thoughts and struggles.
When meeting with such clients, let them walk you through the property. Stop and listen to them as they tell you the story of how their late father planted those trees or the time their parents finally broke down and installed that dishwasher in the kitchen.
Related: 10 Seller Documents You May Need to Review When Buying a Rental
Give them a space to grieve not only the loss of a loved one, but the loss of the home that houses their memories.
2. Speak gently.
Respond to your clients in a way that helps them feel safe and appreciated. Point out how you understand why their loved one was so proud of the home and that you can understand why such a property would be difficult to let go of. Do this in a way that is authentic and real, not pushy or slick.
Sometimes you will only meet sellers as the result of their loss or unexpected circumstance. Don’t take advantage of such circumstances, but aim to be truly helpful and insightful and potentially provide needed financial relief. You’ll be more successful in business and as a person if you work for others’ benefit, not just yours.
3. Wait for space.
In times of tragedy or loss, people may overshare. A lot. And yet, this is appropriate and expected.
We all want our stories to be heard. When someone is no longer around to share their story, we want to share it for them.
If someone feels they have been wronged, they want others to agree and commiserate in their circumstance. Let them share. Let them vent. Let them process. Let them grieve. Listen long enough, and you will find, in time, they will be ready to listen to you.
Related: 6 Tips for Negotiating Your Maximum Allowable Offer With Sellers
Trying to avoid sensitive topics and get straight to business won’t help them or you. Your reputation for being insensitive will eventually dry up your reference pool—and your karma.
No one is asking you not to do business, just to be more human in the process. You would be surprised the difference it can make!
Approaching clients with the humanity and the respect they deserve will grow not only your business, but also your reputation. When sellers remember you as respectful and kind, others will seek you out in their time of need.
Cole Realty Resource has a 70-year history of providing contact information (including cell phones and emails) for a specific property or entire neighborhood, which means more meaningful conversations about buying and selling real estate. Because of your relationship with BiggerPockets, you can now get access to unlimited home phones, cell phones and emails—all tied to a specific address and all at a discounted rate. To start getting contact info within minutes, click here.
Investors: Any tips you’d add to this list? Have you been able to help a seller out of a hard situation?