Rules of Thumb for Showing Houses

Nov 22, 2016

A Floyd Wickman blog by Mike Pallin Let’s pretend that you are brand new to real estate. Just licensed, still wet behind the ears, and new to commission sales. You do know how to find the office, program a GPS app on your smartphone, open up a tablet and show people how to sign a purchase agreement, and that’s about it.

You stop in the office Saturday morning to get your new name badge (because your manager told you to wear it everywhere from now on) and by accident a young couple walks in, sees your name badge, and asks if you would show them some houses in the Happy Hollow area.

Sure, you say, just give me a minute and I’ll line up everything we have in that area.

You rush into the manager’s office and ask her if we have any houses for sale in the Happy Hollow area. She says, Yes, we have three and they are very different from each other, but roughly the same price range. You say, Great, what are the addresses?  

You have no fact sheets. You have no neighborhood information. You have no information about the buyers, but fortunately for you, they show you a Pre-Approval letter from a reputable lender.

You program the GPS, pick up your tablet and stylus and say, OK, folks, let’s go.

As you approach the first house, you remember the words of wisdom your Wickmanized manager gave you when you asked, What do I do now? – She said, Don’t worry about showing the houseRULE OF THUMB: Let them discover the house, and ask them to buy each one you show them. It’s the least you can do.

You do your best to stay out of the way, and let them discover the first house. In the family room, she says, This room’s too small.

You think to yourself, Well, nothing I say is going to make it bigger, so I’ll just wait and see if it even comes up again.

It doesn’t.

He says, What’s behind this door?

You say, Let’s go in and see. It’s a rec room with a pool table.

He says, Ooooh, is the pool table included?

You say, I don’t know, but let me make a note of it and we can find out when we go back to the office.

The first two houses are missing one or more requirements they need for their family, but you ask anyway, Would you buy this one at any price? They say no. That’s okay. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But the third house is a different story from the moment they walk in. This one is talking to them. They’re not exactly jumping up and down, yelling Ooh, Ooh, Write it up. In fact, they’ve gotten kind of quiet.

You’re getting the hang of staying out of the way, but you haven’t asked them to buy yet, so you summon up all the courage you can (for a few seconds) and ask, Well, folks, you kinda like this one, don’t you?  

They look at each other and say, Uh huh. 

You take a deep breath and say, Would you like to make an offer?

After a long hesitation, (again, it’s only a few seconds, but it seems like an eternity to you) he says to her, I don’t know, what do you think, Honey?

At that moment, the words of your Wickmanized manager pop up in your mind like a thought bubble, RULE OF THUMB: When one of them turns to the other and says, What do you think, Honey . . . Don’t Talk! . . . because one of them is sold.

Yes, we would, they say. Followed by a whole bunch of questions that didn’t come up in the first two houses.

Another thought bubble from your manager pops up. RULE OF THUMB: Once they find the one they want, they will have a whole new set of questions. Get them back into the office.

Well, folks, you say, let’s at least get all your questions answered. How about we go back to the office and have a cup of coffee, fair enough?

And that’s how you ended up making your very first sale. The one you made because you didn’t know anything.


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