Most products have business cycles. The product of real estate is no different. It goes up and down in price-it's healthy!

Many good years, however, lead many optimistic sellers, but if a house isn't selling, you may need to polish up the scripts you use to ask for a price reduction. Sounding like a broken record may irritate already frustrated sellers so you may want to try different approaches to convince them to lower their price. Remember, the only reason a property doesn't sell is price and asking for a price reduction is the job of a caring salesperson.

Here are some lead-ins to use when approaching sellers for an adjustment to market value:
  • There's been a new sale in the neighborhood that affects your value!
  • Here are some responses we've received from other salespeople who've shown your property.
  • Here are the responses I received from buyers to whom I've shown your house.
  • Here are the responses I've heard from buyers who have been shown your house by other salespeople.
  • Here are the responses from salespeople in my office.
  • Here are the attitudes of the salespeople who attended the broker open house.
  • Here are the attitudes of the buyers who walked through your home during the open house.
  • Here are the responses we've received from the ad we placed in (name of publication).
You can also frame a discussion about adjusting market price in terms of recharging your sales strategy.
  • I would like to do some things that I've never done to market a home, such as advertising it in the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Spending money on an ad that would reach outside our geographical area is risky, but I would be willing to go ahead and give it a try if we had a more marketable price.
  • We have an open house (or new ad or new Internet blast) coming up, and I'd certainly love to market this home at a new price.
  • I'm going to be taking the property out of the MLS and resubmitting it as a new listing. This will give it a new look and create new enthusiasm among the cooperating real estate salespeople in town. I'd like to do that at a lower price.
  • I know this offer was low and the buyers didn't accept our counteroffer; however, to attract more interested buyers, may I lower the price to the amount we mentioned in the counteroffer?
You can also address this issue in terms of the additional benefits a lower price could bring.
  • I was looking at your holding costs and find that if we drop your price and obtain a sale. We may eliminate many months of payments, taxes, insurance and upkeep which I believe would compensate you for this price reduction. Let's discuss how this might work.
  • If it were my home, there are a few things I'd do to make it more appealing to buyers, but instead of making these improvements, why don't we drop the price to compensate for improvements the buyers may want to make?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, sellers will simply refuse to lower their asking price. In this case, honesty is the best policy.
  • In all the years I've done business, one of the hardest things I've had to do is disappoint a client. The market dictates this price as too high, and the continued marketing of this property at the current price will only disappoint you. Therefore, I'd like to ask the following favor: Would you please consider a price reduction? If that is impossible, would you allow me to discontinue my marketing efforts? It's very difficult for me to express this to a seller who's been fair with me and who has a home I'd like nothing more than to market and sell. However, I truly believe unless we drop this price, the property will go unsold. I'm willing to give up my representation and my listing to show you how clear I am that we need to adjust our price today.
If you're sending a letter, you might try this wording:
    Dear ____________: Please sign the price reduction and listing extension form or please sign cancellation form. Please return one signed form in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope.
If you can't convince the seller to lower the sales price, here are some alternatives to helping sell the home:
  • Why don't we increase the selling office commission? If I sell it, I'll stick to the original terms of the listing agreement without the increase.
  • May we add a selling office bonus?
  • May we add points so that financing becomes easier for a buyer?
  • May we ask for some concessions on the home you're buying and then apply the value of those concessions to this home?
  • May we offer preferential owner financing and make the property more affordable to potential buyers?
  • Is there anything we could throw in that would sweeten the pot like appliances, vehicles, or maybe even a free vacation at a time-share?
Scripts can also come in handy when you want to propose a change in your selling tactics.
  • Emotions play a big role in the sale of a home. Therefore, may we make your home more desirable by having it professionally staged and decorated by a local design group?
  • Real estate salespeople have many properties to show and sometimes the dominant reason for showing is ease of access. Let's make some changes to improve the showing procedure that will make the house easily accessible to salespeople at any time and at a moment's notice.
  • Cooperation among real estate salespeople is paramount to getting the property sold. Yes, I am the one salesperson heading up the marketing, but I'm marketing to more than 3,000 real estate salespeople who handle a large percentage of buyers. My job is to market to them so they will express their excitement about your home to their buyers. Let's discuss what we can do to make this home more exciting to the real estate salespeople here in town.
There are many more scripts you can use to convince the seller to lower the price. To keep these ideas on the tip of your tongue when you're on the phone with a client, I suggest that you rip this page out or copy it. Use this page as a memory-jogger when you're dealing with an overly optimistic seller or a market that's working against you. Keep this list of scripts near the phone, so when you need to call clients to convince them to lower their price, or change their selling tactic, you will know exactly what to say.

Good luck in making your listings reflect new market realities -- the true mark of a pro!

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