At the beginning of my career, I worked with a lot of first-time homebuyers. One particular experience stands out to me. It taught me the power of positivity when overcoming objections in real estate.
I was showing a house to a young couple who were over the moon with excitement because they were looking for their very first home. We walked into the showing, and the home was a mess. An absolute disaster. It looked like I had built the house, without any knowledge or skill. I am pretty sure the floor wasn’t even level. This was back before staging was invented, so also imagine six months’ worth of dirty laundry thrown into the middle of every room.
“Isn’t this a nice chair rail?” is all I could bring myself to say. When we left the house, the couple looked at me with shock and said, “You’re amazing, that was literally the only positive point to that house, and we don’t even know what chair rail is!” — and we laughed.
They didn’t buy that home of course, but that experience led me to realize something: You can always find one positive thing in every house. It also made me realize that there are two types of objections to look for in real estate: objections that can be overcome, and those that can’t.
When I am with my buyers, I always suggest they talk to me about objections that can be overcome so that I can help them problem-solve. For instance, do you love everything about a certain home and neighborhood, but want more bathrooms? Let’s look and see if there’s room to add on a half-bath. Then I make sure my buyers consider objections that can’t be overcome; I like to call them “the things you cannot change”.
Here’s a quick guide to positively navigating some common objections, and keys to making them less evident so that buyers don’t miss out on an otherwise great opportunity — and sellers are prepared to minimize the chances of missing out on an efficient home sale.
- Steep Driveways: In the Piedmont region of North Carolina, we are blessed and cursed with a lot of beautiful rolling hills, so I’ve learned how to work with steep driveways. Let your clients know to park in the driveway upon arrival at the property. This prevents them from hiking up the hill and being out of breath when they start to view the house. You want their minds to be open and able to focus on things other than the driveway.
- Location: Many locational objections are not easy to overcome. With busy streets, for example, it is essential to keep the time of year in mind as far as how certain homes may sell. If you are listing a home that backs up to a busy road, it may sell better in the summer because foliage and greenery obscure the road view and the noise. Another example is a school district that is not a client’s first choice. It’s important to remember that school systems are ever-changing and to make sure potential buyers know all of the school options nearby, not just the current district.
- Noise: Whether facing a busy road, backing up to a highway, or positioned near train tracks, properties that have a lot of environmental noise around can be a significant sticking point — but sellers have ways to combat this challenge. Adding a fountain or other water feature is a great way to distract from road noise while beautifying an outdoor space. (And remember, you can even add speakers.) When showing a house on a busy road, always have the house open and unlocked before the client arrives; this way they don’t have to stand outside and wait while listening to the noise of passing cars. Open houses can be an excellent tool for selling homes in noisier areas as well; it is always easier to sell a house if people fall in love with it without their agents’ preconceived notions about noise or location.
Houses tend to sell themselves, so when you find an objection start by reflecting on how you can market it as a potential positive — especially if you know that the home checks a lot of other important boxes for you, as a buyer, or for your client. Keep an open and positive mind and ask yourself what would make the objection less evident. Some objections can’t be overcome, but many can. If there is a chance to look at something positively versus negatively, why choose the negative?