Setting Expectations With Buyers and Sellers


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It’s critical to set the right expectations with both buyers and sellers.

Today I’m discussing how to set expectations with buyers and sellers both from the start and

throughout the process.

For buyers, despite how fast and crazy the real estate market has been lately, it’s still a good

idea to do a buyer’s consultation. We set up a 30- to 45-minute meeting, the family and I get together,

and we go over these four main things:

1. Ensure they have sound financial guidance. The first thing we do in our consultation is discuss their finances. Have they talked to a large bank, credit union, or broker? Find out what they’ve been told so far and possibly guide them to get another consultation with someone you’ve worked with who you know will be able to do what they need seamlessly. We need to get things done promptly and with a step-by-step process. We don’t want any delays or surprises amid escrow.

2. Set reasonable expectations. Next, you want to nail down what they’re looking for. Make sure what they want to buy fits with their finances and the location they want. Sometimes school district lines change, so if they want to be in a specific district, ensure you’re looking in the right area. Do they want more bedrooms, fewer bedrooms, a home office? You want to know what their home life is like so you’re not sending them homes to look at that aren’t going to fit into what they need.

3. Ask about commuting. Do they need to live close to work, or are they willing to commute? Many properties in eastern California are much less expensive, but they’ll have to commute, which could mean 45 minutes to an hour in the car. Are they willing and able to do that, or would they prefer to buy a smaller home and have more family time?

4. Ensure closing dates align with other housing arrangements. Escrows are commonly 30 days, so you need to make sure the closing matches up with the end of their lease or moving day. Movers may be busy right now, so we need to coordinate the closing date properly. Also, schools are starting at different times, so moving plans also have to match up with when kids need to be there.

"We need to set these expectations for buyers and sellers from the beginning."

Here are three things to do in service to your sellers:

1. Set reasonable sale time expectations. They might have heard from a neighbor that they will sell their house in one day. Yes, you may sell the house in one day, but it could take much longer to sell if it hasn’t been properly cleaned or scheduled correctly for showings. Take an assessment of the home, and check if it needs any upgrades or staging. Use the available data to see how long the home will be on the market.

2. Reasonably price the house. That same neighbor could have told your client that they will sell for $200,000 over asking price. However, you need to price it at value or a bit below it. Overpricing a house in any market is detrimental because you’ll likely have to decrease the price (possibly more than once) and chase the market downward. Buyers that have already seen the house probably aren’t going to come back once the price falls.

3. Don’t rush the closing process. Again, escrow usually takes 30 days, but some real estate agents are pushing that we close in 20 or 21 days. However, we have to ensure everyone is doing their part, there’s enough time for inspections, and everything is signed correctly. We don’t want an escrow to fall through because everyone’s trying to rush it.

We need to set these expectations for buyers and sellers from the beginning to ensure things go

smoothly. If you can, it will save everyone from tons of frustration. If you have further questions

about setting expectations or any other real estate matter, feel free to comment below or reach out

via phone, text, or email. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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