Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a property for sale that seems great through its online description. But then you show up to look for it and, well, it is quite different in person or the description left out the nuclear power plant across the street. I, last week, looked at an apartment for sale in Dubai and wish the agent had prepared me. What seemed like a great deal “one bedroom apartment in for sale in Dubai JLT, with gym, pool, access to the metro and ‘great price’ won’t last,” was a filthy apartment in a run-down building. The apartment lacked a stove (had one hotplate instead), the refrigerator was placed in the middle of the ‘living room’ and the entire place was in need of a scrubbing (and fresh coat of paint). I felt tricked by the agent who then proceeded to try to sell me on the possibilities. At the end of day, I was irritated as she had wasted my time buy not being upfront about the condition of the apartment. And you know what? I am moving on to a new realtor. I’m not upset that the apartment was incredibly depressing – I was upset that my expectations were not managed.
So let’s review how agents can deal with the following scenarios.
The property is not what is expected.
They buyer finds an apartment for sale in Zamalek, “Old style Charm and Great Nile Views.” Upon walking in, the buyer learns the apartment was last renovated in 1972 (not really old style charm) and the Nile Views are available only by craning your neck over the balcony.” So what to do? Prepare the client. Get a list of deal breakers before showing properties. If the client does not want a fixer upper, tricking them into looking at one will not work. You will lose the client altogether. Perhaps the client is willing to view properties that need some work, but explain the situation first. “This is an apartment with great potential and its price reflects that it needs to be updated. Would you like to take a look at a property within walking distance to the Nile and keep an open mind about updates? The apartment has great potential but was last remodeled in 1972?”
They’ve heard rumors
Buying property is a huge investment and people will find out about the neighborhood they are looking in. If construction, re-zoning, etc. is scheduled to take place, tell them upfront and don’t forget to tell them of the future benefits. “Now there is construction slated for next year across the street. However, once complete, you will have a metro stop, small grocery store and a few cafes across the street. This will increase your property value but there will be construction going on for some time.” Let them decide if they want to deal with the disruptions. If you don’t tell them and they find out (and they will), you could potentially lose the client.
Bad neighbors are a challenge and there is nothing you can do about this. But again, honesty is the best solution. Selling a property across the street from a dog breeder? You need to tell potential clients. Is the house across the street in really bad shape? Tell a customer ahead of time. If the price is right, some clients will be okay with this. Others will never be and please don’t waste their time trying to convince them it won’t be so bad.
My Furniture Won’t Fit
Buyers will turn down a property if their furniture does not fit -both in size or style. If a client likes a property but her grandmother’s armoire will not fit in the bedroom, suggest alternative spots such as the living area as a showpiece and storage. You might need to bring them back to reality and ask if a piece of furniture is worth turning down an otherwise great house.
Remember, you can’t trick a client into buying a property so be honest and upfront from the beginning.