How to deal with client remorse
Buyer's remorse comes in many forms, and now where is it more present than in real estate - big purchases mean big lifestyle changes - Knowing how to deal with real estate client remorse is a must for agents.
“Then on the day we would have married, he didn’t show up,” a jilted bride tells Lucy Pavia at MarieClaire.co.uk.
Regret. It happens when one makes a decision, such as taking that walk to the altar, and then decides it wasn’t such a great decision after all.
From ordering in a restaurant to finally choosing which car to buy and, yes, buying a home, buyer’s remorse happens to the best of us.
Oh – and in real estate, it can also happen to sellers.
You may end up working with one of these clients, so read on to find out how to deal with their “cold feet.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has done little to dampen buyer enthusiasm and rising home prices. Those two combined, as you know, can lead to multiple offer situations, which are happening now across the country.
Take Boston, for instance. Sixty-three percent of buyer’s offers there turned into bidding wars (during the week ending May 10). San Francisco was close behind and there are hot and heavy bidding wars in Fort Worth, Texas as well.
It’s easy for buyers to get carried away in a multiple offer situation, which sets them up for regret down the line. Did I pay too much? Am I in over my head?
Sellers, on the other hand, are reading about these hot bidding wars, rubbing their hands together in glee. What happens when they don’t live in Boston or any of the other cities where multiple offers aren’t the norm? Just another case of real estate buyer’s remorse.
“On the simplest level, if our choices are informed by trustworthy data we increase the chances of good outcomes,” according to Harold Sigall Ph.D. at PsychologyToday.com.
Keep an eye on both your sellers and buyers for signs of real estate client remorse and, if you notice them, whip out your CMA or other current market data to ease their minds. Or, offer to run a new CMA to ensure nothing has changed in the market.
If your seller is holding out in the hopes of a bidding war, remind him or her that all real estate is local and multiple offers aren’t common in this market.
I think it’s safe to say that any agent who has been in the business for more than a minute has worked with a seller who had an emotional attachment to the home. Of course, it’s not the only reason a seller may have for believing, all of a sudden, that it’s not the right time to sell, but it’s a common one.
If it occurs after the buyer’s contingencies have been removed, it’s time for a heart-to-heart with either yourself or his or her attorney.
Let your client know that the buyer has some powerful remedies. Chief among these is suing for specific performance, so the seller will have to move anyway.
Thankfully, because it’s a lengthy and expensive court process, most buyers don’t pursue specific performance lawsuits, according to the folks at Zillow.
Suits for damages for breach of contract, however, are quite common. The seller may be on the hook for a whole slew of costs, including the inspection fee, HOA doc fees, survey fees, legal fees, the cost to move into and live in a temporary home and more.
Naturally you can mention this to your client, but unless you are a lawyer as well as an agent, the smart thing to do is advise your client to seek legal counsel.
What you can and should do is suggest that the homeowner remember his or her original reason for putting the home on the market. Run some more comps if fear of losing money is the driving force behind the regret.
Get your client to focus on the future – especially on the new home.
Real estate client remorse can easily derail a real estate deal. So, add “psychologist” to all those other hats you wear in your business so you can walk them through any misgivings that pop up.
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