Setting the Tone for Success — How to Set Reasonable Expectations with Buyers and Sellers

REALTORS® wear a lot of hats. As full-time marketers, advocates, consultants, and business owners, every day real estate agents are doing the job of multiple professionals. With demanding schedules, ongoing deadlines, and often late nights, and weekend work — there is a lot to juggle.

Those who do it well have learned that one of the keys to staying organized, keeping clients happy, and managing time for a personal life, is setting reasonable expectations with clients. By clearly laying out what your buyers, sellers and investors should expect from you as their trusted real estate representative, you’ll set a tone for success from the start of your partnership.

Here are smart tips from top-producing REALTORS® for setting reasonable expectations with your buyers and sellers.

Provide a Timeline — By letting your sellers know each week what marketing efforts you’ll be initiating, they will feel confident in your organization, and won’t be as likely to feel the need to contact you if they don’t hear from you for a few days. Likewise, when working with buyers, it’s equally important to provide a timeline of how the buying process will unfold. Providing buyers with deadlines, and expectations for how long each stage of the process will take, effectively empowers them through education, boosting their satisfaction with your overall service.

Share Your Schedule — Real estate can be a 24/7 profession, but it’s still smart to let your clients know your preferred schedule. If you take calls late into the night, let them know. If, however, you return calls and texts received after 8pm the following morning, be sure to let them know that as well. If you try to take certain days off each week, or have weekly evening engagements, make sure your clients are aware that you’ll be unavailable during those hours.

Refuse to Overpromise — It’s unwise to tell a buyer that you can get the seller to pay for repairs or to promise to sell a client’s home within a set period of time. Even if you’re fairly confident that you can accomplish either of these, it’s best not to make any guarantees. It’s much better to have clients who are elated by a pleasant surprise, than it is to console a disappointed client.

Provide Worst Case Scenarios — Strange as it sounds, by informing clients of the worst that can happen from the start, you’re safeguarding the relationship by avoiding a bombshell later on down the road. If your seller is insisting on pricing their home at a level that the market won’t support, explain the dangers in doing so. Or when working with buyers, prepare them for the possibility of a home inspection coming back with significant issues, particularly if they are interested in an older home.

Establish Clear Communication Methods — It sounds simple, but determining which method of contact your clients prefer for communication is often overlooked. From the start, be sure to inquire whether they want to be reached via text, email, or phone calls and how often they would like to be updated. Knowing how your buyers or sellers will respond best to you, and you to them, will go a long way in ensuring that an open dialogue is maintained, and that no items go unaddressed.

Introduce Them to Everyone Involved — If you will be having an assistant, a showing agent, or anyone else contact clients on your behalf, be sure to let them know who each person is and the role they will play. This will prevent your clients from feeling like they are being shuffled around, or confused about why they are receiving calls or emails from your colleagues or team members.

Provide a Clear Picture of the Market from the Start — When it comes to setting reasonable expectations with your buyers or sellers, sugarcoating the market will not do you any favors. It’s important that sellers are informed about comps, and are made aware of trends, or shifts in the market immediately. Likewise, buyers should be educated on precisely what their budget will allow for, using statistics, analysis and data.

Setting reasonable expectations with buyers and sellers is a best practice for keeping your clients informed, aware, and happy with your service from start to finish. As a bonus, you’ll likely find that this process is a win-win for both of you, as you’ll be more likely to stay on target with your own personal and professional obligations and responsibilities.