selling a home can be as strategic as a game of chess

The DC housing market has been a seller’s market for quite some time outside of a few select neighborhoods. But even with high demand and limited inventory throughout the city, getting someone to actually part with their property can be challenging.

Many realtors can think of a handful of properties off the top of their head that they wish the owner would put on the market right now because it would be a perfect time. Unfortunately, telling a homeowner they can make a lot of money or helping them prepare their home for sale won’t convince them that now is the time to enter the housing market. It takes more than a list of painters and some information on pre-qualifying for a new mortgage to motivate a potential seller.

So how can you convince homeowners to list their homes, increasing options for buyers and bringing in more listings for you?

Calm Their Fears

According to Licensed REALTOR® Christine Fischer of McEnearney Associates, people stay in their homes because they’re worried they won’t be able to buy another home in the current market. “They are happy to sell and make lots of money but then they’ll be homeless,” she says.

Fears like this are real, and in order to calm them you have to be willing to ask questions and understand what is motivating (or discouraging) homeowners. Are they afraid of the work they’ll need to do to prepare for listing? Do they want to upgrade but are worried they won’t be able to afford a bigger home in this market? Or is something else keeping them from selling?

Once you know what is holding them back, you can share stories of how you’ve helped other homeowners in their situation prepare and sell their current home for the most profit and then find, purchase and move into a new, suitable home. Showing nervous homeowners that it’s been done before makes it easier to consider selling and visualize themselves somewhere else.

Share Useful Information

Many homeowners are confused by the housing market and the processes of buying and selling a home. This makes them hesitant to start looking for a new home or to even think about putting their current home on the market.

When working with homeowners, Fischer recommends sharing statistics about the current market, from both the seller’s and buyer’s perspectives. This information could include numbers like the amount of available inventory and the amount of bidding above list price that occurs in each market.

Once the homeowner has a better understanding of the housing market they’re about to enter, she teaches them ways they can work together to get their offer accepted on a new home.

The best way to convince someone to sell is to explain the process of buying, how to balance the purchase and the sale process and how to ensure that your offer is accepted in this market,” she says. “Education, experience and teamwork will help convince a property owner to sell their property.”

Provide a Plan

Let’s be honest here. You can’t make someone sell their home if they don’t want to. If they’re at least considering it, though, giving them a plan can help them make the leap.

“The only way to get a homeowner to sell,” says Ms. Fischer, “is to provide them with a plan that seems manageable for getting to the next step.” Make the whole thing a little less overwhelming by walking the homeowner through the process from beginning to end. Once they’re thinking about entering the market, give them some concrete and actionable steps to take. Create a plan that works for their situation and help them see the possible outcomes.

Ultimately, Fischer says, “the point we want to get across is this: While it’s a tough market we’ve worked with lots of successful buyers. And you’ll be next.”