3 Strategies to Working with a Seller with an Over-improved Home

As agents, we work with all types of people and visit many homes. Sometimes, we know a house will sell quickly and without issue. Other times, the seller’s expectations are not in line with the current market. 

One issue we will all run into at some point in our career is a seller who has put in an incredible amount of time and money into renovating the home. The problem? The house is too high-end for the neighborhood or local market. 

Let’s say your seller has put $500,000 into a house. But when you walk outside, there is nothing but raised ranches selling for $200,000. He has over-built for the neighborhood. The seller may even understand that he will not get all of his money back, but wants a price that just isn’t reasonable compared to what is selling. 

How do you deal with the seller’s expectations for wanting a premium price?

In this situation, there are three things you can do to help the seller. 

Educate 

You are a professional Realtor, with access to the MLS, market statistics, and a wealth of knowledge based on experience. Take the time to educate the seller on inventory levels, comps, and the current market. Discuss these stats in person, show them on your computer, and explain what the numbers mean. 

This may take more than one conversation, and even then, chances are the seller won’t really hear you - because all they can think about is how much money they spent on the property. But you need to provide your seller with the necessary information to make decisions on price point. 

Get your Seller to Think like a Buyer

Chances are, this person is selling one house and buying another. Ask questions so you can understand what their stance as a buyer is: Where are you moving to? What homes are you looking at? What type of offers are you making?

If a seller has put a lot into the property, it can be difficult for them to look at the house objectively. They only see the improvements made; the marble floors, one-of-a-kind island countertop, and inground pool in the backyard. 

Once you have insight as you seller thinks and acts as a BUYER, you can discuss their own property through the lens of potential buyers. 

Make them a Vested Partner in the Deal 

This type of seller will be more emotional about the deal. They put in customized features. They put in time and money to design this home. Emotions will be strong about the house and the listing price. 

To move forward, you must make sure the seller understands that you realize what the property means to them. Communicate that you see the incredible finishes and design of the home, and that you would love to get someone to overpay in terms of what the comps are (going back to the numbers). 

From there, ask the seller to be a partner. Ask for a marketing fee upfront so that you can do everything you need to do in order to get the home in front of the right buyers. Then, explain that when the house does sell, you will refund the marketing fee out of your commission. This protects you, as an agent, because you are not putting up the money to market. It also lets the seller know you are serious about getting the home sold because you are willing to refund that money from the commission. 

Take a look at this video for some more on this topic:

What are your strategies for working with sellers who have over-improved their home? Let me know!