Entry by John March

First Consulting Call - Seller


Friday, I had my first consulting call. Just want to share a bit. I left my laptop in the car and brought with me a pad and my "listing book"--just for reference. (refered to it with regard to pricing and timing) I did use Mollies Seller Needs Analysis.Client is a tech writer who had a car accident which affects her ability to work and her income. I suggested alternatives to her in that area--sometimes, consulting goes beyond the pale of real estate--

This particular situation is a difficult one where the seller has many decisions to make. I just told her all that I was there to do was find out what she wanted and suggest potential solutions. What if I had decided to "sell" her? There are other issues I am not revealing but if I did try to sell her, it would have also come off as pretty insensitive given her totaly situation.

Don't Push Product!

What I did was "dsicover." Sometimes, you'll not come away with a consulting assignment on the first call--it may take more, al like it will, I believe in this case--or maybe I'll come away with no assigment but MUCH MORE (giving first, the getting follows--ALWAYS)

Here's what I said to this prospect in an email after the meeting:

"Just want to recap some of the things we talked about so you can share with James.

Options discussed-Move to another area (Charlotte, Pasadena)
-Rent Home (need rent potential for area)
-Rent/Sell to Home based business owners-check zoning, etc)
-Offer Home for Lease-Purchase
-Stay where you are ( investigate freelance writing opportunities via Internet)
-Sell and move to Home with smaller yard
-Move back to Westbury home in July (drawback is size)
-Subdivide property (1.67 acres; zoning approval required)
-Purchase of adjacent property.

Challenges (in my opinion)-Location of property
-Road not paved
-Competition from newer homes at same price point
-Inventory of homes
-Lack of buyers (availability of financing)
-Finding buyer with imagination who sees potential
-Selling at the price you desire to net what you must
-Finding comparables for pricing study
-There will be a long sales cycle more than 6 months
If home is not priced at market--expect it to sit.
-Layout of home (laundry area off master)


-Nice home with well done interior
-Ample Parking
-The lot is the big selling point--Peaceful, quiet, lots of land for the money
-Key is finding people who can appreciate the same things you did when you bought or pitching property to people with home-based business that could operate within zoning.

Decision-making tools-What's the price you could expect to sell this home for (Comparable)
-Determine whether or not Rent to own is a better scenario (would be able to get more money?)
-Check to see what the rental market is like
-Determine rock-bottom acceptable price
-Determine if is more financially advantageous to stay put then to sell and tough it out. (then, -improve exterior,make modifications on interior (wall, kitchen)

"Thinking out loud"
Rent:--If rental market is good--this would be fastest and next best option--but the question remains could you get $2000 per month? Then, move to Westbury or relocate.
Lease Option--expect folks with less-than-perfect credit to apply--But you can put in place requirements that will offer you some protection: (W2 folks only, option money up front) The truth may be that now is just not the right time to sell. I will do a quick check.

New Business model for Technical Writing...the Internet opens up a global market--which means with computer and modem you can do business anywhere. Think also in terms of applying what you do to other technical writing markets other than IT systems, also you could work for a firm that provides technical writing. Here's one example.

I suggested you take a look at www.Bly.com He has a lot of resources that you'll find useful.

I'll be happy to meet with you have your husband. I've subscribed you to market snapshot--which will give a quick view of market conditions, to my newsletter, and to My Home Management Club.

Next Steps

As I mentioned to you I'll be happy to work with you on a consulting basis and you can select only the services you require.

I think you just have to walk through the various options, gather as much information as you can about each and write down the pluses and minuses of each and come to the best conclusion you can.

Below are links to some of the marketing I do for homes which also includes staging. An important aspect of promotion of property is Internet and maltreating. When you decide on direction we can discuss your needs more fully. I hope this has all been helpful to you.

Property WebSites

Virtual Tours
Community Tours

Internet Flyers

I'd be interested in your comments. My second consult presentation is tonite--this is the FSBO that I mentioned last week--He did call.

I can tell you, I could have done a much better job and was really sloppy in some cases (talking too much. and I though I blew it.)

Here is the response from my client:
Hi John,

I just got your email tonight. It had gone to my junk mail folder. Thanks for your thoroughness. I also appreciate the web site links. I will share this with Jim, see what tomorrow brings with the job interview, and mull over all the options this coming week.

Thanks again,

Michelle Smith
Business Writing and Research

P.S.--If you're plaqued with perfectionism, the other bit of advice is don't pay attention to what your perfectionist heart tells you--it's usually WRONG! PPS to show you I am almost CURED, there are typos in this post--so be it.


John, the best learning you can have is the self-discovery process. In other words, learning by doing. You will find that you learn best by what you personally experience. The second best is learning through others' experiences (which is why we keep harping on everyone to share on the Exchange...Givers GET!!!)

Because practice does make for better (not perfect), I strongly encourage everyone to use a consulting approach on ALL appointments, meaning employ the buyer or seller needs analysis (or the equivalent if you use another method) no matter how you perceive they want to pay for your services. Consulting is not about how they pay you - it's the mindset of discovering how to best help the client.

BTW John and everyone: please be patient when posting and only hit submit once! Otherwise you get a double post.



Outstanding! And thank you for sharing all of that. It is so obvious that you "get it" (well, 99.9% anyway...and I'll show you what I mean in a second). What you provided Michelle with is what I think consumers are hungering for (even if they don't articulate it). What your dialog shows in a very concrete way is that this is not just a real estate transaction. The decisions buyers and sellers have to make are usually fraught with "variables". They may come to us and say "I want to buy a house" or "I want to sell my house"...but there are reasons for those statements, often things they are reluctant to tell us. Being able to ferret out their motivations, apprehensions, expectations, denials, etc. is a huge part of what we should be doing...and what you OBVIOUSLY did here. Great Job!!!

Now...to that .1% that I'd like to mention. You noted As I mentioned to you I'll be happy to work with you on a consulting basis and you can select only the services you require.. The fact is, John, YOU ALREADY ARE working on a Consulting basis. Whether you and Michelle decide to work together via a "traditional" commission after close arrangement, or whether it's by utilizing a pay up front or pay as you go approach, is totally irrelevant! Real Estate consulting is a mindset...not a fee structure.

This is all about providing options to people...transparency so they understand what it is they're paying for (as well as what they are not!)...and the insights, perspective, judgment, alternatives, etc., that you so eloquently expressed.

Great going...and can't wait to hear how tonight's appointment goes!


Judi and Mollie thanks for the input--very helpful...

"traditional" commission after close arrangement, or whether it's by utilizing a pay up front or pay as you go approach, is totally irrelevant! Real Estate consulting is a mindset...not a fee structure. (Got it.)

This page contains a single entry by John March published on February 11, 2008 10:56 AM.

FREE MARKET ANALYSIS, I THINK NOT was the previous entry in this blog.

Second Consult - Seller is the next entry in this blog.

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