As any experienced agent will tell you, the hardest real estate objections to overcome happen when your seller is the most emotional. And money, more than any other issue, often triggers these emotional objections.

In this article, I’ll share some of my best strategies for handling objections in real estate. I’ll discuss how to ask probing questions to anticipate the most common emotional seller objections before they arise. You’ll also learn to tackle them early so you and your seller can have a stress-free real estate transaction.

Anticipate, Prepare for & Address Your Seller’s Emotional Objections

An inexperienced real estate agent might believe that simply answering a seller’s objection will solve the problem. The truth is, if you don’t fully understand the underlying issue, you’re like a doctor prescribing medication without a diagnosis. Understanding the why behind the objections is vital before attempting to address them. 

Anticipate: Learn the 3 Most Common Seller Objections

The biggest emotional triggers by far in any deal will be around money. Generally, the three most common objections involve commission, listing price, and price reduction. Let’s take a deeper look at each one.

Commission Objections

Sellers won’t always openly say, “I object to your commission rate!” They may say things like, “Is there any negotiating your commission?” or even “Another agent said they would do it for less.”

In reality, a seller’s objection to your commission is just the surface of the conversation. Have you ever heard the saying, People do not respond to your reality—they respond to their own”? To create an outstanding real estate experience, we must pull back the curtain and discover what is causing them to react emotionally.

The chart below shows common seller objections around your commission, the corresponding emotion, and the real circumstance likely triggering the feeling.

The Seller Emotions Behind Commission Objections

“I expected to get more money.”Disappointment around their expectationsSeller needs enough money to achieve their next purchase.
“I need to get …”The worry that they may not be able to sellSeller has limited resources and needs money to survive.
“Is this the best you can do?”The fear of leaving money behindSeller doesn’t want to pay more than what they believe is fair.
“The other agent said they could do it for less!”The fear that they are not being treated fairlySeller doesn’t see the difference in your value over the competitor.
“Will you do it for less?”The fear of being taken advantage ofSeller believes it is customary to negotiate commissions.

As you can see, fear is most commonly driving the objection, but the underlying circumstances cause the emotion behind it. When it comes to real estate objection handling, if you are only dealing with what they say on the surface, you may not be resolving the underlying cause, which means you won’t effectively handle the objection.

Pricing Objections

Determining the asking price is another sensitive seller conversation. It is so delicate that many agents simply avoid the conversation and allow the seller to decide the property’s price despite their data and hard-won experience suggesting otherwise.

Of course, this huge mistake can mean the difference between a possible expired listing and winning a lifelong client. Sellers are almost always disappointed when they realize not taking their agent’s pricing advice prevented them from achieving their goal.

When determining the property’s price, a seller’s emotions may cause them to throw logic out the window. They dismiss the comparable properties as inadequate to their own and overrate the features of their property. In behavioral economics, this irrational logic is called the endowment effect.

If you take the time to anticipate and look beyond the seller’s emotions, you can prepare your real estate objection handling before the circumstance arises to trigger an irrational response. Here are the most common pricing objections and the emotions and circumstances driving them:

Emotional Seller Pricing Objections

“I expected to get more money.”The anticipation of more moneySeller needs enough money to finance their next purchase.
“I owe X; therefore, I need to get Y.”Embarrassment from being overleveragedSeller may be hiding something or embarrassed about their situation.
“My home is worth more than that.”The fear of leaving money behindSeller believes your data does not reflect the market.
“The house down the street sold for X, so mine is worth Y.”The fear that they aren't getting a fair priceSeller believes their home is nicer than the comparable homes.
“I did upgrades.” Or, “I paid more for my home.”Disappointment that they spent money that they may not get backSeller believes they have invested more into their home than the comparable homes.
“I want to test the market.”Fear of making a commitmentSeller may not be motivated to sell.

Price Reduction Objections

When pushing back on a price reduction, many listing agents believe that the fear of leaving money on the table is the main driving force for sellers’ real estate objections—but that’s not always the case. Although the occasional need to net a minimum amount could still be at play, another hidden emotion often drives the seller’s objection: fear of not selling.

A seller’s fear of being unable to sell their home can cause an ugly shift in an otherwise pleasant relationship that can catch the unprepared agent off guard. Fear presents itself as a shift of blame from the property’s price being the reason the home didn’t sell to you and your marketing plan being the culprit.

“You haven’t done enough.”Fear of being taken advantage of by youSeller doesn’t understand the market, your pricing strategy, or your marketing plan.
“The reason it’s not selling isn't the price.”Anticipation of more moneySeller doesn’t understand your marketing plan.
“I don’t want to lower the price.”Disappointment that they may not get the money they hoped forSeller doesn’t understand your pricing strategy.
“Then, I just won’t sell!”Anger that they are not in controlSeller feels that you are forcing them into a corner.

Prepare: Ask Probing Questions 

Now that we have identified sellers’ most common emotional real estate objections in a transaction, we can begin to prepare some real estate objection handlers. There are two ways to address seller objections before the triggering situations arise: prompt them with your listing presentation or ask the seller probing questions.

Like a doctor looking for early signs of illness, you are analyzing with your probing questions, looking for specific circumstances that, if not dealt with early, will rise later as emotional seller frustration. 

Use the examples below to create a list of probing questions to uncover the seller’s circumstances.

Probing Questions to Ask Your Seller to Uncover Potential Emotional Objections

CircumstanceProbing Questions
Seller needs enough money to finance their next purchase“How much money do you need to purchase your next home?”
Seller has limited resources and needs money to survive“When you sell, what will you be using the proceeds for? Why is this important to you?”
Seller is interviewing other agents who may be charging less“Other than the commission, what is most important about the agent you hire?”
Seller worries they will pay more than what they believe is fair“Have you sold a home before?”
Seller doesn’t see your value over the competitor“Have you interviewed other agents? What did you like about them? What did you dislike?

Address: Handle Each Objection in Your Listing Presentation

Now that you’ve asked the questions that give you a better understanding of what’s happening with your sellers, you can prepare to overcome their emotional objections. Doing this at the beginning of your working relationship, long before they are emotionally distressed, is essential.

A well-thought-out listing presentation should address common real estate objections or set up the conversation so you can deal with them before they become a problem down the road or even sink your deal.

Proactively Handle Objections in Your Listing Presentation

Add pre-objection handlers to your listing presentation to head off seller objections before you receive them. Start with the circumstances and the corresponding emotions sellers may feel. Next, add a section to your listing presentation covering each known seller circumstance and a pre-objection handler.

Don’t worry about fully addressing the emotional objection in your presentation itself. A pre-objection handler can be a slide to remind you to discuss the objection when you give your presentation.

Here are some standard pre-objection handlers you can include in your listing presentation:

6 Pre-objection Handlers for Your Listing Presentation

ObjectionPre-objection HandlerSolution
Seller believes your data does not reflect the market“You may be concerned why Zillow says something different from my CMA.”Explain why sources like Zillow may come up with a different value than your CMA before presenting your proposed price.
Seller believes their home is nicer than comparable homes“You may believe your home is better than the other homes in the neighborhood.”Explain that sellers may have an emotional connection to their property, creating a perceived additional value.
Seller believes they have invested more in their home than the comparable homes“You may feel that you have invested in features, like windows, that have increased the property's value."Explain why some upgrades, like new insulated windows, do not increase that value dollar for dollar.
Seller wants to test the market“I would like to review my pricing strategy with you so you understand how I get qualified buyers to your home.”Explain in detail how your pricing strategy will net them more money.
Seller believes it is customary to negotiate commissions“Allow me to explain how commissions are divided up.”Sellers don’t understand that agents are independent contractors who carry many sales-related expenses. Detail the cost to manage a transaction.
Seller doesn’t understand your pricing strategy“Let me explain how I interpret the market data and how I use it in my pricing strategy.”Explain to them that you don’t create the market; you just interpret it. You will review with them each week how the market responds to their price, and you may need to make price adjustments to find the price the market will accept.

Bottom Line

Benjamin Franklin was quoted as saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is certainly true regarding objection handling with emotionally charged sellers. Many salespeople fail to take the time to address the seller’s objections before they become heated.

Instead, anticipate real estate objections, prepare to handle them beforehand, and address them at your listing presentation. The secret is to address the objection before emotions take over.

Your Take

Overcoming difficult real estate objections takes practice, empathy, and a deeper understanding of your sellers’ fears. Study these situations and the emotions that coincide with them to learn how to overcome real estate objections skillfully. 

Know a great strategy that we forgot? Let us know in the comments below.

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