4 common buyer objections and how to resolve them

Publish Date: February 19, 2024

Written by Luke Babich

- Originally published at Inman News - Luke Babich

When buyers express reluctance, they’re not necessarily telling you they don’t want to move forward, Luke Babich writes. Sometimes, they’re asking you to help them move forward.

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Real estate agents have to wear many hats — adviser, negotiator, tour guide, host and salesperson. That last role can be a thorny one for some agents. A home purchase is largely client-guided, so switching gears into active persuasion can be difficult. 

When buyers express reluctance, they’re not necessarily telling you they don’t want to move forward. In a way, they’re asking you to help them move forward. In fact, one analysis found that clients who raised objections were 30 percent more likely to close on an eventual sale. It may sound counterintuitive, but a buyer objection is often a good sign.

So, what’s the best way to overcome common real estate buyer objections? Well, it’s as much about how you say things as what you say. Before we explain how to overcome the four most common buyer objections, let’s cover the right mindset to bring into these talks.

How to approach buyer objections 

Think about tone. Your reflexive reaction to a buyer’s objection might be to get defensive and tell them, in so many words, that they’re wrong. This is not the right way to handle objections and could strengthen their resistance.

First, let them talk — and listen to what they’re saying. You’ll likely realize they’re making one of a few common objections, whether it’s anxiety about money, the market, the home search process or the commitment to buying a home.

Before you tackle their specific objection, make sure you’ve heard them. Repeat what they’ve told you to signal they’ve been heard and understood. If you don’t quite understand their objection, ask follow-up questions until you do.

While you’re listening, maintain open, empathetic body language. Don’t frown or cross your arms. Verbally acknowledge what they tell you, and keep a nonjudgmental, receptive posture.

The 4 most common objections

Now, about those buyer objections. Almost all buyer objections will fall into four categories: 

  • Financial concerns
  • Timing and logistics 
  • Risk or commitment aversion
  • The property itself

Let’s touch on these objections and how to overcome them. 

1. Financial concerns

This category can include concerns about their credit rating or ability to qualify for a mortgage, as well as worries about their financial stability, the price of the homes they’ve targeted or the size of their down payment. 

Point out ways to ease their financial burden. Options like credit repair, no-down-payment mortgage programs or even a simple explanation of the costs of renting versus buying can often alleviate much of their financial distress.

They may also be too fixated on the financial obligations of owning a home and overlooking the benefits. A quick refresher on how rapidly home equity builds up, the tax advantages of paying a mortgage, and how much money they could eventually save by buying a home can put things back in perspective and prepare them to move forward.

2. Timing and logistics

This category of objections includes market concerns and lifestyle decisions that buyers are sometimes hesitant about. 

The No. 1 market-related concern is that “it isn’t the right time” to buy a house — implying that market conditions will be more favorable. This objection is fairly simple to address with a closing technique like visualization. Just show them a graph of home prices over the past several decades, and they’ll see that — in the long term — the market only goes in one direction.

When they realize the house they want will only become more expensive every day they delay, their objections may disappear.

Other logistics-related objections could involve starting a new job, an upcoming marriage or child or having to sell their current home before they can buy a new one. Although these are all legitimate objections, point out that these life events can feel less stressful if they’re settled in a new home and that kicking the can down the road will cause them more stress.

3. Risk or commitment aversion

Buyers who find the market too risky are similar to buyers who think they should wait. The difference is that the latter buyer thinks their targeted home will be cheaper after the market falls, while the former buyer is scared that the market will crash after they buy. 

Communicate to them that no one knows how the market will fluctuate, but a home is one of the safest investments they can make.

Gently point out how unlikely they’re privy to economic insights that elude the world’s leading experts and that they may just be feeling a very understandable amount of anxiety about making a significant financial commitment. As with the buyers who have financial anxieties, point out the costs of inaction — of missing out on wealth building, of paying more down the line due to rising prices and interest rates, and of the more significant costs of continuing to rent.

4. Property objections

This category can be tricky because the home they’re looking at may be less than ideal. It almost certainly is. 

Communicate to them that the perfect can be an enemy of the good and that having unrealistic standards (if you feel they do) is a recipe for frustration and wasted time. On the other hand, if you feel their objections are legitimate, it may be time to continue the search.

Sometimes a buyer finds the perfect home but has difficulty realizing it. This is another situation where perfectionism can be a big hurdle. You probably know at this point what they want in a house, so explain how specific qualities of this home match their preferences and assure them they could be happy there. Sometimes a buyer objection is a deficit of confidence more than anything else.

Luke Babich is the CSO of Clever Real Estate in St. Louis. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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