Ah, the paradox of choice. We are obsessed with having options for everything, and are even more obsessed with making decisions. Complain though we may, being deemed the “decision-maker” feeds us with such a sense of importance that we tend to ignore the agony that comes along with making so many decisions.
Homebuyers are assaulted with a barrage of choices at every turn, causing anxiety and sometimes choice-paralysis, even to the point of delaying the sale. This is a pretty undesirable situation for you as a Realtor®. Fear not! We’ll show you how your valuable experience can save the day — and the sale.
Taking the Driver’s Seat
As much as we love being the all-important decision-maker, marketing professor and philosopher Baba Shiv claims that there are some situations in which it’s more freeing and effective to let someone else take the reigns. In a study conducted by Shiv, he found that people who give up control of some decisions solve problems more efficiently than those who are offered more choices. Shiv says this is because those in control tend to “focus on the forgone option” (i.e. “Had I chosen the other cupcake, I wouldn’t have gotten sick”).
Left to their own devices, homebuyers will often second-guess themselves and start spinning their wheels when faced with decisions like: which location is best, how much to offer, what title company to use, how to handle repairs, et cetera – wasting precious time and energy. In fact, the act of choosing a home is usually far less stressful than all of the many smaller decisions involved. Still, this series of detours could easily hold up the close of the sale.
Taking the driver’s seat on the little decisions could completely turn the situation around. As the industry professional, you know the drill. Your client needs to get pre-approved? Give them the name of a specific lender to call. Even better, call the lender for them and get them connected. This makes you the authority and takes one less decision off of their plate — not to mention one less opportunity to second-guess themselves. They will be grateful for the help, and you’ll be glad things are moving forward.
What We Really Want
At some point you might start to think: “Shouldn’t they decide this stuff? Am I giving them enough options?”
Although we think we want to control every decision, what we really want is to approve it. By letting your clients approve your decisions, they’ll appreciate you taking the guesswork out of home-buying so they can focus on the most important decision: the house itself.
The Big Picture
In addition to helping clients with the smaller decisions, you can help them with the BIG decision, too! Clearly this does NOT mean you should choose their house for them. But you can give your clients a different perspective on the decision, encouraging them to change the way they think about the choice.
Ruth Chang, expert on hard choices, says, “It’s a mistake to think that one decision is really better than the other.” Instead of comparing two houses to each other, invite your clients to weigh each house against their own values. This could help them make a smarter (and hopefully faster) decision. Also, point out features of the house — positive and negative — that they may not notice. Many buyers get caught up in price, square footage, acreage, and statistics of the house, forgetting about the most important decision — the big picture. Can they see themselves there? Will they be happy there? As their agent, you can make this big decision easier just by offering an honest opinion.
A Realtor’s® job is more than just selling houses. It’s helping people choose where they will make their home. If you make that decision-making process as painless as possible, your clients will be so grateful that referring their friends and family will be the easiest choice yet.