Too many choices make it hard to decide

Key Takeaways

  • Most homes have at least one strong feature; presented with too many choices, some buyers find it hard to decide.
  • Take a break between showings and help buyers weigh strengths and weaknesses of each property against their list of needs.
  • Save the best property for last, or bring them back to the one that made an early strong impression.

Sometimes a buyer will be pleasantly surprised by how much they like the first house you show them. They start talking to themselves about where Johnny’s or Suzie’s bedroom is going to be. They start planning dinner parties on the patio.

You might think, We have a slew of houses to see, but this might be easier than I thought.

Even the buyers are thinking this might be the one — but you planned to show them ten homes. Buyers want to check off all the boxes, so you leave that house feeling good about it and head to the next one.

The next house may not be as good as the first, but it has a couple of features that beat it. The buyer might say, “We don’t like the layout, but this kitchen is gorgeous.”

The third house may not have as many bedrooms as they need, but it’s a wonderful location.

Be cautious about showing too many homes. What happens is that you keep looking, and each home could have a single feature the buyer likes better than the first house. When you finish looking, they are overwhelmed. They look back on the first one and say, “I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t think that one’s the right fit for us anymore. I think we need to keep looking.”

They look at more houses, and it all becomes muddled. They might have looked at three or four houses that could have worked for them, and if any of them had been the only house they looked at, they might have been sure enough to move forward with an offer. But they looked at so many that they all blend together, and the buyers can’t make a decision.

Part of your job as a real estate agent is to prevent them from getting too confused. Here are a few ways to help buyers stay focused on what it is that they really want to get from their purchase:

Take a break after you’ve seen a few homes that fit the buyer’s needs. Go over the notes of things they liked about the first house. Focus on the things they liked and disliked about the second house, and the third.

Based on that conversation, see if there are any homes they can take off the list. Illustrate why some of the houses should be ruled out. And then extend that to the homes you still have scheduled to look at. If you ruled out the second home because of a lack of bathrooms or patio, skip showing them the next house on your list because it has the same shortcomings.

Save the best for last. If you go through the process of showing ten homes, and they liked the first one best, there’s a chance their enthusiasm will fade by the end of the day. However, if you go back to it at the end of the day, they might fall in love with it again. Or if you get a sense throughout the day of what details they’re responding to in each home — and maybe you have a specific property in the stack that will be a good fit for them — move that house to the last showing of the day.

Some homebuyers are pretty easygoing and can picture themselves in many different houses, but if they see the best one at the end, after they’ve seen a bunch that were close but not perfect, that one will rise to the top of the list, and they’ll likely move forward with an offer.