Sue Ostler: What to do when your buyer is ruled by love, not logic

I have a buyer whose preferences are based on her emotions.

Her criteria for not buying a home are based on the “love” factor.

I just don’t love it enough” or “It didn’t sweep me off my feet.”

If you have had a client who has fallen in love with the wrong property but will not compromise on the right one, you will likely recognise the symptoms.

 My client fell in love with one particular home’s “energy”.

It was a lovely home but, unfortunately, the building report demonstrated multiple severe defects and there was no way my conscience would have allowed her to buy it.

But she was smitten. 

What could I do?

Shouldn’t she be entitled to love the property they will be paying off for the next three decades?


And let’s be crystal clear: I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to “love” a property.

But, and it’s a big but, there’s a critical difference between “loving it” and “being in love”.

As property professionals, you and I both know that agents and vendors spend a lot of money on property psychology.

This includes staging the space and making it warm and welcoming by positioning sumptuous furniture amid lush greenery, playing feel-good music, and infusing the irresistible aroma of scented oils, freshly brewed coffee and baked treats.

When faced with a lovesick buyer, it’s up to us to pressure test them to understand why they are “in love” and break down their “loving” feeling to determine precisely what they are in love with. 

Is it the potent fragrance of the potted jasmine wafting in from the kitchen window? Is it the the luxurious sofa or the sumptuous bed dressing? 

Whatever it is, they need to know it will all disappear once the staging is removed! 

Our clients need to learn how to listen to and trust their gut. 

Psychologists assert that the unconscious mind dictates decision-making more than we think.

Our subconscious mind nudges us with different data, drawing on memories and experiences – even when we believe we are basing decisions purely on logic.

If our clients know in their hearts and gut that they want to buy this property, no amount of rational talk will change that.

However, it’s up to us to do our due diligence.

Part of our due diligence is to provide examples of how different the home will look once the staging and styling is gone.

You need to frame your questions to clarify how much of their thought process is driven by emotions – how they feel – rather than common sense.

So, after our first viewing and her declaration of love, I took my client back for another look.

This time, I worded her up.

We were going to work through an activity.

Here’s how it would play out: I would point out all the smoke and mirrors components and ask her to imagine the space without them.

She took her time visualising and imagining the difference, and voila! she walked away with a completely different impression.

My was no longer smitten, and I was able to focus her concentration on a more suitable property.

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