3 Ways to Deal with Selective Buyers
Tara Christianson
May 31, 2022 — Read in 2.8 mins · 551 words

There comes a time in every real estate agent’s life when they have to deal with an extremely discerning, dare we even say “picky,” buyer. While it’s admirable to know what you want and be confident in asking for it, being too hard to please can actually work against a buyer’s interests. We asked some of our CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty agents how they work with choosy buyers and here were their top tips:


Conduct a pre-consultation over the phone.  C21 Redwood D.C. agent Rob Carter is a big proponent of this. In his opinion, both sides win when a brief phone consultation is held ahead of the initial face-to-face meeting. The prospective buyers obtain an understanding of what you bring to the table, while you interview them to gain an understanding of their needs and wants. Most of the time, the result of this approach is an extremely efficient initial face-to-face meeting where the agent can show the client homes that match all of their needs. Occasionally, a client’s expectations are simply not realistic and a tough conversation is needed to determine if their situation is something you can work with. 

Set expectations from the start.  Educating clients on the buying process and their local market will help manage their expectations  and will  save a lot of grief for both parties in the end. It’s important that buyers understand all the nuances of buying in specific area, as local rules and seller expectations can be different from what they’re used to.

The ‘rule of 3.’  Sharon Ferguson, an agent in our Fredericksburg office, says she shows prospective buyers three separate properties that meet their search criteria. If those buyers have issues with all three, she has a serious discussion to determine where the disconnect is so she can better match their needs. “Perhaps they really aren’t serious buyers,” she says, “Perhaps they just like to look at houses, but maybe my vision of their needs is off, in which case I need to recalibrate my search to match what they’re looking for.” 

What consitutes a serious buyer? Sharon notes that skilled real estate agents know that the home search process often involves a trade-off between price and features. Walking homebuyers through this process is what we do for a living! Some times are easier than others, but the most memorable transactions can often be the ones with the highest learning curve. 

So what did we learn here from our rock-solid Redwood agents when it comes to working with choosy buyers? 

  1. Get to know your client and create of list of must-haves and wants to help them determine what they can’t live without, versus what could become trade-offs for price and location, etc.
  2. Educate your client on their dream neighborhood, the real estate market trends and comps so you can manage their expectations throughout the entire process.
  3. Show three choices based on the first two strategies and help them determine what will be the best fit. 

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