Managing Buyer & Seller Expectations As A UK Real Estate Agent

By: Matt Giggs | February 12, 2024

Managing expectations is what it's all about to be the most successful real estate agent in any country. I can tell you, this sort of stuff works across the world.

Why should you listen to me? Well my name is Matt Giggs and I've been a real estate agent for 28 years. I have grown from a trainee tea boy to being a trainer, an influencer, a leader, a managing director, an owner, and a founder of a group of estate agents. I've trained thousands of estate agents across the UK. I've also sold over a billion pounds worth of property and made market leading businesses with market leading teams.

If you’re ready to scale your business without the sleaze, read on!

Managing expectations whatever the market

Managing buyer and seller expectations is the big subject right now as we’re in a buyer’s market. But I really feel this applies in any market. It doesn't matter what year you're in, this will apply.

How does it apply right now? Well if you look at the current climate, all the buyers are using these things to talk down prices:

-house prices are falling;

-mortgage rates are an all-time high (which they're not);

-the news, the newspapers, my friends, my family, people have told me that I shouldn't be offering any more than this;

-and it goes on.

For God's sake, guys. We are being bombarded right now with negativity. So what's your reaction to that? I hear you cry – or maybe crying is what you're doing right now.

I mean it's very easy to fall prey to the negativity at the moment because there are fewer transactions happening, less value is being achieved than perhaps was the case a year or even two years ago.

But let's take a look at the details right here. For me, managing expectations is the key skill for being a successful real estate agent. You need to know what the buyer is actually looking to do and what the seller is looking to do. So we’re going to look at three things you need to focus on to manage expectations to a higher level, to a clearer level, to a trusted level:

1. Needs

2. Knowledge

3. Know-how

The worst thing you can do as an estate agent is to bulldoze someone into buying a house. If you do that, then they think 2 or 3 weeks later that they’ve done the wrong thing. You do not want buyer’s remorse from your negotiations. You also do not want the seller to think that you're working against them because your client is the seller – you've got to be working for them not against them.

Manage expectations by understanding needs

Let’s look at needs. Do you understand the needs involved in your negotiations? Do you really understand when you're talking to buyers and sellers what it is they actually need as an outcome? Or are you focused on your needs Mr Agent or Mrs Agent?

Are you thinking along these lines?

“What can I get from this? I want to get a deal. Oh God, they should accept this offer.”

I’ve heard this so many times. I had a mentee ring me recently because he was so frustrated. He rang me up and said, “Matt, can you help me? I need to tie this offer up.”

And I said, “that's where you're going wrong – you need to tie it up. Why is that? Because you want to get paid commission.”

That's not how it works, guys. That's not what this industry needs right now. It needs you to move your ego, pop it in a little box, and stick it over there. All right?

Client’s needs come first

Your client’s needs come first. For both the buyer and the seller all you need to understand is what they need to get out of the negotiation.

Let’s use a conversation I recently had with Ed (he’s the cameraman for my YouTube channel) as an example. I said to Ed, right, pretend you’re my buyer, right? Tell me why you want to buy this home. What's making you make this offer?

Ed pulled out the excuses we’ve all heard before: “Well, you know I love this. I love that, but you know I just don't want to pay that price.”

My followup question is quite simple: “Why are you offering? Are you looking to live in this house, or are you looking to focus on your mortgage rate? Once you’ve moved in and got your mortgage term and agreed that you can afford it, are you really worried beyond that? Are you really more concerned with the mortgage than with the fact that the house actually delivers what you need for your family, for your outcome, for your investment?”

As you see here, it's really fundamental that you uncover that so they know quite clearly the reasons for why they want to buy this property. Sounds quite simple.

So if you really establish what their emotional connection to this property is and you help them to actually see it as theirs, you're on to a very, very strong start. Why? Because people absolutely buy with emotion and they justify with logic, which is the offer.

Use knowledge to manage expectations

As a real estate agent, it’s your job to understand your buyer’s needs and their emotional connection to the property as well as your seller’s needs and emotional reasons for selling. In addition to this, you need knowledge about what data both the buyer and seller need to agree on a sale.


Recently a client said to me, “I'm making this offer of £925k. I'm not going to be looking to increase it and this is my reason why: the news says house prices are coming down, so I shouldn't be paying any more than this.” He then went on to talk about mortgage rates, etc.

I thought, but didn’t say, but you're a buyer, right? You're bound to say that. Instead of fighting back, I simply acknowledged his reasons for making that offer – that’s always the first step in handling objections.

After I acknowledged his reasons, I asked him a question: “If I shared with you some data on the area that gives you a summary of the same size properties which are actually a lot older than this one that are being sold for more money, would that help you to understand the purchase value?” And he said, “Yeah that would be great!”

I shared the information, gave him what he needed. He took a look over that and then he realized that actually £925k was a very, very low offer

So the first thing I did was agree with him. To follow up, I gave him some information and asked him to come back to me in 3 days. We did that, and then he gave us his highest and final offer which was £975k – that's £50,000 worth of value I've just given my client.


My client’s expectations were also met because their property was on the market for too high a value in the first place. So in reverse I needed to give my sellers some data, and I needed to acknowledge their reasons for moving and make sure that they were really clear on their needs and motivation. We talked about their emotional need for moving, then I justified accepting the offer of £975k with data because at the same time in the same market there's information that sellers need in order to make the right decision.

What do you know about the present market?

As we’ve established, first you need to understand your client’s needs. Then you need knowledge. I’ve touched on that a little little bit, but let’s get into it more here.

How much do you know about your market? How much do you know about the number of properties that are available? The number of buyers per property? The history? About what the market looks like moving forward?

When you’re valuing a house, one of the worst things you can do is be too fixed on comparables. Why? Because comparables are historic. Yes, you can lean on them, but the comparable sale could have been in a market when there was absolutely nothing else on the market or when there were loads of properties on the market.

So instead of looking back, you've got to look at what it’s really like at the present moment. You’ve got to understand the knowledge for now. That’s what’s going to help you to bring that client the information they need. It will help you get into the emotion and establish what their decision-making process looks like.

Knowledge will make or break your negotiations

So your knowledge, your data is vital. If you're talking to a seller, you need to know how many buyers you’re working with that are looking for a property like theirs. That information is really important because if there aren’t many, the price is a bit more of a challenge. If there's lots of competition among similar properties, that's going to challenge their price again.

This is the information that your clients really need to see – not you telling them what their price actually is. By the way, there's no estate agent I've met that is actually going to determine the exact value in any housing market. You can only give people a guide because the only person to really establish the value of any property is the ready and willing buyer. We've all heard that a house is only worth what someone’s prepared to pay. Well yeah, but it's also down to how crap the person was at negotiating with them in the first place. Did they have the knowledge? Were they able to share the information that gave that buyer the confidence and the reassurance to move forward?

Knowledge is power, but only if you know how to use it

Knowledge is power when it comes to managing expectations, but how you use that knowledge is key. That’s why know-how is point three in how to manage buyer and seller expectations.

How do you use data and knowledge? For starters, don't use it to intimidate people. Don’t use it to sound pretentious or patronizing. Instead, remember that your clients are unlikely to have the data and the insights that you've got on hand – in other words, what seems obvious to you, won’t be to them.

Since you have the information they need, share it with them. Then, ask them to give you their impression of what that information shows them. That's how you use the information to manage expectations – you give them data, and then you help them learn how to use it.

Let’s return for a minute to my mentee calling me, asking me “How do I tie up this deal?” The first thing I’d say to his client, or any client, is, “I don't want you to accept an offer that you are unhappy with, okay? My job here isn’t to tie up a house sale at a value that you don't understand and you're not happy with.”

I’m giving you the same advice I gave my mentee, you’ve got to take a stand as an agent. It’s about you helping your clients to make an informed decision by using information and emotions to manage expectations.

Final thoughts on managing expectations

The three areas you need to work on to manage both buyer and seller expectations are: understand their needs, have current knowledge and data about your market, and know how to help your clients use the knowledge you share with them.

Work on these three areas consistently, to be ready to work in any property market. If you have any questions for me or feedback to offer, please comment below. Finally, make sure you subscribe to this blog and to my YouTube channel to get the information you need to scale your career or estate agency without the sleaze.