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The Short List: Lee and Darlene Gillespy’s Approaches for Managing Clients’ Unreasonable Expectations

by Peter Thomas Ricci

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Lee and Darlene Gillespy are a top-producing team with PalmerHouse Properties in Decatur.

Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Lee and Darlene Gillespy, a top-producing team with PalmerHouse Properties.

It is our job as a real estate professionals to bring our clients expectations back into the reality of the local real estate market.

Typically, clients get their expectations from multiple (and conflicting) sources, including national media outlets, local news, neighborhood news and dozens of websites and blogs.

For buyers, we often deal with sales price vs a client’s wants. We manage expectations early on for buyers by explaining not only neighborhood pricing in a “move-in ready” home, but also what they can expect in purchase and repair costs for a “fixer-upper” property. Which one they decide makes a difference in how we work for a client in finding them a home.

For sellers, we frequently address unreasonable expectations with listing price and making repairs before putting their home on the market.

Our approach has a way of eliminating a lot of clients unreasonable expectations before they surface:

5. We set up a face-to-face, initial meeting with every client.

4. We make a list of all their wants and needs for the purchase of their next home.

3. We go through their list, item by item, and provide clients with a clear understanding of how options will increase/decrease their budget/price.

2. For sellers, we find out the bottom line for the sale of their home. We find out what they are willing to update/repair on their home, and we get an exact price of their home.

1. Lastly, we find out each individual client’s preferred method of contact. Letting a client know we must be able to communicate with each other quickly for the purchase or sale of their home is one of the best ways we can keep unreasonable expectations from coming up.

It is our job to educate each client. Addressing clients expectations, reasonable or not, is one of our most important values as real estate professionals. Our job everyday is to compile real estate data with current market conditions and effectively communicate to clients and prospective clients so that they can make an informed and rational real estate decision. At the end of the day, it’s your business, and if someone’s expectations are too unreasonable to overcome, then let them go.


Lee and Darlene both come from unique sales background. A resident of Atlanta since 1992, Darlene owned one of the city’s most popular flower shops, Atlanta Wildflowers, for eight years before joining Lee’s real estate business; Lee has lived in Atlanta since 1996, and worked in sales for more than 20 years before becoming an agent (including stints with several large manufacturing and telecom companies in Atlanta).

What are YOU an expert in? Take a look at our list of currently available Short List topics, and let us know what you’d like to share your thoughts on!

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