How do you articulate the value you bring when representing a homebuyer in a real estate transaction? You know what you do, but how do you explain it in such a way that a buyer understands your value, the required agency forms and everything involved to make it to the closing table?
Ultimately, every homebuyer prospect, every contract and every negotiation is different, but your value should be consistent for all situations and clients. How you conduct yourself and how you present to each buyer prospect should not vary by situation.
Follow the same best practices for all prospects in all situations, and you’ll have nothing to worry about. In fact, you will become known as a true professional and receive repeat and referral business as a result of doing the best job possible for your clients.
Top 10 ways to get homebuyers to work with you
1. Know their needs
Do a real drill-down by using a buyer prequalification questionnaire, you’ll discover exactly what your buyers are looking for, what they qualify for, where they need to move geographically, what their other requirements are and any other important criteria. The more you know, the better job you’ll do finding them exactly what they’re looking for.
2. Educate your clients about financing
While many homebuyers can benefit from a 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgage, other borrowers might need access to other loan programs with more lenient guidelines.
Know the basics about each major home loan program and financing terms/options, and connect them with a trusted mortgage professional who can help them find the best mortgage solution for their specific needs.
Make sure your buyers understand the difference between being prequalified, preapproved and loan-committed. In today’s market, having a preapproval, at the minimum, is a must. What steps must they take to achieve loan commitment?
3. Strategize for the win
Explore all of the potential scenarios so you can serve buyers accordingly. For instance, are your buyer clients also listing clients? Are they relocating? Are they in a situation where they can compete for a home if necessary?
Should they buy first or sell first? Do they have realistic expectations? Are they looking in an area that actually has what they want? Should they consider new construction? Asking these questions will help inform the strategies you recommend to help them achieve their homeownership goals.
4. Find them the right home
Inventory is scarce, and will likely stay that way for a while. One of your most important value propositions is your ability to match them with the right property. To do that, you need to use more than just Realtor.com, Homes.com and Zillow.
Online and offline resources are at your fingertips. There are other ways to find inventory rather than just using your MLS. You cah also be more creative in your MLS searches in ways that net you more inventory to choose from for your clients.
5. Advise your buyer clients based on market knowledge
Find out everything you can about the subject property, the neighborhood, the homeowners association, the trends in the area, the average days on the market, list-to-sell price ratio and other pertinent details that could affect your client’s offer. This also helps you level-set on their expectations for the homebuying process.
6. Help them write a winning offer
Understand what the seller is desiring beyond the asking price. Have the best, most-detailed lender’s letter or proof of funds so your offer won’t be tabled because it’s too vague or boilerplate. Make your offer is the obvious front-runner based on facts, not just conjecture, and help your buyer put their best foot forward in the terms they’re offering.
7. Guide them through escrow
Once you’ve won the offer, help your clients through the contingencies, inspections, the appraisal process and the final walk-through. With a changing market, home inspections are now becoming a secondary point of negotiation.
This can be a key value you provide to your buyer clients. Managing the transaction between pending and closing can be the most challenging part of the process. Be the reason they make it to the closing table.
8. Communicate often
Every time there’s a survey that goes out to recently closed real estate clients, their #1 complaint is always the same. It’s not the commission; it’s communication. Always be one step ahead of your clients. They need to know what’s happening now and what’s happening next. Lack of information creates enormous stress. Be the leader in the transaction.
9. Ensure a smooth closing process
Work with all parties to get final removal of any financing and inspection contingencies, help your buyers navigate the pre-closing walk-through and help them review the closing documents. Answer their questions and make sure everyone is comfortable prior to signing.
10. Follow up after closing
From a closing present to handling any questions about appliances or their new home, you’re the go-to resource. Don’t disappear after the deal is done. Instead, close the file but not the relationship. Fold them into your database and include them in your sphere of influence. This is how repeat and referral business happens.
All of these action items are things that professional, experienced real estate agents should practice already. These are the same agents who aren’t in fear of any of the changes resulting from the commission lawsuits. Make sure you join their ranks by following these best practices each time you work with a buyer.
Tim and Julie Harris host a podcast for real estate professionals. Tim and Julie have been real estate coaches for more than two decades, coaching the top agents in the country through different types of markets.