Today’s marketplace demands more than the basic requirements from Realtors. It requires investigation when you meet with a new buyer. It requires strategic thinking.

Many buyers are well educated when they enter home-sale transactions. They know what properties are selling for, what is active, what’s under contract, what the numbers mean, and how to analyze the market. They know what is happening today.

As real estate professionals, your market knowledge of yesterday has to be from a "shifts and trends" standpoint. More important to your long-term strategy, though, is your outlook for tomorrow. I do not mean speculation — you need to know about your clients’ future plans.

Too often we limit our client discussions to the deals: where things stand, how to put a deal together, and how to close the deal. Getting this far usually takes nuance. Getting beyond it takes an equal effort, if not more.

Editor’s note: The following is a guest perspective.

By MABÉL GUZMÁN

Today’s marketplace demands more than the basic requirements from Realtors. It requires investigation when you meet with a new buyer. It requires strategic thinking.

Many buyers are well educated when they enter home-sale transactions. They know what properties are selling for, what is active, what’s under contract, what the numbers mean, and how to analyze the market. They know what is happening today.

As real estate professionals, your market knowledge of yesterday has to be from a "shifts and trends" standpoint. More important to your long-term strategy, though, is your outlook for tomorrow. I do not mean speculation — you need to know about your clients’ future plans.

Too often we limit our client discussions to the deals: where things stand, how to put a deal together, and how to close the deal. Getting this far usually takes nuance. Getting beyond it takes an equal effort, if not more.

What about tomorrow? When do your clients plan to sell? I know, they just started looking. But likely they know when they plan to sell because they’ve talked about it. If they haven’t talked, it’s your role to begin the discussion.

Ask your clients about their goals for the next two to five years. If your buyer is single, and has a significant other, do they plan to move in together? If your buyers are recently married, do they plan to have kids? Do they see potential for a job promotion or starting their own business? Have they put their goals in writing?

Determine if your clients see today’s purchase as an investment or just a place to hang their hats. Where do they see the market going in the next three years, and what part of the country would they like to live in if their careers offer the opportunity to move?

If you know they are planning to start their own business, eventually the new home’s office will be too small and they will need additional bricks and mortar.

If they would love to have a second home in Colorado but it’s just a dream, assume your charge as their housing strategist, help them to create a second-home plan, and work the referral.

Talking with clients about tomorrow will give you a holistic understanding of their housing needs. Build a long-term strategy and then work to that plan. In your clients’ minds, you are now a part of their housing future and their lives. You’ve gone beyond where a newsletter or a market snapshot can take you.

We aim to be trusted advisers. Let’s raise the level of discussion with our clients and build trust together.

Mabél Guzmán is 2010-11 president for the Chicago Association of Realtors and vice president of business development and sales for Envision Real Estate.

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