This post comes out of all the recent advances in technology in the real estate marketplace. For you, the agent or broker, that technology provides a big benefit: You can now accomplish a multitude of tasks by yourself that you would have had to employ a large staff or team to handle for you just a few years ago.
Yes, utilizing that technology effectively requires skill, and not everyone benefits from it as a result, but speaking in general terms, it’s possible for you as an agent to leverage technology to help you multiply your performance and effectiveness without multiplying the cost that goes with it.
Technology doesn’t just benefit the agent, though; it also empowers real estate buyers, and helps them understand opportunities, available properties and selling prices in the marketplace. Today’s buyer is typically self-educated about their local marketplace and comes to the table with a variety of expectations and assumptions as a result of all the tools and technology now available to them.
This self-education creates another problem, too: Buyers tend to question the value that agents bring to the homebuying process, and often view them as fungible — a polite way of saying “mutually interchangeable.”
We recently discussed this topic in depth on our radio show, and we have some tips below on you how you can best demonstrate the unique value you provide to create buyer loyalty and make sure that contacts in your center of influence stick with you as the agent of choice.
1. Why is it that buyers sometimes bail on you?
They have a lack of confidence in you. You’re taking too long to find them a house. They feel there is a lack of communication, and they might think you are making them do all the legwork. If you have them on an email drip system and you’ve got the attitude that “they’ll call when they find something they like,” then there’s a good chance you’ll lose them.
2. What do you do about this?
You must learn how to formalize how you work with buyers. We like to ask our clients whether they’d work with a seller without having a listing contract signed. What about working with a seller who has wildly unrealistic expectations about price and time on market? The answer to both of those questions is no — because most agents have specific rules and guidelines about how they work with sellers.
Why isn’t the same thing true for buyers? It should be. The easiest way to start demonstrating your value to buyers is to have a formalized buyer presentation that walks them through the homebuying process from start to finish and helps them understand what they can expect. When you meet with a buyer, just like meeting with a seller, you should have a process and a presentation that presents you as a professional — it differentiates you from other agents.
3. What goes into your presentation?
You need a “buyer search action plan” that tells the buyer exactly what you will be doing for them, which might include items like searching the MLS for listings, pocket listings, new construction (if appropriate), FSBOs (for-sale-by-owners), expireds, withdrawns, temporarily off-the-market homes, your own center-of-influence database and any other sources of listings that might apply. It’s going to tell the buyer about the work you’ll be doing for them, and the communication with them you’ll be providing to ensure they know that you’re actually working. In short, you’re going to present what you’ll do for them in the form of a “homebuying guarantee” before you ask for something back from them — our next point:
4. What do you expect from the buyers?
You do have a right to expect loyalty from your buyers, which you can ask for by having them sign a “buyer agency agreement.” You ask the buyer to tell you the second they come across any property that interests them, from any source, and make sure to let the buyer know that your license covers any listing across the state, listed by any entity. Sometimes buyers don’t realize that you can show them any listing, and they might not show you properties they’re interested in because of that misperception. You want them to understand that you represent them as a buyer and that you’re the only person who does that, not the seller or the listing agent — they all have their own interests. You’re the only one with the buyer’s real interest at heart, so ask them to reciprocate your commitment by signing a buyer agency agreement with you.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to the story here, so we’d urge you to listen to our recent broadcast and learn why you should insist on your buyers being prequalified (and what being “prequalified” actually means) before you start working with them. Remember, just because they want to buy a house doesn’t mean they can buy one, and in today’s complicated financial world, they might not even realize that they’re not in a good position to buy because they’re not properly prequalified.
Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at timandjulieharris.com, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at realestatecoachingradio.com.