Our housing markets are complex, no matter what kind of market you are in. Both down markets and multiple-offer, up markets have their unique challenges. How can you ease buyers through their process?
1. Explain the benefits of pre-approval
Are your clients’ ducks in a row? Clients will benefit from a solid loan preapproval, preferably underwritten on the front end. Having an underwritten preapproval will put them in a much stronger position at the negotiating table.
It’s a business decision for us as agents whether or not to represent clients who are not willing to go through a thorough preapproval process.
2. Help your clients identify their priorities
Who is the decision-maker? If it’s more than one person (a couple or a buyer with help or advice from parents), are priorities clearly identified?
Here’s an exercise I encourage my clients to do:
- Sit down together with paper and a pen.
- Without conversation, have them write down their top five priorities for their home purchase. I encourage couples to have fun with this (yes, a glass of wine is OK).
- Now, for the fun: have them exchange their lists.
Are their priorities the same? If they are drastically different, it will make finding a suitable home more challenging; helping your clients align their priorities will become a large portion of your job during the transaction.
3. Identify their tradeoffs
Here’s an image: not everything can be a $100 bill. What are their $100 bills? What are their pennies? In the case of different priorities between a couple; who is willing to give and on what?
4. Show a wide array of homes
On the first tour, select a variety of properties that will give you (and your clients) insight into what they might or might not be willing to compromise on. Things like:
- Lot size?
- Two stories?
- Downtown feel?
Pick homes with a variety of specs to help them narrow their scope. Are there any cultural issues that would automatically exclude any property? Check with them. Note who is doing the compromising.
5. Educate clients on the process as you move forward
Give them a preview of what they can expect before they arrive at the next step of the process. Review documents with your clients before they need to be signed.
Explain your market’s “standard practices” and what that means to the client in the transaction. Discuss the value of disclosure documents, inspections, etc. In a competitive market, discuss the risk of non-contingent offers.
Explain your offer presentation process, and obtain consent for what information you might disclose about them to the seller and seller’s agent.
Show your clients an example of your offer presentation package. Share your success stories from previous transactions. How has your process made a difference to your previous clients?
Help your clients understand that these steps are designed to bring focus to their process and to enable them to achieve success. Best wishes for much success!