Agent

5 ways to humanize the homebuying experience

Consider your clients' price range, down payment abilities and family needs
  • Focus on the client, rather than the transaction.
  • Buyers, especially those who are young or who have not purchased a home before, might not know what to expect.
  • Help buyers understand their budget requirements, and show homes within their range.

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During the home search, Realtors would do well to consider appealing to buyers‘ humanistic side.

In this emotional process, prospective homeowners want to know what’s in the deal for them and their family. Buyers often make an immediate decision on how they feel about the home as soon as they walk through the door. Real estate professionals know that the road from first contact to close can be a rollercoaster ride.

Here are five ideas for keeping your focus on the client, rather than the transaction.

Clarify expectations

Buyers, especially those who are young or who have not purchased a home before, might not know what to expect when buying a home.

They will likely need clarification during the entire process. In any case, strong communication skills enhance clarification of expectations so that the buyer knows what is happening each step of the way, facilitating the process and raising the level of satisfaction.

Stay within price range

Buyers need a realistic picture of their budget. While some savvy buyers come to the table knowing what they can realistically afford, others may:

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  • Have no idea what their budget is
  • Think they can afford more than what’s feasible
  • Underestimate what they can afford

Clients will be much happier in the long run if they spend no more than 28 percent of their annual income on a mortgage, most lenders advise. For example, a single person who earns $50,000 annually could afford about $1,166 as a monthly payment, while a married couple that brings in double that could afford twice that amount for a mortgage.

The interest rate affects the financing amount as well — when the rate is higher, the buyer be able to afford less as more of the mortgage payment is tied up in financing.

Plan for the down payment

Some buyers fail to plan for the necessary down payment, which generally starts at a minimum of 3 percent.

Real estate agents should gently encourage a buyer to put as much down as possible. In some cases, buyers can obtain some home loans with nothing down or find grants for money to put toward a down payment.

Agents can provide suggestions and resources for buyers to seek down payment funding and reduced interest rates.

Consider the commute

As a general rule, buyers will find more spacious homes with upgraded features for the same price as they move into outlying areas of the city.

However, the trade-off might be a one-way commute that takes anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes, reducing the amount of time that the owner spends at home with the family.

Remind clients of how the commute will affect their family dynamics. In addition, a longer commute means more wear and tear on your vehicle and increased overall stress, potentially reducing happiness for the long-term.

Show a staged home

A staged home not only promotes an appealing environment that a buyer can visualize their life in — but may sell more quickly. Even if the seller can’t afford to use a professional stager, they can set up the furniture in each room to attract buyers.

Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Jackson Cooper.