As a real estate agent, you’ve learned that each client transaction has its own nuances. As your experience grows, so does your ability to handle challenges and roadblocks as they arise — and keep your client empowered along the way.
Selling and purchasing a home is a very emotional process, not to mention the stress and logistics of timing, financials and other key factors. In addition, living through the pandemic has added an extra layer of uncertainty to many people’s lives. I’ve outlined three tips for keeping clients confident throughout the homebuying process so everyone comes out ahead.
Be cognizant of your client’s motivation
One thing I recommend first and foremost is — try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. In any transaction, clients want to feel as though they are heard and understood. This all starts with realizing what they’re looking for and how you can best service their needs. This is especially important now, as needs may have changed due to the pandemic.
Before even conducting one showing with my client, I make sure to sit down with them to fully comprehend why they’re buying a property, which ultimately helps me provide top service for the transaction to go smoothly.
While sitting down with your client, ask questions like: Are they downsizing? Are they growing their family? Do they have any desires to be in a certain ZIP code for top-ranking schools? And so on.
Today, you also need to ask questions as to how their living situation may have evolved due to COVID-19, and what they might want and need in a home going forward. A seasoned real estate professional will know the answers to all these questions before ever walking a client through a property.
By having a candid conversation and understanding your clients’ end goal, they will feel comfortable and confident that you have their best interests in mind.
Walk your client through each step of the process
As an expert, you are well aware of the process that goes into purchasing or selling a home. Given how frequently we do transactions, it’s easy to forget that much of this can be brand new to your clients.
At the start, make sure to take time to explain all that goes into a transaction and the projected timeline. Explain the paperwork thoroughly, including all the terms, language and stipulations they might not be aware of.
Also, make them aware of any contingencies or new aspects of the process that might have been altered because of COVID-19. I also make sure to provide suggestions for essential parties involved such as lenders, inspectors, legal counsel, and more.
And lastly, make sure to provide insight into the projected timeline — from escrow to closing — so your client has realistic expectations regarding how long each process takes.
Show off your expertise
Clients feel more confident when you share important market knowledge and comparative stats, and can be a true resource for any questions they might have. By knowing everything about your market and its current inventory, you can strategically sift through prospective properties to maximize time and efforts.
In our market, there’s extreme demand and limited inventory, especially as many people from large urban cities are seeking out properties in Los Angeles to sequester in for the foreseeable future.
Share data that’s relevant to your clients, and present them with background on your business and brokerage so they’re aware of your expertise and past successes. You can even include testimonials or client references for added credibility. Perhaps even provide examples of how you were able to help and service others through their pandemic move.
I also recommend putting together a buyer’s packet with everything they might need to know, including contingencies and other terms that can protect them. Demonstrating your market knowledge and trusted network puts clients at ease — and it’s a win-win for all.
Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.