By setting expectations early, agents can put their clients in a better position and educate them on the often frustrating marketplace so they can make quick, sound decisions. Here’s how.

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There’s nothing worse than going into a competitive market with unrealistic expectations. Simply put, it’s a bad use of time and resources, and it doesn’t benefit a buyer in the least bit. As the professionals, it’s our responsibility to educate our clients on where the market is and how best to approach it.

By providing buyers with the tools they need early on, we can better help them navigate one of the busiest times of the year for real estate activity. Here are three ways to set expectations with buyers as we move into a busy, competitive spring selling season. 

1. Schedule a CITO (see-toe)

One of the best and safest ways to meet with buyers and set their expectations early is by scheduling a CITO or time to “come into the office.” This can also be done at a coffee shop or other public place that can serve as a neutral ground. (For a safety reason, this can also take place virtually). 

Wherever you decide to meet your clients, this is your chance to learn about their situation, what they are wanting to accomplish and how you can help them achieve their end goal. You will quickly see what their perception of the current marketplace is and just how realistic they are.

As the professional, buyers are looking to you for guidance on how to navigate the market and put their best foot forward. From making sure their funding options are in order to helping them narrow down the neighborhoods that will have the most amenities they are searching for, it’s a great way to set expectations early. 

2. Give them an overview of inventory

If your market is as hot as it is here in the Midwest, then you know how scarce inventory is. For the year thus far, we’ve been down over 50 percent from last year. High demand and low supply equals a seller’s market — and buyers need to be prepared.

The best way to do this is by giving them an overview of all the available inventory in areas they are looking at. Allow them to see what you see — just how many homes are for sale and the price points they hit.

This is a great way to set expectations early on just how competitive the marketplace really is. More importantly, it helps buyers start thinking about ways to better make their offer stand out.

Whether it’s cutting down inspection timeframes or waiving certain financing contingencies, when they’re prepared in advance and armed with the proper knowledge, they can start tailoring their needs and wants to better adapt to the situation. 

3. Show them what they get

Sometimes you’ve got to go old school. Just get in the car, and go physically look at properties at different price points and locations to show your buyers exactly what they will get. This will help them see the reality of where the market is.

That open concept floor plan with the large renovated kitchen and walk-in pantry may not be achievable at “x” price but certainly possible at “y.” And if they’re making an offer, show them why it may not be in their best interest to try and bargain the asking price right off the bat. But instead, put their best terms forward to give them the highest chance of landing the property.

It’s been said not to get too attached to a home or show too much emotion while you’re just viewing. Quite honestly, that takes the fun out of the process, and buyers should be excited to tour property and get their hopes up on landing the home they’ve been searching for.

By setting their expectations early, agents can put their clients in a more controlled position to buy the home they love and educate them on the marketplace to make sound decisions as we move into an ultra hot spring selling season. 

Anthony West is a real estate agent, the founder of The Luxury Life KC at Moffitt Realty, and an entrepreneur in Kansas City.

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