You may need to bring tissues to your next client meeting, because it’s hard out there for buyers. Home buying in today’s market is making half of Americans cry, and you’ve likely seen this firsthand with your clients.
Many of today’s buyers are discouraged. So we asked a couple of real estate industry experts for tips on how to help your clients stay hopeful on their search for their dream home:
Buying a home is stressful even under the best circumstances. But now, many of today’s buyers are feeling deflated by constantly losing out to all-cash offers or getting outpriced. “It’s a numbers game, and creating the right expectations matters,” Jared James said, founder of Jared James Today and Listing Alert Advisory Board Member. “Let your buyers know that they need to put their best foot forward each and every time, and now is not the time for bargain hunting or ‘giving it a try’ with a less than highest and best offer.”
Yet remind your clients that sometimes, even the best isn’t enough. “But even when giving your best offer, it will only be accepted about one out of 4 or 5 times,” James said. “Let your clients know to not fall in love with a house until it is officially theirs.”
Help them learn from each loss, and use that experience to make them stronger when going into their next offer. You can also encourage your buyers by having them broaden their territory or even explore ‘stale’ listings that might be secret gems.
Know what they want, know what they don’t
It’s important to go into the search knowing what your buyers want in a home. It’s just as important to know what your buyer’s non-negotiables are. You don’t want to waste their time (or yours) showing them homes with features that are a big no for them. Attend home showings with your buyers, even if they’re looking at new constructions. This way, you can be their personal expert on whether the home is a fit for them or not.
When you do find a home that’s right for them, the same advice applies to the closing process. “I like to go over the contract with my clients before we ever find a house,” said Sandra Wilkinson, Century 21 Sales Manager and Listing Alert Advisory Board Member. “I send them a sample and we talk about how we can be aggressive and what terms are important to them.”
Go beyond the big sites
Today’s buyers are on Realtor and Zillow, but you can go beyond the major sites with Listing Alert. Since Listing Alert instantly notifies agents when a new home is about to the market, your client will have the advantage of seeing properties that the other big sites won’t have available yet. “Why wouldn’t a brokerage take advantage of a tool that allows their agents to have access to a proprietary list of homes that nobody outside of their brokerage has access to?” James said of Listing Alert’s benefits. “It’s a no-brainer.”
Show low so they can offer more
Have full transparency with your buyers on what their budget is. You don’t want them to put in an offer on a house they can’t actually afford and will regret buying later. Know exactly how much they want to spend, and then show them properties that are listed lower than their budget. Doing this will allow your buyer to make their max offer on the home.
Create an offer as good as cash
It can be hard to compete with cash offers, which are more likely to go under contract up to seven times faster than others. But coming in with an underwritten loan can make your buyer’s offer as good as cash. When buyers have already gone through pre-qualifications from their lender, it erases doubt in the seller’s mind that they will be able to afford their home. Here are more ways to compete with cash offers.
Stand out and act fast
“The dynamics of closing on a home from a few years ago is definitely a faster pace,” Wilkinson said. “I remember when you could show three homes to a buyer and they could go home, sleep on it and in a few days write an offer. Not now.”
Prepare your buyers to be ready to make an offer on the same day. Agents should also include a video when sending their offers. “The buyer’s agent should shoot a video introducing themselves and their clients explaining their offer in detail, and make sure to let the listing agent know to reach out if they have any questions or want something changed,” James advised. “Video can take a very robotic and mundane process and humanize it just enough to help you stand out.”
Soon enough, everyone will be all smiles.