Helping first-time buyers navigate the complexities of purchasing the perfect home is one of the most fulfilling aspects of being a real estate professional.
You are your client’s most precious resource when it comes to sourcing listings, exploring their various financing options, and negotiating the best deal. Your local expertise and market knowledge will enable you to deliver stellar customer service and get those valuable referrals.
Taking the first steps toward homeownership can be overwhelming, which can lead to your clients making unwise decisions based on emotions rather than facts. Ensure you’re guiding your inexperienced buyers to the home of their dreams with these simple strategies.
Education is Key
The most important thing you can do at the beginning of the journey is to truly listen to your client’s needs and wants — and then help them set realistic expectations.
It’s common for those who’ve never purchased a house to be totally unfamiliar with what’s available and what they can afford. A surprising number of people who decide to buy a home assume they can simply download a house-hunting app and pick one without first taking a hard look at their finances and determining their debt-to-income ratio.
Prospective clients may also feel that they’ll never be able to buy anything, unaware of today’s many programs for first-time homebuyers in Illinois and Wisconsin. There are also many mortgage products with more flexible financial requirements, such as FHA or USDA loans, and VA loans for current and former servicemembers and their spouses.
You’ll also need to prepare them for making an earnest money deposit. This move is typical in a bustling market and shows choosy sellers that your clients mean business. A higher earnest money offer can make all the difference between a pending sale and having to walk away.
Clients also need you to advise them regarding up-and-coming neighborhoods they might not be aware of. Especially in metropolitan areas like Chicagoland, Madison, and Milwaukee, hopeful homebuyers may not have any idea where the top schools are, which communities have the best amenities, or which areas have good access to public transportations and highways.
This region’s housing landscape is still quite competitive so it’s also crucial for real estate pros to let their clients know that house hunting can be a lengthy process. This is the biggest financial decision that most people make in their entire lives, and it shouldn’t be rushed. The average buyer tours over 10 homes before choosing, with some people checking out hundreds of different houses.
Talk with your clients about their long-term goals and how that affects their options. Sometimes prospective buyers aren’t quite sure what they want at all. They’re depending on you to offer sage advice and help them find their way through this complicated and chaotic process to a closing day celebration and a home that they love.
Every real estate agent knows what it’s like when a client has their heart set on a place that has serious issues, a stubborn seller, or title defects. But the lack of inventory means agents have to get creative when it comes to orchestrating a successful sale.
There’s also the dreaded “HGTV Syndrome,” to which many first-time and Millennial homebuyers are particularly susceptible.
People who watch house-flipping shows and relentlessly read Pinterest boards only see a highly edited and distilled product, where the actual investment of time and resources is distorted. This leads to unreasonably high standards and the erroneous belief that major renovations are easy and necessary.
Dealing with this syndrome is especially tricky when it comes time to submit an offer. With multiple buyers sometimes competing for the same property, your client may want to lowball the price — or worse, forgo a home inspection.
It’s vital to leverage your network on behalf of your clientele. Communicating regularly with your peers will enable you to keep your finger on the pulse of your local market so you’ll be armed with the most up-to-date information. Having a trusted contractor, landscape firm, and title company in your contacts will give clients the confidence they need to make a winning offer.
Partnering with a real estate attorney also ensures your buyers have every advantage during negotiations and closing. First-timers might not be aware of all the ways having a lawyer on your team protects their interests.
A Guiding Light
Real estate professionals love pairing clients with the ideal home, especially those who are buying property for the first time. This satisfying experience also comes with challenges, as new buyers frequently have little concept of the right way to proceed and all kinds of unrealistic expectations.
It’s up to you to be the North Star for your customers and steer them through the process of evaluating their finances, finding the right mortgage product for their needs, making the right offer, and closing successfully on their new home.
Partnering with an esteemed and locally-owned firm like Landtrust Title Services helps you deliver a seamless customer experience from start to finish — and get the glowing referrals you deserve. Contact us today to explore our resources for real estate agents and attorneys.