How Good Is Your Process For Working with Home Buyers?

— Michele Watson

May has arrived, and we’re in the middle of the 2019 peak home buying season. Buyers have shaken off the winter doldrums and are looking for that new home they can move into before the next school year. Early metrics from the Mortgage Bankers Association show this year’s spring season has promise:

  • Purchase applications were up year-over-year through mid-March
  • Average loan size continues to increase
  • Inventory is high for ‘move-up’ and higher-end buyers

Navigating the buying process can be challenging for customers, even those with home-buying experience. A professional real estate agent can bring a tremendous amount of value to the process by providing good counsel and resources that will ease buyers through the complexities of choosing a neighborhood and buying a home. Their expertise will help home buyers have confidence in their partnership with your brokerage as well.  Question is: do they have a process to work from to ensure a positive experience?

Having a Process to Set Expectations Is Key

Buyers typically do not have an understanding of how the process works going in. A successful and satisfying home buying experience for the customer needs to start with an explanation of just that. When your agents outline the steps a buyer needs to take when purchasing a home, it can avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary frustration (on both sides).  Buyers will understand:

  • What to expect throughout their home-buying journey
  • Key actions and decisions they’ll need to address
  • Critical deadlines and dates
  • Introductions to proven, reputable professionals they’ll need to engage with
  • Realistic understanding of costs associated with their purchase

It’s equally as important to have a detailed conversation with them about their move, what their goals are and define what they are looking for in a new home in terms of cost and features. This will help align realistic expectations and avoid wasted time searching for something that isn’t attainable. Taking time to go through this extra step ensures a more streamlined experience for both the customer and the agent and will help ensure both sides are on the same page. Your team’s support will ensure customers invest their time, energy, and money in finding the right home.

At Weichert, we coach our associates and brokerages on the importance of this step in delivering a positive customer experience and provide the sales tools to help walk customers through these conversations, such as our Buyers’ Consultation Guide and Buyer/Seller Guide.

In addition, is a fantastic tool for buyers both before they meet with you and once they make contact. The Weichert online resource center for consumers includes:

  • A home buyer’s guide that outlines critical steps in the home buying experience, such as:
    • assessing how much a buyer can afford to spend
    • the offer and appraisal process
    • what to expect when working with a Weichert sales associate
    • the value of mortgage pre-approval
    • home search tips
    • finding the right financing
    • the closing process
  • A home buying checklist with the essential ‘to-dos’ for buyers.
  • A home buying wish list to support buyers as they frame their thoughts about what they want and need from their new home.
  • A house-hunting checklist and a home condition checklist that buyers can use during their search to help them objectively evaluate each prospective home on their most important criteria.
  • An online mortgage calculator to show buyers the financial implications of their purchase offers.
  • A closing checklist that explains the process and identifies the necessary paperwork for the closing meeting.

The resource center also has useful information that helps address questions about topics such as:

  • Home warranties
  • PMI
  • Escrow
  • Title insurance

First-time buyers face unique challenges like finding funds for a down payment, understanding the costs of home ownership, and deciding whether a starter home will meet their needs. Weichert developed a first-time home buyer guide that your team can use to assist these customers.

How A System and Resources Help Customers Bond with your Agents

Having organized, cohesive, well-thought out resources to share will help your agent team engage more effectively with clients and help them provide a higher level of service:

  • Checklists keep buyers organized and more confident about their ability to be successful. And by giving them these tools, you are the one who made them feel that way.
  • When buyers have more knowledge and tools, they proceed through the process more intelligently, and can better appreciate the expertise and service of a good real estate team.
  • Giving buyers tangible touch-points keeps the process moving forward and minimizes the opportunity for tasks to ‘fall through the cracks.’
  • Many of the printed resources you leave buyers may outlive this transaction and remind homeowners years from now of the excellent service your agents, and your brokerage, provided.

Building a strong relationship with buyers and sellers may seem like real estate 101, but the tools and tactics for doing it require disciplined and consistent action, or a proven process. If you are interested in finding out more about how Weichert support helps affiliates build connections with home buyers call us today at 877-567-3350 or contact our team.

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