Whether it’s your client’s first home, or they’ve been through this process before, every experience is different. However, top real estate agents know the core elements of what to expect during a buying process.
Determine housing needs
In order to deliver the best service to your clients and make the home buying process as enjoyable as possible, it’s important that you get to know them very well. Ask the right questions to find out their motives for buying, what they’re looking for, and what they truly need to be happy in their new home. This will not only help you find them homes to show, but it will also help you tailor your efforts to their needs and wants and create a trusting relationship.
Set a clear budget
It’s important for your clients to know their numbers. As an agent, you never want to put your client in a position of buying a home that they can’t afford and vice versa. You want to be able to show them all the options for homes that they can afford. Show them how to determine the cost of homes they can look at by accessing their financial situation and taking into consideration their current debt and bills etc. If they haven’t already, make sure they are pre-approved for a mortgage.
Begin the home search
Once all the prep work is done and you have a clear understanding of your client’s needs and expectations, let the home search begin! While seeing homes, take note of what they love and what they hate. This will help you narrow down the homes you show in hopes of finding the right home, faster. Top real estate agents say that their client will know within the first 30 seconds of entering a property if they’re interested or not. Pay attention to your clients during those critical moments. If clients are interested in a certain property, make the extra effort to do repeat tours at different times of the day so they know what the neighborhood is like at night, and they can see the lighting at peak daytime. For pre-construction homes, check the floor plans and get to know the reputation of the developer.
Use your expertise as a real estate agent to guide your clients in negotiating a fair offer that they’re happy with and is comparable to homes in the same neighborhood.
The hardest parts are over! The offer was accepted and your clients are ready to start getting excited. The home is now in escrow, the period of time it takes to complete all remaining steps in the home buying process.
It’s common for offers to be contingent on a home inspection of the property to ensure there are no signs of structural damage or to take note of things that may need fixing. As a real estate agent, you should have developed trusted contacts who you can refer to your clients to conduct the home inspection. Work with them to schedule the inspection within a few days of the offer being accepted by the seller. Keep them well informed during this process and review the inspection in person with them if possible. Explain to them the power behind the contingency and how it protects them by giving them a chance to renegotiate or withdraw their offer without penalty if the inspection finds any substantial damage. Also, review with them if there’s anything that they want to ask the seller to fix before closing. Once everything is agreed upon, you will do a walk-through with your clients as one last chance to confirm any repairs that were requested. Make sure the seller / previous owner has vacated. If you or your client does find an issue, you’ll need to bring it up to the sellers as soon as possible.
To avoid any delays, it’s extremely important to properly prepare your clients on what to bring and what to expect during closing. Remind your clients that they must bring proof of homeowners insurance, a copy of the contract, home inspection reports, government-issued photo ID
and the down payment. Make sure that you explain that a personal check will not work and it has to be a wire transfer or a cashier’s check. It’s also common for most lenders to require a title search of public property records to make sure there aren’t issues with transferring the property to your client’s name. There will be lots going on that day and lots of signatures. Set the correct expectations for your client, but also let them know that it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong like a missing document or a misspelled name. As a real estate agent, take all precautionary measures to make sure everyone is prepared and the day goes by as painless as possible.