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Now that the U.S economy is on track for the strongest annual job growth since the late 1990’s and housing markets across the country are seeing significant recoveries in home prices, Millennials are finally making a big push towards homeownership. For most, this will be their first experience with buying a home and they will be relying on your for guidance through the entire process.

While discussing financing options and recommending home inspections will be valuable, there are a few small pieces of advice that tend to get overlooked when it comes to dealing with these “first timers.” Here are 4 simple tips that you can share with first time buyers to simplify the buying process and to ensure they find the right home!

1. Plan Ahead

One of the most important parts of planning ahead is formulating an exit strategy that will allow your clients to maximize their investment in the home. They will want to consider factors such as school districts, demographics of the neighborhood or any new developments that may be occurring in the area, as they will all affect how attractive their home will be to those buyers or renters of the property in the future. Ask them what their plans are at the very beginning, it will allow you to show them properties that will match their long-term goals.

2. Make a list of “must haves”

When most people begin searching for a home, they already have certain criteria that a property must meet in order for them to even consider purchasing it. But after tirelessly visiting properties for months and with so many other things to consider when purchasing a home, first time buyers can lose sight of these priorities.

Although you want to make it to closing as quickly as possible, it’s important that your clients find a home that they are truly satisfied with.  With this in mind, recommend that they create a checklist of “must haves” and bring it with them to each showing. This will keep them from jumping on a property solely because it has a good listing price and will ensure that they choose a home that’s perfect for them and includes everything they are looking for.

3. Budget for more than what meets the eye

After years of experience in real estate, you know better than anyone that there are far more expenses to budget for than just the costs associated with the purchase of a home. Unfortunately, first time homebuyers are usually “in the dark” when it comes to understanding this.

Costs of commuting, utilities, property taxes and so on can really add up and may hinder their ability to afford the property they are interested in. Help them out here by providing a list of expenses that you feel tend to be overlooked by first time buyers or a resource like the Home Buying Guide from Homes.com that highlights just about anything they can expect during the home buying process. This will not only show your expertise, but it will also show that you have their best interests in mind and will help create a better relationship with these clients in the long run.

4. Clarify the contract

So they’ve found the right home and have made an offer, the seller has agreed to the price and you’re finally making the move to closing. First time buyers will undoubtedly be ready to complete the process as soon as they can and finally move into their new home, but it’s important that they understand all of the terms and conditions included in the contract.

This serves as another opportunity for you to show off your expertise by educating them on everything that goes into a closing contract. Odds are that a lot of the information will be a little overwhelming or downright confusing, so be sure that you explain it in a way that will put their minds at ease. Remember that personal recommendations are one of the top ways that buyers and sellers are finding a real estate professional to work with. By making the closing process as carefree as possible for your current clients, they’ll feel more comfortable with recommending you to their friends and family.

Looking for even more ways to provide value to your clients? Check out the Homes.com’s library of FREE learning resources that includes everything from a Mortgage Checklist for first-time buyers to entertainment guides that will help them enjoy their home even more!