As most agents know it is quite easy to be burned by prospective home buyers if you do not qualify them from the very beginning. The next time you get that call to show houses be prepared to set up for success – for you and them!
Here are 5 steps to help you tell the difference between qualified home buyers and time wasters:
1. Make a Pre-approval Letter a must. – It is imperative for any buyer to have a pre-approval letter before they ever step foot in your car. If they do not have a mortgage broker in mind, set them up with one. Make sure you have a verification of funds up to what amount they are approved to borrow. This is also a good time to explain the deposit check or “hand money,” like how much they will need and how it works.
2. Determine your home buyers expectations. Early on, spend time developing a relationship between you and the buyer – find out what they expect from you and exactly what they are looking for in a home. The better working relationship you have, the more likely they will be to stick with you!
3. Make your expectations known. Ask the buyers to sign a commitment form. Just explain that you require a signed agreement from all buyers before you work with them. Outline your commitment, your expectations and include just what you expect from them. This way, they know what to expect during the home buying process. After all, no real estate agent likes to work for free!
4. Show your local expertise right away. Before you begin the home search, present the market data and trends for the local area they are searching in. This will establish you as a local expert on housing trends, prices, neighborhoods, schools and more. After all, you are more knowledgeable than their friends who are probably giving them real estate advice. Show the buyers the MLS and how you will search for homes for them, including all of the criteria that they have to choose from in their customized search. Set up an auto feed so that they can start receiving automatic listings with this criteria right away.
5. Develop a “Buyer’s Guide” for new home buyers. Create an informational sheet that explains how to deal with open houses such as, immediately claiming you as their agent when they introduce themselves to an open house agent. Include action items for getting started, obtaining a loan and making an offer. This way, the buyers will understand the process and what they will be expected to do. Give them a complete set of contract documents so that they can look them over before they even make an offer. You can even include a list of preferred home inspectors that will start their research process.
Now is the time to get started! By following these 5 simple steps you will ensure that your new clients are prepared, qualified and not to mention, happy. Don’t forget, happy clients will refer you to their network of family and friends. But most importantly you will not be wasting your time showing 30 houses to a buyer who is not really ready to buy!