Want to get into the business of helping people with taking their initial steps towards gaining stability in life?
Want to help them buy the perfect house that they can call a home?
There are many beginners of the game that are too scared to step into the field because of never having owned a home. In fact, many experienced real estate agents sail in the same boat. Their general response is- “Until recently, I wasn’t a homeowner. I hadn’t experienced the process of searching for a home, deciding on a fair offer or wading through lengthy, wordy home inspection reports for myself.”
However, the heartening fact is that this has never stopped any of them from helping plenty of clients navigate the process as a trusted adviser in their respective real estate career. After all, their job as a real estate agent is to find ready, willing and able buyers and sellers and help them achieve their real estate goals.
So how do you successfully sell a home to others or help buyers find the perfect place when you haven’t been in their shoes yourself? What do you do when you can’t relate on a personal level?
There is no need to lose sleep worrying about such questions. It’s actually pretty easy because the fact is that it isn’t about you at all.
It’s all about the clients!
The key to successfully guiding others through the process is realizing that, at the end of the day, you aren’t really selling or buying houses at all. You’re helping someone achieve his or her dream, the idea of home - a concept that means different things to different people. You don’t have to own a home, or necessarily even want to own a home, to understand this and successfully build a business accordingly.
All clients want the same thing: a safe, comfortable place to call home. Sometimes it’s a house, others a condo or co-op. Home isn’t so much about the four walls you live in — it’s about the life you build inside those walls.
For some it’s an important mile stone in the journey to be self-sufficient while for others it is the dream of having the white picketed fence within which they can enjoy the serenity of settling down with their families.
So, following are the few things that if kept in mind allows you to empathise with your clients in a way that leads to the most efficient and effective delivery of what you promise.
1. Understand what’s important to your clients
When you do that, it’s easy to help them. You don’t have to like what they like or believe what they believe, you just have to listen and help them navigate the steps toward achieving their home ownership goals.
The easiest way to do that is to sit with them for what is commonly known as a buyer consultation and get to know them on a personal level. Find out what their dream home looks like. Learn what’s non-negotiable on their wish list or key to their lifestyle and needs. In the end, be resourceful and without judging try to help them by providing them with various options to optimize their wants in terms of things like cost, quality etc.
2. Consider that for some clients, buying a home is a strategic decision
Many people feel that buying a home is the best return on a very large investment. They believe that a home purchase is a very important step in their future financial well being and that buying property will provide stability and financial gains down the road. It is all based on the over rated confidence against the collapse of the housing market.
As an agent, understand that it does not matter if you agree. What matters is that you understand the driving force behind their home purchase, and then use that information to help your clients achieve their goals. Now this does not mean that you have to manipulate into making them into making a sale. This can hurt your business in the long term. What it means is to put in the required amount of work to figure out the most suitable product that delivers 90 percent of what your clients want if not 100.
3. Know the local market
Even if you haven’t owned a home, you are plugged into the best sources ever. As a real estate agent, you are a part of the broker community. This offers a whole lot of expertise and nuances of the market that can only be known to a few people. This is a privilege that you shouldn’t underestimate as cultivating the same allows you to use this expertise to help your clients make the best decision for what they ultimately want and need.
Hence, it is up to you to interpret local market trends and provide helpful guidance that will serve both your client and you in the best possible way.
4. Have the money talk
Introduce a mortgage broker to the conversation early on to help determine what a client’s financials look like:
- How much he or she can qualify for?
- What programs are available?
- How much money is on-hand for a down payment and repairs?
Going into the process with clear expectations on the financial front ensures the client is looking at properties in his or her price range and maintaining realistic expectations. There’s nothing more devastating than falling in love with something you can’t make work within your budget, and our job is to help our clients focus on what they can afford to ensure that never happens. This also helps establish a certain credibility and trust that can really go a long way as far as customer retention and referrals are concerned.
5. Share the ins and outs of local life
This is the fun stuff. Introduce them to the local lifestyle. When your clients tell you that they want to sample the local music scene, it’s your job to point them in the right direction.
Do they have dogs? Tell them where the local dog park is and where the doggie boutique can be found. Know where the restaurants are or where the banks, schools, day-cares, hospitals and grocery stores can be found? These are the details that can help a buyer really begin to envision life in a new home (and help you close the deal).
Helping someone find a home is all about local market knowledge, listening to your clients and navigating the process on their behalf. Even if you haven’t personally had the experience of buying a home, arming yourself with the necessary information (and always asking the right questions) will go a long way toward a successful home buying experience for both you and your clients!
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