With the housing market seeing significant recoveries in home prices, Millennials are finally making a move toward homeownership. For many, this will be their first homebuying experience, so they’ll be turning to real estate agents for guidance and support.
While it is vital to discuss topics such as financial obligations and home inspections with first-time home buyers, there are other aspects of the homebuying experience that are easily overlooked. Here are four tips for new, first-time buyers to help simplify the buying process and ensure they find their perfect home.
Learn their Must Haves and Have Nots
When most people begin searching for a home, they already have a list of criteria that a home must meet in order for them to even consider it. However, after tirelessly visiting property after property, first-time buyers can begin to lose sight of these priorities. While you want to make it to closing as quickly as possible, all agents know it’s important that your clients find a home that they’re truly satisfied with.
Instead of only having a mental idea of what they want, ask clients to create a physical checklist of their must haves and have nots. While many may already have their wants organized, push them to also consider their list of deal breakers. Armed with their priorities, it will be easier for your clients to pick a home because they love it and not solely because it has a good listing price. While we all know sacrifice may be necessary, by prioritizing their needs, your clients will be better able to make a tough decision if needed.
One of the most important parts of a home search is planning ahead. If prospective buyers don’t know what they’re looking for in a home, they won’t be able to make any decisions. Because of this, it’s key to talk with your clients and figure out their must-haves. Remind them that they should be thinking about more than just their desired square footage and number of bedrooms. While these facets are important, buyers should also consider wider characteristics of the home, such as school districts, demographics of the neighborhood and any new developments than may occur within the area. These will affect how attractive their home will be to buyers in the future. Asking them their plans at the very beginning will allow you to show them properties that will match both their short and long-term goals.
Budget for the Future
After years as a real estate agent, you know that there are more expenses to budget for than just the listing price of a home. Unfortunately, most first-time buyers are unaware of this. While they may have fallen in love with a property that seems to be in their budget, property taxes, HOA fees and commuting costs could push it out of what they can afford. To help avoid this from the beginning, provide a list of additional expenses you feel they might overlook. Homes.com also provides a customizable first-time buyer’s resource to help clients learn even more before their first homebuying experience. This can help you show your expertise as an agent, while also allowing you to create a better relationship with your client.
Clarify the Contract
You’ve helped your clients find the perfect home and they’ve made an offer. The seller agreed on the price and you’re ready to close. First-time buyers will surely be anxious to complete the final process as soon as possible so they can move into their new home. However, remind them that it’s important to understand all of the terms and conditions set forth in their contract.
This is another great opportunity for you to shine as an agent, especially because navigating tedious contracts will be completely foreign to most home buyers. Most likely, the agreement will be a little overwhelming or even downright confusing to them. Be sure to explain their contract in a way that will put their minds at ease and help them feel satisfied and settled with their decision. By making the closing process as stress free as possible, it’s likely that clients will feel comfortable recommending you to friends and family who may be looking for an agent in the future.
The first step in helping these first-time buyers is making sure they can find you in their search for an agent. Homes.com’s Local Connect gives you the ability to target consumers during the initial stages in their home-search process. With 90 percent of Homes.com visitors actively searching for their next home and 80 percent not yet working with a real estate professional, Local Connect positions you prominently in front of transaction-ready consumers in your target zip code, showcasing your photo or logo, phone number and endorsements.
By Joe Sesso, National Speaker for Homes.com
For more information, visit connect.homes.com.