Real estate agents are some of the hardest-working professionals out there. The combination of communications, sales, presenting, marketing, management and a grueling scheduling makes it clear it is not for the faint of heart. However, when it comes to home buyers, are you doing the bare min? Instead of relying on just the MLS, do a few things to help make the process smoother and secure a future referral to boot.
Interview Your Client
Interviewing your client is one of the single most important things that you can do to help a client who is searching for a new home. You might not cover everything in one sitting, but some basic questions to ask your clients when you first talk with them include:
- Reason for buying a new home
- Changes in life situation
- Neighborhood amenities and location (i.e. distance from work, type, transitional, etc.)
- Previous research performed on areas or homes and any examples of what they like
You might find that, as you discuss with your clients their wants and needs, they will open up with even more information to help you provide listings to their liking. This will significantly cut down on their time and yours.
Have Some Face Time
You can read a lot from someone’s expressions and gestures. The best way to capture these non-verbal cues is through an in-person meeting with your clients. Buying a home is an intimidating process for many, especially new home buyers, so they may not know what they like exactly or even know what’s out there.
Meeting together in a comfortable setting allows you to read a client more thoroughly than a phone call or email can do. In addition, they’ll likely open up more as you put them at ease throughout the conversation.
Prepare Something Tangible with Every Call or Meeting
Bringing something that your clients can use is a great way to keep the conversation – and the process – moving. When you send an email from someone, for example, requesting information, don’t you find the back-and-forth before you actually receive what you asked for a little irksome?
Same goes for the buying process. The more that you can have, whether requested or not, to meet the needs or future questions your clients may have, the more quickly you can move them toward finding what they like.
Many of you may say, “Either way, the client is going to drag his or her feet!” While that may be so, it’s better to err on their being focused on finding their dream home and be prepared for it.
One example is having a map with neighborhoods that your client may not have considered. Most people feel that they know the lay of the land in their city, but you’d be surprised how many don’t know about certain pockets or about what is up and coming. Having more than just comps and listings to show will show them that you are doing your homework.
Review Needs and Desires Midway
How many of you have ever encountered a client that, a few weeks into the process, seems to have a completely different set of criteria for their homes? This happens more often than not and is always frustrating. However, as someone involved in one of the most important purchases and life-changing moments in people’s lives, you should always remember that a little patience and understanding goes a long way.
This is where a temp check or review of your client’s needs and desires is important. If you’re not a mindreader (wouldn’t that be nice?!), then you’d do well for your own sake to make sure that all of your efforts are not for nothing.