Clients count on their real estate agents as a resource for the homebuying process, and Christine Groves explains the 8 top ways to be the best resource.
When consumers have an infinite amount of real estate professionals to choose from, you have to be able to set yourself apart from the rest. One very important way is to be a real estate resource that provides clients with help and quality recommendations the whole way.
It can “take a village” to make a successful real estate deal, and utilizing the services of resources you can trust to support that success is key. Who do you want to be on your team?
1. Mortgage Broker – We are all contacted by numerous mortgage lenders and brokers hoping we will send our clients their way. My criteria in choosing a provider that I will entrust with my client is: offers multiple lenders and diverse programs that can accommodate even my most complicated borrowers; efficient processing and underwriting that provides loan commitment one to two weeks prior to closing (no last-minute big lenders that are too busy to look at a file); above and beyond customer service; competitive interest rates and lock programs; and timely funding for closing.
2. Real Estate Attorney – An attorney MUST specialize in real estate. With all the potential legal issues that can arise, an experienced attorney can make or break a transaction. An attorney must have experience with short sales, foreclosures, court-approved sales, investors, leasing, local governance and other complicated scenarios. Communication is vital with all parties, and attention to deadlines is absolute.
3. Home Inspector – An experienced home inspector has to have a good balance between identifying potential issues with a home’s condition and avoiding the “alarmist” attitude. Whether it kills a deal or not, I expect my clients to get a thorough inspection and introduction to their potential home so they can make an educated decision on whether to proceed with their purchase. An inspector should work well with clients explaining in understandable terms what is good and what needs work. I am turned off by inspectors that either don’t wish to take the time to guide a homebuyer or that overwhelm a homebuyer unnecessarily. Also, you should expect inspection reports to be thorough and timely.
4. Environmental Contractors – Specialists in testing, mitigation and remediation of radon, mold, lead, asbestos, soil, well and septic, water and air quality should also be in your repertoire of recommendations. These contractors may become your greatest asset in the success and satisfaction of a deal. Their knowledge, timeliness and customer service are vital. Those issues can be scary for all parties, and their commitment to the best possible resolution is what sets them apart.
5. Trade Contractors – Every agent gets requests for local painters, handymen, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, engineers and architects, roofers and exterior, landscapers, flooring, remodelers, designers, furnishings and much more. NEVER use the Yellow Pages as a resource. You must have referrals that you have had previous positive experience with or recommendations from trusted colleagues.
6. Homeowner Insurance – With so many insurance companies to choose from, your clients may be best suited to use their current insurer to “bundle” policies for the greatest discounts. However, not all insurance companies will offer more complicated policies for vacant homes, investors, land, vacation homes, historic homes, etc. A full-service, competitive insurer is a great recommendation.
7. Community Information – School ratings, taxation, utilities, municipalities, park districts, crime statistics, emergency services, health care providers, community groups, public transportation, libraries, shopping, etc. are always useful to homebuyers. Be their “welcome wagon”!
8. YOU – In addition to trusted referrals for your clients, YOU and your experience should be their greatest resource. Besides the usual listing, marketing, home search and transaction coordination that a real estate agent does, we need to be our client’s point of contact for current market information, area expertise, home improvement and staging recommendations, strategic pricing and offer negotiation and (let’s face it) “babysitting the deal” to have the best chance at a successful closing. I even go so far as to do my own professional photography so that I can make certain we present the best vision for a home sale. If you show your worth, then your client won’t want to imagine a deal without utilizing a real estate professional.
Recommendations to your clients are just recommendations. We must also encourage clients to do their own due diligence with what resources they choose and to explore multiple options.
She can be reached at 630.346.3272 or Christine.Groves@CBexchange.com.