Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Brandon Lee, the co-founder/chief revenue officer of Planwise, for his tips on how to receive more enthusiastic buyers in 2015.
I have the opportunity to speak with homebuyers all over the U.S. and Canada to ask them questions about their experiences with Realtors and lenders, with the goal of helping you serve your clients better. Here are just a few of the things that I’ve learned about buyers and how you can serve them best in 2015.
6. Set and Manage Expectations – Buyers are emotional. Buyers are anxious. Buyers know they are emotional and anxious. When I talk with buyers after their purchase is completed, those who were frustrated with their Realtor tended to say that it was a result of unmet expectations. One particular buyer told me, “I guess [the process] would have been okay if I just knew that was how she was going to work with us.” This buyer said she would NOT recommend her agent to friends and family because her overall feeling about the process was not satisfactory.
However, when I asked about her home and her satisfaction with it, she was thrilled. She felt as if she and her husband found the right house for their family in the right part of town. They were relocation clients, so a lot of things could have been challenging, but she focused on feeling unimportant to her agent because her expectations about how the agent would serve them were unmet.
5. Set and Manage Mortgage Expectations – Nearly every buyer I’ve spoken with this month has said they were not expecting the loan process to be so difficult. As a lender, you know from the beginning that the loan process will be challenging, even when buyers have optimal credit and sufficient down payments. Prepare them in advance for the flurry of papers, signatures and requests for additional documentation that takes place the last few days before closing. It’s just part of the process. You know that. They DON’T know this.
4. Tell Them What They Are Missing – Buyers are aware they focus on the same thing repeatedly, instead of asking the hundreds of other questions they should be. Remind them of any oversights. A recent buyer I interviewed shared that she appreciated her agent’s continual reminders about commuting horrors near each home she “loved,” because the agent knew was aware that she drove her children back and forth to school.
As their Realtor, you have the pleasure of not being emotional about their purchase. You can help them answer all the right questions that will affect how much they enjoy living in their home, not just buying it.
3. Give them tools and guidance for their online searches – Homebuyers are emotional, specifically first-time homebuyers. Young buyers don’t think they need a Realtor. They think if they search enough on the right sites, they’ll eventually find the exact home they want.
It’s unrealistic to think that homebuyers won’t go to 20 different websites looking for homes. While they may know the link from your MLS contains all the current homes available in their market, their hearts tell them their dream home is still out there, and with determination they’ll try to find it. Be on their side in that pursuit. They want to feel empowered by you to do to their own searching. Let them do it. Encourage them to do it. Give them tools to help them do it better.
2. Champion Them – I repeatedly hear this phrase from satisfied buyers: “I wanted to know that my agent had my back.” When buyers felt that their agent was their champion when it came to the seller, the seller’s agent, the inspector and the lenders, they were 100 percent ready to refer that agent. My observation is that women tended to say this more often and felt more strongly about it. It was an all-important aspect to their satisfaction level with their agent and their buying experience.
1. Over Communicate! – I know you’re busy. They know you’re busy. They also know that they are nervous and about to make a major financial decision, with you acting as the expert on their behalf. They want you by their side. Stay constantly connected to them. Ask them if text, email or phone calls work best for them, and then deliver. Even when you don’t have any information for them yet, let them know what you’ve done and who you’re waiting on in order for them to get closer to their home closing.
What is your best tip to Realtors for serving clients in 2015? Please share what you think buyers’ biggest expectations are on Realtors and loan officers.
Brandon is an industry veteran who has built several companies that have served Realtors, lenders and insurance agents throughout North America. He is an active investor and entrepreneur who has a passion for the real estate space. Brandon is currently a co-founder and chief revenue officer for Planwise, the company responsible for PlanwiseConnect, a branded and portable mortgage calculator and communication tool that allows homebuyers to search for homes on any website and stay continually connected to their Realtor and lender.