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 Julie Martin, a Realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty in the North Atlanta suburbs, for her tips on prepping first-time homebuyers for their home purchase.
In today’s market, how do you prepare excited and anxious first time home buyers for their initial home purchase?
5. Pre-Qualify: The most important step in the process is to get your buyers pre-qualified with a lender. With current low inventory levels, you need to be prepared to write an offer quickly. In a multiple offer situation, you client will not have a prayer without one. You also need know exactly what your client’s limitations are. It is no fun to show someone homes they cannot afford. You will never dial them back.
4. Prioritize: One of my favorite tips is to have your new home buyers narrow down their list of ‘must haves’ and then put them in order by priority. You will not find every item on the list in a home, but finding the top 3 out of 5 is pretty darn good. It is also valuable to understand why those items are important. For example, a finished basement may be significant for out of town visitors or family. But maybe a third story finished attic space would serve the same purpose and give you more options.
3. Focus: Focus your buyers on the items they cannot change in a home. Often, you will find a home in their price range, in the perfect location, with a fantastic floor plan, but your client is turned off by décor or deferred yard maintenance. Paint and weeds are easily remedied.
2. Plan: There is so much excitement when buying your first home you fail to plan your exit strategy. Always keep your eye on the resale value. Rarely is your first home your forever home. Your family will grow, jobs will change, etc. So while the synthetic stucco home on a flood plain next to a busy road for a screaming deal is perfect for you right now, will it have global buyer appeal when it is time to move?
1. Over communicate: They are FIRST time home buyer’s! Do not assume that they understand the contracts or what Due Diligence means. They will not know what typically conveys with a home. Provide them a list of key dates. Help them understand all of the costs – inspections, appraisals, closing costs. Walk them through a HUD statement. Check in regularly.
Take care of your first time home buyers! It may be a little extra work, but they will be eternally grateful for your time and attention. You will be referred to their friends and relatives and these buyers will move again.
Julie Martin is a Realtor with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty in the North Atlanta suburbs. Originally from North Carolina, Julie experienced multiple relocations while working for Nabisco and Kraft Foods, along with homeownership in the Carolinas, Tennessee, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and California. Her travels presented her a with a unique opportunity to develop a well-rounded knowledge of real estate and a genuine appreciation of being a homeowner. She and her family are active members of Birmingham United Methodist Church, as well as White Columns and Atlanta National Country Club members and the Manor Golf & Country Club.