Because there are so many buyers now entering the market, it's vital for real estate professionals to be prepared for dealing with people who may not always be aware of how to proceed. There's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest consumers don't always know how to navigate the mortgage process, or that they're unsure what actually constitutes an affordable deal in today's white-hot seller's market. That's where agents can be invaluable in the real estate sales process.
Whether they're first-time buyers or people re-entering the market for other reasons, most shoppers have probably never seen anything like today's conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors. To that end, it's vital for agents and clients to keep lines of communication as open and honest as possible, so everyone knows what to expect when offers are accepted, and how to proceed when bidding wars crop up.
What to do?
One of the biggest issues buyers often face in today's market - where heated competition for just about any attractive home is going to be the norm - is buyers must know what's reasonable to offer, and what to do as they move through the sales process. To that end, agents should always err on the side of caution when it comes to keeping offers "low but not too low." Indeed, hopeful bidders will want to keep in mind that with so many other people potentially interested, offers have to be at least reasonably competitive, and that's where an agent's advice is crucial.
"We do this every day," Lisa Cahill, an experienced real estate agent in St. Petersburg, Florida, told the NAR. "We know what a house is worth."
Along similar lines, agents may be wise to also encourage clients to be direct in communicating. Calls are often preferable to texts for answering questions as quickly and easily as possible and ensuring everyone understands what may come next.
The best advice
Along similar lines, agents should have plenty of resources available to their clients that will help them understand their own role in making the buying situation go as smoothly as they can, according to the Lenders Network. For instance, advice on getting a mortgage pre-approved, or how to adequately prepare their credit or other finances for the mortgage process, could go a long way toward ensuring they get the best possible deal they can.
Similarly, helping people understand how the mortgage and buying processes will typically work given today's conditions - including that buyers shouldn't expect to have their bids accepted on the first properties they want to purchase. That may also include education about what affordability actually means given the way both rates and prices have been on the rise for several months or more.
Generally speaking, agents are the experts, and while there has to be some give and take when it comes to dealing with buyers, doing as much as possible to highlight their expertise and experience in the industry will help would-be buyers understand what they're getting into.
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