How agents can reassure buyers in a busy market

March 29, 2018

With so much buying activity in the market these days, it's vital for agents to make sure they can keep clients happy and assured even as competition thrives. When there is a need to make multiple bids, or put in bids on more than one home just to ensure their ability to find a home is reasonably strong shoppers can run into issues, especially if they are inexperienced in the market. To that end, it's vital for agents to effectively communicate all the ins and outs of the market and what would-be buyers can expect at every turn.

One thing that? may be vital for agents to do given the tenor of today's market is ensure would-be buyers know the value of showing up to everything on time and providing quick turnarounds on all communication, according to The Balance. After all, given the demand that just about any home put up for sale typically generates, sellers hold all the power and anything that could be seen as a turn-off may lead to buyers being unable to have their offers selected.

It's a unique issue in the housing market because of how limited supply is, and anecdotally there is plenty of evidence to suggest that sellers are increasingly making buyers jump through hoops to win bids. In some hot markets, sellers are all but requiring would-be buyers to write essays about what buying the home would mean for them.

Understanding industry norms
Whether buyers are getting into the market for the first time or doing so after having already owned a home, the way the market works is changing a lot. For instance, people may not know what the proper protocol at open houses is, especially because this can vary from one market to the next. For instance, in some parts of the country, it's vital for would-be buyers to bring their agents to an open house, while in others it's perfectly fine to show up solo and browse. This is information many consumers wouldn't even think to worry about, so agents need to ensure they fully understand the issue.

Agents also need to make sure they know exactly what homes their clients want when they shop, so a meeting to really air out the topic and give everyone a better understanding of how to proceed is vital. Here, too, shoppers might have unrealistic expectations for how much home they can afford or what might be available in their local markets.

Imparting knowledge
It's also crucial for would-be buyers to speak with an agent before they even start the home shopping process, simply because they may not have a firm grasp on everything they want or what's feasible for them to pursue in the market, according to Team Davids. Even a basic understanding of what's being sought, from the size of the home to various features (including the number of bedrooms and bathrooms) to proximity to good schools or local attractions, will help agents find them the right property, or at least the right starting point.

For that reason, agents may need to be a little more proactive about communicating with potential clients through social media and other means, to help them understand where an agent's expertise comes in handy - and why - to better guide them through the process. Simply put, agents will have an intimate knowledge of the local market that even experienced buyers cannot match. As such, getting their advice before even starting on the path to homeownership can go a long way toward ensuring success.

Someone to lean on
One step that might be vital for agents is to impress upon shoppers is that while they are certainly in the driver's seat when it comes to finding the homes they want to buy, it's the agent's job to guide them through that real estate sales process, according to The Washington Post. Even relatively inexperienced agents have likely been through at least a handful of sales and can therefore provide a lot of advice and practical knowledge to ensure everything with the bidding and sales processes go as smoothly as possible.

"How often does a buyer go through the home-buying process?" real estate agent Sara Rubida told the newspaper. "Maybe two or three times in a lifetime. How many times does a good agent go through the process? Twenty or 30 times a year. Why would anyone buy a home without an agent?"

While some buyers may be concerned about the agent's commission, it's also wise for buyers' agents to let them know that commission is usually (but not always) paid by the seller. Moreover, the amount of work an agent puts into a sale may not be immediately visible to buyers as they shop and otherwise live their lives, so it's important for agents to be a little more communicative about what they're doing to facilitate the sale at every step of the process. This may help buyers understand the extent to which they're getting their money's worth.

Stress the convenience
Indeed, when buyers are perhaps getting overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work required of them in the sales process, agents can once again act as a steadying force, according to The Rivard Report. In most cases, hopeful buyers aren't in a position to fully understand all the ins and outs of the process and what is required. Indeed, a lot of the terms of forms they have to fill out can be confusing to the layperson. When agents can explain these issues in plain language and lend a hand in the process, it's likely to be a major reassurance for clients.

Real estate professionals typically provide significant value for novice homebuyers in a number of ways, but being a little more demonstrative about that value can go a long way for both shoppers and agents. For shoppers, it will help them feel assured they have someone in their corner. For agents, this kind of added communication will help build strong relationships and boost positive word of mouth, especially at a time when competition in the market is notably intense.