The buyer consultation: your best opportunity to sell a buyer on your services. According to the recently released statistics in the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report, the majority of homebuyers – 66% across all generations – interview only one agent. It’s essentially a sales pitch disguised as a free consultation.
Buyer consultations truly do benefit both real estate agents and homebuyers by clarifying the process, setting expectations and laying the foundation for a happy agent/client relationship.
Wondering which topics should you cover when you first sit down with a potential client? Point2 to the rescue! We’ve got some helpful buyer consultation tips that will help you ensure that every consultation is as productive and effective as possible:
Get to Know Each Other
Arrange an in-person meeting at their convenience to get acquainted. Although your office is usually the best place to showcase your credibility and professionalism, some buyers may have busy schedules and request to meet you at their homes or a coffee shop. Your willingness to be flexible and mobile from the start will generate a positive response from today’s youngest generation of buyers.
Ask the Right Questions
The buyer interview is possibly the most important part of the consultation. This is how you collect all the necessary information that will help you do what they want you to do… find their dream house! Here is a list of questions to ask that will get you on the right path, but feel free to add your own to suit your marketplace and niche.
- What type of home are you looking for?
- What are your location considerations?
- How many bathroom and bedrooms do you want?
- Is a yard or outdoor space important to you? How so?
- Are you interested in new construction or a home built in a certain time period?
- Are you looking for a home that is move-in ready or are repairs/remodeling OK?
- Approximately what square footage would you prefer?
- Do you want a pool? How about a fireplace?
- What price range do you want to look at?
- Are you prequalified? Would you let me to introduce you to a trusted lender?
- What are your top 5 priorities?
Empower and Inform
After the interview, take the time to walk buyers through the home buying process in your area. The NAR study above revealed that 93% of all buyers consider knowledge of the purchase process to be ‘very important’ when selecting a real estate agent. Demonstrate your awareness by sharing the steps to homeownership with them, from making their first offer all the way to closing day.
Next, explain how you will work on their behalf. Enumerate everything you will do to help them find the best house at the best price. Highlight your knowledge of the local market, experience and negotiation skills. This is your chance to demonstrate your skills so they choose you to be their agent and trusted real estate advisor.
This is also your opportunity to establish communication expectations. Ask buyers how they prefer to be contacted – text, email, phone, all of the above – and if they have any times that are off-limits for them or if they expect to be kept informed around the clock.
If you have a buyer presentation packet that compiles all of this information for buyers to refer to whenever they like (whether presented as a hard copy they can take home with them or via email), so much the better. If not, what’s stopping you from assembling one? You can also point them to the buyer resources you have compiled on your website.
Clients want to know that their concerns and priorities are being heard by their agent. Set aside time for a question and answer session during the buyer consultation. Ask them if they have any questions about the timeline, the process or your services. Make friendly eye contact while they are talking and be an active listener by repeating key questions back to them before you answer, instead of just nodding. “So you are wondering if… ? Well, I think…” This is also a great time for you to clarify any questions you may have about their needs.
Establish an Agreement
Every brokerage has a different policy on whether they request buyers to sign a buyer agreement, ensuring that the buyers will work exclusively you for the next x amount of months. If that is something your office encourages, transition seamlessly from the Q&A session to the final signature by asking, “Have I answered all of your questions? Are you ready to work together to find your dream house?” If your office does not require a signed agreement, you can still ask that very same question to affirm your relationship with a verbal agreement and a friendly handshake. Chances are – after such a stellar consultation – they will only want to work with you anyway!
Do you have any spectacular buyer consultation tips? Help your fellow agents by sharing your pointers below.
Stay tuned tomorrow for… you guessed it… Seller Consultation Tips!