Communicating the home buying process to clients in a way that is easily understandable – especially if this is their first time – can be difficult… trust us, we deal with it as well.
“FHA,” “comps,” “under contract”
Words and phrases like these are so familiar to us that we often forget it’s because we deal with them daily.
For a first-time homebuyer, you may as well be speaking a different language. That can lead to real problems, such as a less-confident buyer that is hesitant to move forward because they don’t fully understand the process. The longer it takes for them to feel ready to buy, the longer it takes for you to make your money, that is, if they even go through with the deal at all.
Keep these three things in mind when talking with clients:
1) Don’t assume they know what you’re talking about
You know what they say about assuming…
When getting a little technical, allow your client time to digest and understand what you’re talking about. Be conscious of the words you are using and further clarify where there could be any confusion. For example, instead of just saying “comps,” elaborate and explain that a comp is a comparable home to the one they are looking at that has similar characteristics and that will be used as a reference in the appraisal process.
From there, explain what an appraisal does/means and how it affects the process.
You get the idea…
You never want clients searching on Google trying to figure things out on their own. You are the industry leader, and they should be able to look to you for support.
2) Talk to them about what they’re interested in, not what you are
Imagine walking through an electronics store shopping for a new T.V., and a salesperson stops you. When you ask him about T.V.s, they start trying to instead sell you on a new computer with a 2.3 GHz processor, 16 GB memory and 4k-display monitor. Sure, it sounds cool, but you’ve already tuned them out because that’s not what you’re looking for.
It’s the same in real estate – most buyers have a rough idea of what they’re looking for, and they fixate on those things. If they’re interested in a 2-bedroom ranch, they’ll tune you out if you show them a 5-bedroom colonial (doubtful you would do this anyways)– even if the colonial is a great deal because the owners are looking to sell fast.
A huge part of being able to communicate effectively with your clients is to see the process through their eyes. For many, this is a new experience, and they want to feel that their needs and desires are being heard.
3) Be proactive in explaining things that will happen later in the process
Often, a main reason that a deal falls through is because something popped up during the process that the client was not made aware of ahead of time… and it gave them cold feet.
An example of this would be during the inspection. When buyers get an inspection, they often find things out about the home they weren’t aware of before. If the buyer was not properly educated about what an inspection entails and its purpose, then the report could cause some (in most cases) unnecessary stress and potentially cause the deal to fall through.
In this instance, tell the client ahead of time that the inspector is going to find issues…and that’s OK! Their job is to point out imperfections in the house and report those back to the client. In fact, position it as a positive. With such a large purchase in someone’s life, wouldn’t you want to understand the full picture of what you’re buying, too?
Follow that up with the reassurance that no matter what the report comes back with, you will be leading the charge to adjust the contract accordingly.
The same can be said in regard to “buyer’s remorse.” It’s something everyone goes through, and you should remind the buyer that that is also OK! Explain that it’s your job to do what’s best for your client, and you wouldn’t lead them astray.
While each client may be different, many will have similar questions and concerns throughout the process. Being able to communicate with them effectively ensures that they feel more confident, and will look to you as their agent for not just one transaction, but for the long run.