Establishing a solid home-buying wish list early in the process will increase the chances for a seamless home search.
Though a homebuyer's budget, along with market inventory and demand, will impact how difficult their home search will be, your ability to help guide a client toward a home that meets their needs will make it easier to get to the closing table.
If you're working with a client who's struggling with homebuyer indecision, try these tips to help them find a home that's a perfect fit.
Get to know your buyer's personality
When you have a sense of your client's communication style, you're better positioned to proactively minimize the potential for indecision, says David Lenoir, a real estate agent in the Boston area. He says buyers typically fall into one of these four communication styles:
- Analysts: These buyers like data and want a step-by-step buying process, although they can be susceptible to analysis paralysis. Lenoir says to present data-based information in a way they can easily absorb, such as tables, charts or statistics, but without overwhelming them. "They may have a hard time during home inspections or deciding which house to put an offer on," he adds.
- Drivers: These buyers are typically decisive and goal-oriented. At your first meeting, ask plenty of questions so you understand their goals. From there, lay out an action plan so they understand how you'll work to help achieve those goals, as well as the different steps in the home-buying journey. "A driver may become frustrated if things don't go as planned," Lenoir says.
- Amiables: Even though you're working for them, these buyers are the types of people who simply want to please everyone. Lenoir says they may not be able to express specifically what they want or if they're unhappy. Asking closed-ended questions about specific features can help you home in on their likes and dislikes. If you share photos of a listing, for example, ask questions like "Do you like the vaulted ceilings?" or "Is the yard large enough?"
- Expressives: These buyers are high energy and big-picture focused. They may be better at expressing what they want in a home, but could stumble through more technical parts of the home-buying journey, like getting all their documents or finances in order. "Be sure to help them understand the details that come up during the home-buying process," Lenoir says.
While analytics and amiables tend to be the most indecisive, Lenoir says clear and consistent communication is key to keeping the search smooth for any buyer. "Your regular check-ins will help address any issues before they snowball," he says.
Understand the motivations driving the purchase
Once you know how your buyer tends to communicate and use information, you need to know the "why" behind what they want. Find out what’s motivating their upcoming home purchase—and use that to help them stay focused if they ever start to fall off track.
"In general, buyers never really have to buy; they always have the option to rent," Lenoir says. "When you know their motivations, you can remind them why they started looking in the first place, if they start to come upon indecision."
In many cases, simply helping your clients maintain focus will lead to pinpointing their dream home.
Educate your buyers
It's an ongoing process throughout the home-buying journey, and it's very important for helping clients make decisions. Before you ever conduct the first showing, you should talk with your clients about pricing, how the local market works and how the home search process will work with you.
"You'll want to have the buyer present a clear picture of what they’re looking for, and confirm it is available, given their budget and the local housing stock. This will help you understand if the buyer's expectations are realistic," Lenoir says.
Sometimes, indecisiveness is unavoidable with home-buying clients. But by truly understanding their personality, how they communicate and what their goals are, you'll be better suited to provide them with valuable information that will lead them to that new set of house keys.
For help explaining any particular parts of the process, consider the BB&T Mortgage Education Center, which contains a wealth of resources to help your clients understand the many different facets of home buying.
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