Real estate agents are there to facilitate home purchases, whether you're representing buyers or sellers. You aren't just there to search the MLS. You're there to guide people through the home buying process and help them find the right home. Here are a few ways real estate agents can aid homebuyers.
Create Lists of Deal Breakers Before You Go House Shopping
Too many real estate agents ask people to describe their dream home and nothing else. You can save everyone time and heartbreak by asking what would be a deal-breaker, before you go house-hunting. Are they set on moving into a move-in ready home? Then they should agree that they don't want to buy a fixer upper. Do they see pools or fancy gardens as an unwanted chore? Would having a front yard or driveway opening up onto a major thoroughfare make them feel unsafe? Create a list of deal-breakers, so that you don't waste their time showing them homes that clearly aren't a match or will leave them struggling to decide between several sub-optimal properties.
Understand their personal needs. Do they need to move into the home by a certain date because their lease is about to expire? Do they want to move into the area to enroll kids in the local school district? Know what must happen in order to close, or you won't make the sale.
This information allows you to strike properties off the list of prospects before you create a short list of properties to show to them. You and your clients will save time, because you aren't spending hours visiting properties that aren't a match.
Explain All the Other Costs of Owning a Home
Homeowners don't just pay their house payment and utilities every month. They have to pay property taxes, homeowner's insurance and maintenance costs. The taxes and insurance may be managed via an escrow service, or you can pay them directly. Depending on the property, there may be Homeowner’s Association or HOA dues you have to pay, as well.
When someone determines how much they can afford, they need to take all of these costs into account. More importantly, these costs should add up to 25 percent or less of their take-home pay, because it is easy to underestimate the costs of maintaining a home. While lenders may loan you more, they don't care if you're left house poor as long as you're likely to make the payments.
Help them determine how much they can truly afford, both in terms of a monthly payment and total purchase price. This will ensure that their dream home doesn't become a nightmare. And you'll prevent them from being rejected when they apply for a home loan that's more than they can afford.
Help Them Get Their Mortgage Funded
Very few home buyers have enough cash on hand to pay for it outright. This means most home buyers need a mortgage to pay for the property. Real estate agents can recommend mortgage lenders like the Money Store to their clients. Explain the difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved. Too many people get a pre-qualification letter from their bank and think that this means they can close on the property. Help them get pre-approved for a mortgage. Explain how serious sellers will make pre-approval a requirement to showing them the house and why pre-approval speeds up the closing process.