Buying a home is an exciting event in one’s life, but there is no doubt that it can be a harrowing experience, especially for first-time home buyers. Between the buyer’s time commitment, their financial considerations, and the emotional upheaval, if you are a licensed real estate agent representing a buyer, you may have your hands full. But there are things you can do to calm the buyer down, to help alleviate their stress, and to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.
Just How Stressful is the Homebuying Process?
Homes.com conducted a study of 2000 homebuyers in 2018 to determine how stressful the homebuying process was for them. It found that 40% of first-time buyers felt anxious at least some of the time and an additional 44% reported that they were nervous throughout the entire process. Thirty-three percent stated that they were even reduced to tears at some point during the experience. Thirty-eight percent found the process much longer than expected. Ten percent had buyer’s remorse and 13% think they overpaid following the transaction. Home.com also found that the average homebuyer considers going on a job interview, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and applying for college all less stressful life events than buying a home.
What Can You Do, as a Real Estate Agent, to Lessen Your Client’s Stress?
You will not be able to get rid of all your client’s stress. After all, purchasing a home is a major life event on par with getting married, having a baby, and starting a new job. But there are things you can do to make the experience a lot easier and more palatable. And remember, first-time homebuyers will need some extra hand holding.
Be sure to provide your client with a general overview of the entire process. Be an educator. You may even want to write up an outline of the steps and then explain each to them in some detail, so they know what to expect. How much detail to include may be individually assessed based on their experience with the home-buying process and how much information you think they can handle at one time. It’s a good idea to include a timeline so they will not be surprised at how long the steps actually take.
Take the time to answer all your client’s questions thoroughly and encourage them to ask. Providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions will give them more confidence, make them less anxious, and will help things go more smoothly. If you do not know the answers, tell them you will find out and do get back to them with that information. And if there are other professionals better equipped to provide that information, such as a lender or a home inspector, either get the answers from them for your client or refer your client to speak to those professionals directly.
Encourage your clients to view many properties before they make an offer. Buyers — especially first-time buyers — do not always know what they want or what they like when starting out. It might be more work for you as their real estate agent, but you want them to get it right. Most properties can be viewed online, so you can at least have them narrow the choice down before going to visit the homes. They will get a better idea of what they are looking for and so will you.
And this one goes hand in hand with viewing many properties. Encourage your clients to keep an open mind. When looking at homes, help your clients discover what they want and need. For example, maybe they originally thought they had to have a two-car garage, mainly for the storage space. But the right home could have a basement with ample storage and then a one-car garage may fit the bill.
Make sure your client discusses their finances with a lender and gets a pre-approval letter. Getting pre-approved is an important step in the home-buying process and will serve to alleviate some of your client’s financial concerns. It will give them a good idea about how much they can borrow, and thus, how much they will be able to spend. It also gives them a leg up because sellers will know they have the borrowing power to back up an offer they make on a seller’s home.
If your clients, whether they are first-time buyers or not, are anxious about the process, do the simple things we recommend here. But above all else, do not be judgmental and be a good listener. This will go a long way toward alleviated your clients’ stress and making their real estate purchasing experience a positive one. And who knows? Perhaps they will recommend you to their friends.
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