Buying a home can be extremely stressful. For one thing, it’s a huge expense. Plus, in some cases, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime decision. And, of course, settling on a permanent property can be a choice fraught with emotion.
It makes sense, but it can make the real-estate process even tougher for buyers. That means it’s often the real estate agent’s job to ease their minds and lighten the situation. Here’s how to handle emotional buyers like the pro that you are.
1. Know Their Problems — and Solve Them
As of 2018, a whopping 87% of home buyers relied on the help of a real estate agent to get them through the process. This trend has been on the rise since 2001, when only 69% of buyers used a real estate agent.
One big reason clients choose to work with you is because they know you can help guide them through the buying process. The buyer will describe all that they want and need from a property, as well as their financial constraints. Then, it’s up to you to help them put all the pieces together.
It’s easy for clients to get caught up on small details that weren’t their focus at the beginning. It’s up to you to help de-stress them and guide them back in the right direction. Remind your buyers what they wanted in the first place, then find the properties that contain these facets.
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2. Loop Them Into the Process
If your clients sit around and wonder how the home-buying process is going without taking part, their anxieties will probably get the best of them. Loop them into the entire process, not just the home-search portion.
For instance, they might feel more settled about the property they buy if they attend the inspection and know that the home has good bones. Add a home inspection contingency clause to the contract as well for further peace of mind.
The more activities your buyers take part in, the less intangible home-buying will seem. Keep them in the loop and give them the option to attend meetings and events. They’ll feel better for it, and so will you.
3. Remind Them Which Problems Are Temporary
Buying a home is one of the biggest financial moves many people will ever make. Therefore, it’s not surprising that so many potential buyers get caught up in the minutiae of home design when checking out homes. It’s crucial that you help your clients separate major red flags from temporary ones.
Remind your clients that they can save for repairs to make their new home the perfect fit. Kitchens can be renovated and landscaping redone. Instead, encourage them to keep a list of non-negotiable factors on hand at open houses, like a safe location, certain distance from work or number of bedrooms.
It’s helpful to have a tangible reminder of the home qualities that matter most. You can guide your clients away from snap decisions by encouraging them to weigh location, size and condition over the visual elements shown in home staging.
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4. Have Patience
You’ve been through the home-buying process multiple times. You know what your buyers can afford, and you understand how to read contracts. If a home inspector finds something, you instantly know whether it’s serious or not. In short, while you know what’s going on, your home buyer will probably not be as knowledgeable.
They’re likely to bombard you with questions or worry that a minor annoyance will turn into a huge problem. As the real estate agent, it’s your job to assuage these fears. Explain everything and have the patience to do so again if necessary.
Remember that you have much more training and experience to rely on, and your client might be navigating the process for the first time. Your level head — and your obvious patience — will keep everyone’s emotions in check.
5. Be Honest
No matter how emotional the home-buying process becomes, white lies won’t smooth things over. The National Association of Realtors Research Group found in 2019 that buyers looked for honesty and trustworthiness in a real estate agent before anything else.
It’s always a delicate balance to be honest without stressing or hurting your clients. That said, imagine someone comes to you with a small budget and a huge list of demands. You’ll have to gently talk them down so that they have a more realistic idea of what they can buy.
Honesty helps ward off stress and disappointment later too. If your clients know what you can deliver, they’ll approach the home search and buying process with a much more level head.
Navigating Emotional Decisions With Your Clients
Ultimately, the entire home-buying process is about your client. Give the best advice you can to get them to the finish line when the property and conditions are right.
That way, everyone can be happy with the results, and you can reach them with the right set of emotions — happy, assured ones.
About the Author: Holly Welles is a real estate writer and the editor of The Estate Update. Her work focuses on renting and homeownership trends that help readers make the most of any space.