The enthusiasm and excitement that home buyers bring to the table is enough to make any real estate professional smile, but there’s no denying that they’ll keep you busy. They have tons of questions about the home buying process and the local neighborhood, along with what they need to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. While these are questions you’ve answered countless times, but you can’t exactly send them off to do their own research. To cut back on the monotony of your work and free up your schedule, while giving your buyers proactive answers to the most important questions, try this real estate transaction checklist.
1. Offer Financing Guidance
Many new home buyers don’t understand the critical difference between being “pre-qualified,” which is simply used to help lenders market their loan products to the masses, and being actually pre-approved. The latter means that your clients have submitted an official application that involved a credit inquiry.
As part of this application, they must offer their income information and answer various other questions in order to receive pre-approval, which will grant them permission (with contingencies) to shop for a home within a certain price range. Remind buyers that the highest pre-approval amount they’ve received could go down once underwriters get involved and take a closer look at the property, their income/expense ratio, and the loan product they’re considering.
For your checklist:
- Briefly list the various loan products your home buyer may qualify for, such as a USDA 0% down loan, an FHA 3.5% down loan, and conventional loans.
- Consider partnering with a lender or, at least, offering a handful of suggestions that the buyer can pursue.
- Give a basic rundown of the standard documents they may need to come up with during the pre-approval process. If you deal with many business owners or self-employed individuals, you might even explain the paperwork and extra requirements that apply to them.
With this checklist, you’ll help your clients get past the first major hurdle in the home buying process. You’ll also avoid the most common questions while freeing up time to actually follow up with clients and ensure that they have gotten the pre-approval in a timely manner.
2. Keep Them Focused on Priorities
Many home buyers adore the home showing process, and they’ll ask to see all sorts of homes in the area—even if the location, size, layout, or price doesn’t fit their needs. Additionally, it’s easy for even the most logical buyers to get off track or simply forget when it comes down to their long list of preferences and requirements.
To help you and your buyers schedule only meaningful showings and compare homes with the right perspective, you should offer your buyers a “must, want, and not” template. If you have time, you should definitely go the extra step and help them fill it out, too, either over the phone or over a coffee.
For your checklist:
- Offer input on what distinguishes a “must-have” item, like close to a good school, from a “want” item, like a home with a fenced yard.
- Remind buyers to prioritize what can’t be changed, such as a home’s location or lot size, over what can be remedied with time, like paint colors, landscaping, and even design style (depending on their budget).
- Encourage buyers to fill out the “not” or “can’t” section, as the non-negotiable no’s can often help narrow down properties far faster than anything else. Examples would include that the home cannot have stairs/a second-story master bedroom or the home cannot front a highway.
- If your buyers come up with a particularly long list, review it with them to help them check their priorities.
This checklist will help the buyer compare apples to apples. Meanwhile, it will help you better understand what they’re looking for, so you can help them rationalize if they want to view a home that doesn’t fit them and so you can talk them through the best and worst features of any property they’re considering.
3. Help Them Tour Homes More Effectively
Whether your clients are touring a home with you or going to an open house without you, it’s essential that every home tour is meaningful and focused. You don’t want your buyers spending all that time walking through a property, only for them to call you later to ask, “Did that home have a fenced yard?” or “Is this the house with two master bedrooms?”
Encouraging buyers to visit open houses without you can save you substantial time, but only if they’re looking at the right things. After all, if you’re not there to help them ask the right questions, they may end up barking up the wrong tree—the same can even happen if you’re touring with them, especially if you’re short on time or busy handling many clients.
For your checklist:
- Give your buyers a list of questions they need to ask. Ideally, these questions will be tailored to the checklist of priorities you’ve helped them create. Some of these questions will be technical, so explain the purpose of each so they know why they need to ask and the meaning they can draw from the answer.
- Digitize the list for the best results, especially since open houses are something buyers often pop into as they see them, and not something they plan to attend. By making the list digital, you’ll ensure they always have it handy when they need it.
- Encourage your buyers to take notes on properties and snap photos of features they like or dislike, particularly things that aren’t mentioned in the listing. This can help them remember properties by what matters and save you from having to make too many follow-up phone calls.
Always remind your buyers that you’re available for questions, too! Never let them feel like you’re substituting pen and paper (or fingertips and screens) for your personalized attention.
4. Inform Them of Formalities
By far, the most confusing and time-consuming part of the home buying process is walking through all of the formalities, from the first offer all the way to closing day. Giving your buyers a checklist of what they can expect and what’s expected of them throughout each phase will help ensure a smooth and streamlined transfer of ownership.
- Outline the phases of the home buying process, with an estimated timeline for each one.
- Let buyers know what’s expected of them in each phase and how they can speed things along.
- Introduce buyers to the digital platform you’re using to manage paperwork.
Ultimately, the home buying process is always filled with anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. With a platform like paymints.io, you can minimize the questions, delays, and fees while keeping everyone on the same page. Ready to learn more about how paymints.io can power your real estate transactions? Schedule a demo!