What if your home buyer makes a mistake in the eleventh hour? They might fall for an escrow scam and send tens of thousands of dollars to a criminal. Or they might celebrate a little too early, buying new furniture for their soon-to-be-new home — potentially putting their funding at risk.
Around a third of all home buyers are first-time buyers. That makes them completely new to the process, and they may have a lot of questions and anxiety around the process of closing on a property.
With the average home sales price hovering right around $443k in 2021, even second- or third-time buyers may be nervous. That’s especially true if they’re putting 20% or more down. With $88k or more trading hands, escrow can be a real nail-biter.
Taking some actions to reduce home buyers’ stress and confusion at closing can help everyone get through the process easier and enjoy a positive outcome on the other side.
1. Provide Plenty of Education Before Closing
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, educating potential home buyers has a positive benefit for everyone involved. Education can help home buyers prepare more fully for the process, effectively greasing the wheels to reduce challenges that can cost time and money for the home buyer, seller, and various agents involved in the process.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notes that education can help people improve their credit, save more income, avoid delinquency once they successfully buy a home, and otherwise have more success throughout the process.
Some education you can provide home buyers includes:
- Advance copies of documents they’ll need to review and sign
- Assistance explaining the legalese in any of those documents
- Checklists that clearly explain what home buyers may need to do before closing
- Information about mortgage scams and how not to fall prey to them
2. Encourage Home Buyers to Go Into Closing Well Rested
Closing day can be stressful and, depending on everything else involved, long. Home buyers that are well rested are better able to sit through long explanations of documents or signing scenarios. They’re also better equipped to ask important questions and make any decisions at the moment that might come up at closing.
Consider encouraging home buyers to go to bed early and remind them to eat before they come to the closing. Some home buyers may not realize how long a closing can last, so it’s important to let them know what to expect.
3. Introduce Anyone Involved in the Process
Before closing, make sure the home buyers are introduced or at least aware of anyone who might be involved in the process. Title companies and others can help with this tip by including team and about us pages on their websites. Home buyers who can look up pictures and some information about people may be more comfortable and confident if they meet those professionals for the first time on closing day.
4. Take Extra Care to Explain Money Matters
No home buyer should arrive at closing with a major blind spot when it comes to money matters. Ensure everyone involved is on the same page about what money may be owed and how it should be paid.
Title companies, real estate agents, and brokers should never assume the home buyers have a full understanding of money matters if they didn’t have a specific discussion about it. Emails or documents spelling out how much might be owed at closing can get overlooked or may not be understood. In some cases, the abundance of documents with dollar figures all over them may overwhelm someone, and they simply miss that one of those figures was an escrow or closing amount.
5. Make Sure Someone Tells Home Buyers What Not to Do
It’s also a good idea to provide home buyers with a list of things that they may want to avoid doing. You can include such a list on your website as a download or blog post, but you might also want to include it conspicuously in a home buyer packet of information. Point it out, talk about it, and ask potential home buyers if they have any questions.
Things you might include on the list are:
- Making large purchases before closing
- Accepting large amounts of money, even gifts, before closing
- Transferring money in or out of accounts in large amounts except for closing costs or escrow funds
- Doing anything that might delay the sale of an existing home if that sale is required to ensure they can close on the home they’re buying
6. Provide Various Secure Options for Making Payments
Make sure people have a good option for transferring escrow or closing funds. Some people may want to go the traditional route with cashier’s checks, but let home buyers know that they don’t have to do that.
Digital methods are an option and are often faster and more convenient. Paymints.io offers a white-label service that helps you provide home buyers with a safe, easy way to fund escrow and reduce stress during closing.
7. Have Copies of Important Documents on Hand
Finally, if you’re meeting with home buyers in person, make sure you have copies of all important documents with you. This is true even if you gave copies of documents to the home buyers — don’t rely on them to remember everything and have everything in order. They may be dealing with stress and anxiety, including some nervousness about money. That can make it easy to forget a document or two.
Being proactive, kind, and informative are all ways to reduce home buyer stress at closing. And when home buyers are more comfortable, the process goes better for everyone.
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