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Advice Your Buyers Are Getting: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Advice Buyers Receive

When someone is ready to buy a home, it’s 99% certain that they are going to look up advice on how to go about the process. Even folks who are not first-time buyers look for information because they assume, correctly, that the market has changed a lot since they last purchased.

It’d be great if people took advice from you or another qualified professional, but unfortunately, they don’t. As a result, some of the information they receive is good, some is bad, and some is downright ugly.

However, being a great buyer’s agent means knowing what people are being told and how you’ll react to common question and objections. To help, here’s a list of popular advice given to buyers and how to be ready to respond.

“Don’t Buy in a Renter’s Neighborhood”

The Advice:

The idea with this advice is that it only takes a few bad renters to make the neighborhood undesirable to both the buyer and any potential residents that the client may eventually want to sell to. Similar advice is to be sure there are families on the street if you plan to have a family, so your kids have someone to play with.

How to Respond:

First, encourage the buyer to take the long view and realize that things change. Once they have a family, there may be several other families on the street. Or, the families there now may move away. In addition, there can always be renters in a neighborhood. It’s totally outside their control.

Secondly, do your best to match them with a home that fits their needs. Is there an area they could buy in where the HOA prohibits renting? Is there a neighborhood known for great schools that would naturally attract a lot of families with kids?

“Think Long Term – Look for Bones and Resale Value”

The Advice:

A lot of advice to homebuyers, especially first-timers, is to look past the initial appearance. People are encouraged to overlook junk and ignore staging, and just look at the bones of the house. In addition, buyers are encouraged to think beyond today and think about how easy it will be to resell the home in the future.

How to Respond:

First, be sure to point out factors about a possible home that lead to great resale value – a good neighborhood, nearby shopping or schools, and a quiet street, for instance. Avoid showing homes that would be poor long-term investments.

In addition, help your buyers see past staging and make a decision that’s both emotional and reasonable. If a stager put lamps in a bedroom where there are no outlets, point that out. Make sure the buyers know the value they’re getting in a good quality home, not one with pretty “makeup.”

“Know the WHOLE Cost of Owning the Home”

The Advice:

Buyers are frequently told not to budget for the mortgage alone, but also for taxes, HOA fees, upkeep, closing costs, and more. This is great advice because it ensures your buyer is ready to follow through with closing and is much less likely to get cold feet or buyer’s remorse.

How to Respond:

Provide excellent information! Be a buyer’s agent that is truly on your client’s side. Don’t show them homes “just out of range” to try to score a larger commission. That strategy makes the customer feel frustrated and disrespected. Also, it can backfire and lead to a buyer backing out before closing.

By being a buyer’s agent that helps your client understand the full cost of home ownership, you’ll be providing excellent service and generating a lot of good will that will help bring in referrals and great reviews.

“Get an Inspection to Avoid a Lemon”

The Advice:

Buyers are inundated with horror stories of purchases gone wrong and are assured that if they have an inspection, these problems will be discovered before they buy. This is partly true, but not entirely.

How to Respond:

First, help homebuyers be realistic about what they should expect in their price range. If they think they are getting a move-in ready, renovated place with a bottom-level budget, they will be disappointed. Also, help them understand the actual cost of renovation – having a partnership with a contractor they can talk to would be helpful.

Secondly, make sure you have a partnership with an excellent and honest inspector. Let the homeowners know that not all inspectors are created equal and that if they use your resource, you know they’re getting a good one.

Finally, help buyers be realistic about what a home inspection will uncover. An inspection is not a Mike-Holmes-style gut and rebuild. It won’t find everything that might need to be fixed. And repairs are part of owning a home – no inspection will change that.

“Don’t Worry About Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage”

The Advice:

This is advice that a buyer is likely to get from a friend or relative rather than a buyer’s class or online article. The idea is that a pre-approval isn’t official anyway and that if you’re just starting to look it’s not worth the time or hassle.

How to Respond:

Let a potential buyer know that if they are not pre-approved for a mortgage before looking at homes, they won’t be able to put in an offer on a home they love. It also helps them be clear about their actual budget. Remind them how quickly homes go, and that by the time they get vetted for a mortgage the home they wanted will probably already be purchased by someone else.

You can also choose not to work with buyers who are not pre-approved, to avoid wasting your time. Of course, you should try to convince them to pre-approve before you give up on them.

“You Don’t Need an Agent, Especially if You Buy a FSBO”

The Advice:

People who mistrust real estate agents will tell home buyers to avoid using them. The assumption is that the purchaser and seller are two honest people who will do the deal themselves and cut out the middleman. Both sides supposedly save money.

How to Respond:

This is terrible advice, and not just because Realtors® need to eat. Buying a home is a very complicated process, contracts are incredibly detailed, and inspections, assessments, and closing have a lot of moving parts that can go wrong.

The key is to help home buyers recognize that this is not the same as buying a new pair of jeans or even a new car. They could end up stuck with a home that’s in poor shape, with little to no recourse, because they didn’t handle the legal side correctly. For the biggest investment of their lives, they can’t afford to take that risk.

Are You Ready for Your Buyer?

This article only scratches the surface of the advice buyers receive. By keeping in mind the fact that clients are receiving a lot of advice, much of it from unreliable sources, you are better prepared as a buyer’s agent.

Using your print marketing to address some common misconceptions that buyers have is a good way to build trust and educate your prospects. Whether you need postcards or brochures, Printerbees is here to help!

What’s the craziest advice a buyer has told you they received? Share in the comments!

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