Discover five key tips for real estate agents who are helping to guide first-time homebuyers on their exciting journey to homeownership.
For a first-time homebuyer, the process of finding and purchasing a home can be equal parts exciting and overwhelming. As a real estate agent, you have the power to play a key role in guiding, advising, and assisting new buyers through their journey. By sharing your expertise, you can make this memorable experience both simpler and less stressful for everyone involved.
It’s important to understand the challenges new buyers face and the best practices for guiding them through the process if you want to best serve your clients. The following five tips will help you become a first-time homebuyer’s greatest resource.
1. Suggest Pre-Approval with a Trusted Lender
It’s common for first-time homebuyers to over- or underestimate how much they can afford to spend on their new home. A mortgage preapproval can help keep their expectations realistic and ensure they’re looking at homes that are aligned with their financial capabilities.
If they haven’t already done so, encourage your clients to go through the pre-approval process with a trustworthy loan officer. You may also consider suggesting a fully underwritten pre-approval, such as Keller Home Loans’ Offer Ready program. During underwriting, the lender will review key factors like the client’s income, credit score, and outstanding debts, giving an accurate estimate of the amount they’re qualified to borrow. This process can also highlight areas that need improvement before moving forward with a mortgage loan.
Make sure your clients understand that taking the time to get pre-approved can strengthen their offer and streamline the closing process. Purchase offers from pre-approved borrowers are more attractive in a competitive market, giving them an edge during a bidding war. Going through the underwriting process ahead of time can also help eliminate unwelcome surprises at a later date.
While pre-approval doesn’t guarantee they’ll be approved for a loan, it significantly increases the chances. In addition, the financial clarity they’ll gain can put their minds at ease and allow them to focus on other important factors like location, home size, and amenities.
2. Help Your Clients Set a Realistic Budget
While pre-approval can give clients an idea of how much they can spend, first-time homebuyers often underestimate the total cost of buying a home. Remind your clients that in addition to the offer price, they’ll need cash for closing costs, property taxes, and other expenses. It’s also common for buyers to forget about ongoing costs, such as homeowners association (HOA) fees, home maintenance services, and one-time expenses like hiring a moving company, purchasing new furniture, or making small repairs.
By discussing all these factors with your client, you can help them decide on a realistic price range for their new home. This can ultimately save both them and you from the unnecessary frustration that can occur when a buyer falls in love with a home and then finds out they can’t afford it.
3. Clarify “Must-Haves” and “Deal Breakers”
Someone who has never purchased a home before may have a hard time describing exactly what they’re looking for. You can help narrow down their search by encouraging them to make a list of the “must-have” features and anything that would be a “deal breaker.” This can help them clarify their needs and wants, so they have a better understanding of what they’re looking for. As an agent, going through this process can also help you find a greater number of suitable listings, saving everyone time and effort.
4. Establish a Network of Trusted Experts
A home purchase involves multiple stages, each requiring the assistance of specific experts. Whether they’re looking for a home inspector who’s known for their thoroughness or a contractor who provides accurate repair estimates, first-time homebuyers often don’t know where to start.
By developing a network of knowledgeable and trustworthy experts, you’ll be able to easily assist clients who are counting on you to connect them with the professionals they need. Not only can this help ease your clients’ worries, but it can also help ensure a smooth, successful home-buying experience. When you’ve referred a professional, you’ll often have the ability to communicate directly with them, ensuring they quickly and efficiently meet your clients’ needs.
5. Act as an Educational Resource for Your Clients
Experienced real estate agents understand how critical it is to keep your finger on the pulse of market trends. Sharing this information with your clients can help them stay ahead of fluctuations in interest rates, housing demands, and other factors that may impact their buying journey.
The ever-changing housing market can be overwhelming for a new home buyer. Keep in mind that your clients may not realize the importance of certain changes or may be confused by the amount of information coming at them. By staying on top of market trends and sharing your insights with your clients, you’ll earn their trust and establish yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable advisor.
Experience the Joy of Empowering a First-Time Homebuyer
There’s something incredibly powerful about helping a buyer find and purchase their first home. For them, it’s more than just a transaction – it’s a life-changing experience. As a real estate agent, you have the ability to shape the buyer’s journey and create a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As you go through the process with them, remember to be both supportive and patient.
Remember, you’re not just closing a deal, you’re opening the doors to a new chapter in your client’s life. When you need to refer a client to mortgage and financial resources you can trust, Mutual of Omaha and Keller Home Loans are here for you. Contact us today to learn more about the programs, products, and support we can offer to you and your clients.