Mortgage interest rates are at their highest level in two years, and home buyers are not only off the fence, they’re vaulting over it! With limited inventory and pressured buyers, 2017 could be an exciting year for real estate professionals. It could also be challenging and frustrating for first-time buyers! They’re going to need your help!
Inman News recently published tips for helping first-time buyers, but it only scratched the surface. We’ve added more tips and details, based on our experiences from serving buyer agents around the country!
1. Explain the home buying process and set expectations. Buyers are anxious to start looking at homes, and they don’t always see a reason to go through financing approval when they are “just looking.” But when it comes to home buying, a lack of structure can be disappointing, or right down disastrous!
Begin by asking your buyers their timeline for purchase. Ask them if they’ve spoken to a lender about their price range. This tells you how prepared and motivated they might be.
It also says what level of time investment may be appropriate for you. After all, there are more home buyers than sellers in many areas of the country. Those who are ready, willing and able to buy today have earned priority.
However, you should still take the opportunity to educate and inform potential home buyers about the process, and help them prepare! Not only is this good public service, it shows buyers that you have the resources and knowledge they need for success.
2. Help buyers understand their mortgage options. Begin by learning more about your lender network. Who best understands VA loans? Who offers the widest array of mortgage products? Who can secure financing for buyers with lower credit scores? Then, take the time to learn more about your home buyers. Match up your buyers to the best lenders for their needs.
Consumer surveys have shown that buyers struggle with down payments. Build a database of down payment assistance programs that are available in your market. Also be aware of the down payment thresholds that are commonly required for typical mortgages, which can be as little as 3% down on a Conventional loan, and 3.5% on an FHA loan. VA loans require zero down!
3. Ask buyers about their long-term goals and their lifestyle. Some home buyers may be new to the concept of a monthly budget. The idea of restricting spontaneous spending may be unwelcome, but it’s necessary for long-term home ownership success.
For example, Millennials tend to value experiences more than the acquisition of things, but both cost money. They must consider how much they spend on entertainment and recreational activities, and how those pursuits may be affected by home ownership costs.
They must also save for retirement, pay off student debt, build a reserve fund for unforeseen expenses, and so on. Home ownership is a long-term prospect, and good planning is essential.
4. Respect the intelligence of your buyers. Millennials are the best-informed home buyers in history, thanks to the Internet and a plethora of real estate websites and blogs. While they still need your local expertise, information and guidance, they look to you as a friend and advisor – not a salesperson!
Never make assumptions about what your buyers know, or don’t know! Ask, and mentor them accordingly.
5. Continue communicating with home buyers. Stay in touch throughout the buying process! Some buyers need more hand-holding that others. But in all cases, regular contact goes a long way towards putting buyer anxiety to rest. Remember, the process is new to them!
Need help with marketing materials for home buyers? Let us create a customized email campaign, Google ad campaign or blog for you! We have a full array of solutions that can be tailored to your needs and budget. Contact RealSupport today for your personal consultation!
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