I meet two types of clients. The ones who expect me to be a subject expert and the ones who expect me to open doors so they can find what they want. The ones who expect me to be an expert usually find they home they dream about. Those who just want to use my tools to do their own search are often frustrated by the scale of the market in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax County.
When customers come to us looking for a home, we want to know what they can afford before we invest a lot of time in working with them showing them product that is beyond their means.
We want to make sure that they are serious about making a decision as well, but the financing part is not something that we can just wing.
We can't come right out and ask them how much they can afford - they may not know or may tell us a number that they think we want to hear. The best thing is to have a pre-approval letter from a reputable lender that we are familiar with. If none exists, we stop right there.
One of the great things about social networking like Active Rain is that we get a chance to meet people who can assist us in putting a sale together. Make contacts, be pro-active, be ready.
A customer doesn't have a lender or a pre-approval letter? OK, we have someone for them to talk with, and that's going to happen before we go any farther. Even if it's just a phone call between the lender and the customer on our phone while we give them a little privacy to discuss their business. Then the lender can at least give us an upper range on the spot.
If they choose not to use the lender we recommend, that's OK, but we know what the customer's basic limits are and will show property accordingly.
The same thing applies to home stagers, home inspectors, and others professionals that might help build the sale or get our listing sold. We're the professionals, so we should be prepared with our network of associates. Our customers only buy and sell homes now and then. We do it all the time.