After multiple discussions with realtors, insurance agents, and other mortgage lenders, it has become evident that all areas of the real estate industry are involved in a cloak and dagger style buyer. Whether they are driven by the insatiable need of getting the best price, cheapest costs, and largest house, is dependent on the individual scenario. What remains constant is the amount of effort professionals are having to put forth to gain the confidence and commitment of their clients.
Is information becoming a real estate professionals enemy? The immediate (sometimes inaccurate/incomplete) information available on the internet can become the clients best resource, or create the indecision that leads to deals falling apart over time. Personally, I believe it's our responsibility to channel this information in a beneficial way to the client. Snuffing out inaccurracies and providing honest answers with documentation to support. Finding level ground on the oasis of rapport can bring them in from the storm of confusion.
However, this does not solve the initial issue. How do you keep from getting voted off the island? How can you gain the trust of your client? Is it always cost related? Personally, I would say no. As a estimated percentage 75% of the potential buyers are looking for professional representation with reasonable costs associated. The 25% (which now seems to be growing) who are after the deal of a lifetime are tying up properties, agents, and lenders by placing low bids and wanting to play "Let's Make a Deal". When door #1 is opened to "No such deal Johnny" the buyers are left with remorse and either move to another "bargain" or become dis-illusioned and quit the process. Real scenarios which impact the commission of all professionals involved and create a waterfall effect of wasted time through persons/employees involved.
The importance of pre-qualifying the client has risen dramatically. Realtors are heavily reliant on a solid pre-approval letter. Validation of assets and income are critical. Cash shortages to close are a common issue due to lack of due diligence at time of approval. Conditional approvals are typical, but the conditions should be fully disclosed, with a path of resolution.
Not getting voted off the island is almost a political game. Realtors not voting off lenders in favor of their personal contacts. Lenders not referring buyers to other Realtors due to relationships. It's an integral part of our industry that should be reconveyed and discussed openly. There are enough obstacles keeping deals from funding table, let alone a surprise veto after qualifying your candidates.