Client Knows Best

bfde9ad766297d20f829ded2996ab3c2Selling real estate can be one of the most rewarding careers around. What other profession affords its members so many opportunities to become proficient in a variety of disciplines? Brokers and agents alike often find themselves wearing many hats during the course of a transaction. Aside from being a parent, I cannot think of many jobs that require the level of flexibility and expertise that real estate professionals do. 

I frequently work with first time home buyers. They are my favorite to serve but often require a greater scope of expertise than a seasoned home buyer. As real estate agents, we must be prepared to adapt and deal with a variety of emotions, situations, and circumstances each time we meet a new client.

Keeping abreast of the changes in real estate law and with new ways to stream line business is something most of us do without thinking. Being skilled and informed in these areas is the key to achieving and maintaining a successful real estate business. However, we also need keep in mind the important role that our approach to each client plays and also be mindful of the importance that strong interpersonal skills play when working with people of all types.

Taking steps to learn and understand as much as we can about what makes each individual client tick often makes the difference between a successful close and a lead that drops of the radar. Listening to a client who may be afraid or unsure will go a long way towards them feeling comfortable with their decision to sell their home. 

What approach works for one, will not work for others. The aggressive sales approach often will frighten a new buyer who is in the beginning stages of their journey. Letting the client dictate the pace and rate that information is disseminated is something that we all need to consider. Some clients do not want to be contacted immediately when a lead comes in.  Others call every ten minutes with a question or concern.

Shifting our approach is not easy, but is a critical part of the equation. The range of people we encounter can vary from those who know everything to those who are clueless. 

Being able to add the skill of discernment to successfully meet a client wherever they may be in their process is sometimes more important than having all the right answers about a home’s features or the steps involved with buying and selling a home. Remaining mindful of their needs is a sure fire way to keep buyers and sellers feeling confident in not only our abilities as agents, but in our abilities to relate to them on a personal level.

Agents who understand that the job is equal parts business operations, law, customer service, and psychology will be in an excellent position when their referral business begins to grow. Word about how we interact and our level of patience and understanding will get around. Creating connections with our clients does not mean becoming their therapist, or best friend. That is a completely separate blog.

It means doing everything we can in our power and scope to leave every customer feeling like they are the only one. It means holding their hand, offering guidance as the transaction moves along, and giving a high five at closing when the keys are handed over. Every effort agents make to this end will increase the chances that when they pass along your name to their friends and family it will be done with a smile on their face.

Unspoken Laws of Real Estate Agents

7c8e965bca0a1cc5001a2ae35cd9ba9eTypically, the end of the year for those of us who make a living selling real estate can be slow. Usually by November, potential buyers and sellers put their home plans on hold to accommodate the busy nature of the holidays. This has been my experience for the past few years anyway. We drop our super hero capes off at the cleaner and take the time to rest and recharge our selling super power muscles until the early spring selling begins.

After a very productive fall, I assumed that the slow down would follow. I was never more pleased to be wrong in 2015. Naturally, I decided to plan some vacation time right before the holidays expecting that I would be able to put down the phone and just enjoy a well-deserved break.

I was reminded very quickly that the laws of real estate are as unpredictable as a lender making a decision about a short sale. When I assumed that I would be less busy during the holiday season, I broke the first law of real estate, expect the unexpected. 

This law should appear front and center on the membership card for the National Association of Realtors. I was both surprised and grateful when my calendar from the beginning of the New Year included closings that I had not anticipated but could not help to chuckle a bit as I sat at a river house and answered email and scheduled inspections.

My spouse did not find it as entertaining as I did, but thankfully she understands what the life of a real estate broker is like, and is especially understanding of the inconvenience when the bank account grows after a successful transaction closing.

Which brings me to the second law of real estate. Planning a vacation is the sure fire way to guarantee that unexpected contracts or listings will materialize. This is as certain as the laws of physics. I have taken informal polls of my fellow agents and all agree that this one is a given. We all also have come to the consensus that there are worse things to deal with than having to be on the phone and answering email while on vacation.

I am seriously considering the risk benefit analysis of scheduling vacation at least once a month, but suspect that testing this law may be a sure fire way to tempt fate and render the law ineffective. Which brings me to the third law real estate.

Do not attempt to manipulate laws one and two. Never. Doing so increases the chances of inviting another well known law to walk right in the front door of your real estate career. Murphy’s Law is a terrible guest in any home, business, or situation. I am positive we can all agree on this one. For those who need a refresher, Murphy’s law states if anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst possible time.

As real estate professionals, we deal with this law more times that we can count and often on a daily basis. It comes primarily in the form of difficult and uncommunicative lenders, indecisive buyers, and unrealistic sellers but can pop up at any point during a transaction from any number of possible sources. For example, I once had a meddling mother in law kill an entire deal because the “feel” she got in the house was not acceptable. You just cannot make this stuff up.

We all know the dread of waiting for an inspection, appraisal, or final loan commitment while sitting at the closing table or Title Company’s office. Definitely not the most fun aspect of what we do. I believe that this career is not for the faint of heart, or the impatient, but I also believe that there are few career that are as rewarding as real estate.

Most agents I have encountered agree and believe that this group is among the more determined class of workers. I also mention that as a group we have very healthy egos, which works for us, most days anyhow.

As we begin the process of creating and implementing our carefully thought out marketing plan for the upcoming year, I implore every real estate agent, broker associate and broker/owner to remember and consider these laws. These particular laws, however tongue and cheek they may be, exist to remind us all that while the job of a real estate professional may be challenging and often times frustrating, it is also ripe with countless opportunities for growth and success.

My business plan for the upcoming year definitely includes a heavy dose of gratitude for the laws of real estate land and a healthy respect for each of them. Wishing my fellow real estate super heroes a healthy and prosperous 2016!

The Best Day Ever in Real Estate

Joy-ShameThe past few months have been quite busy for McBride Realty Group, LLC. Our office is having a fantastic year and this past month I was fortunate enough to have all of the stars align for three closings in one day and two more the following day. When my listings got contracts, I did not notice that they all had the same date for closing. When I did notice, I naturally figured that there was no way that everything would actually close on time.

I was never happier to be wrong. My disbelief is well founded. We all know that the probability of a deal closing on time can decrease as the closing date approaches. I spent the three days prior to the closings holding my breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am an optimist, but admit that closings scare me. There are numerous things that must line up in order for a property to close. There are so many moving parts and variables in any deal that the fear is warranted and legitimate. My experience has been that a majority of deals do not close on time despite the best efforts of most of the parties involved.

Real estate professionals are well versed in dealing with Murphy’s Law. There have been plenty of times where deals have fallen through, or been delayed at the last minute due to the buyer, seller or lender. Sometimes getting paid feels like hitting big at a slot machine in Vegas.

The only thing that is guaranteed when working in real estate is the fact that nothing is guaranteed. I have talked to many other agents and we all have the same anxiety as a closing date approaches. On this particular day the title companies were on the ball, the lenders were excellent and the agents were all on the same page. The communication between the lender and the other agents was frequent and flawless. My sellers were a pleasure to work with and the one buyer that I had was arguably one of the most organized and on top of things that I have worked with. On that day, I achieved transaction nirvana.

As the newly created TRID statement is put into place, my hope is that the closing process will be even less frantic that it has been in the past. I am sure that there are some wrinkles that will need to be ironed out, but overall I am optimistic. I may not know what to do with myself when the final closing statement is in the buyer and sellers hands days before the closing. There is nothing more stressful to buyers than getting the amount of funds they need to wire only hours before the closing.

Often buyers, especially first time home owners, are already anxious enough about the biggest purchase they will make in their lifetimes. This advance notice will definitely help to make closing day less hectic for them. I would love to see buyers feeling the excitement that purchasing a home brings without the emotional exhaustion and anxiety associated with receiving their final figures at the last moment possible. Remembering and telling the tale of my perfect closing day in real estate will definitely help carry me through the holiday home sales slowdown that most of us experience this time of the year.

Every Agent Needs a Real Estate Photographer

The benefits of using a professional real estate photographer to take MLS photos far outweighs the expense. Many times buyers are reluctant to even view what could be the perfect property for them because the photos are terrible.

Real estate agents can be a cheap bunch. I know, believe me. It is the nature of our business. Marketing a property for sale is one of the most challenging aspects of our jobs and it also happens to be the most important. The first step is getting photos that do not look they were taken with a Polaroid camera in the back of a cave. My message is simple.

The real estate photographer I use charges a flat rate of $75 per hour and it is worth every penny. Spending a few dollars on the front end is something most agents in my area are not interested in doing. I can understand this, but I do not agree with it. Before I started using a professional, my listings images were acceptable, but not spectacular.

real estate photographer

Experience has taught me that hiring someone who knows how to light a room properly is one of the smartest moves a real estate agent can make. Generating buyer interest has never been easier. A picture is worth a thousand words and could be the difference between a property sitting on the market or being sold quickly.

Often we forget that we have to spend money to make money and that you get what you pay for. Never hire the least expensive anything. I adapted this rule of thumb a long time ago with regard to my business. This is the same thinking behind those who list their homes For Sale by Owner. They believe that they are going to save money by not hiring a real estate agent. How much can someone save if their home is not selling? Zero percent of zero is a big fat zero.

There are many real estate photographers out there. Some good, others not so good. When choosing a photographer, definitely look at their portfolio before you hire them.  Ask them about their equipment and how long they have been a professional. Get references and make sure you check them. Find out how quickly they can turn around the images.

I promise you will never regret the decision to choose a professional real estate photographer. When other agents make comments about how great your listing photos look and the property has a parade of buyers viewing it,  you will be convinced that what I am saying is the truth.

Changing Seats at the Real Estate Negotiation Table

I have worked with many home buyers over the years and done my fair share of real estate contract negotiations. Many eventually call me when it is time for them to list their home for sale. These repeat customers are the highest form of compliment an agent can receive. When a past buyer contacts an agent to sell their home, it conveys their confidence in my expertise and I successfully earned their trust and built a positive relationship with them. The buyer then becomes the seller.

There are many types of home buyers and sellers. Each specific category brings its own unique perspective when looking to purchase a new home. First time home buyers can sometime require a greater degree of hand holding as they navigate the home buying process for the first time.

They are often unfamiliar with the process and need to feel reassurance as the transaction moves from offer to closing. More seasoned buyers may not need as much information as a first timer, however still need an agent that has a proven track record of negotiating, a keen sense of the market and valuation, and strong communication skills.

For buyers, agents are tasked with ensuring that the buyer’s sales price is as close to market value possible and to facilitate the successful completion of the transaction. For sellers, agents are relied upon to come up with an accurate valuation of market value and to get the home in front of as many potential buyers as they can.

In a real estate transaction, the perception of the buyer is often that they are in a subordinate position. The seller has the final say about what offer they will accept. When a buyer turns into the seller they can often get drunk with power.

I noticed an interesting trend developing when past buyers become sellers. The mindset, perspective, and attitude is definitely influenced by which side of the transaction they are on. How a particular client is as a buyer does not always indicate the kind of seller they will be.

real etsate negotiationsI chuckle when a seller is unwilling to repair something that their buyer has requested and believes that the buyer is being petty or inflexible. Negotiations can go off the rails when ego take over. I often have to remind them of their requests when they were purchasing the home.

When they put the selling hat on they can be offended when a buyer asks for closing costs, even though they received closing assistance when they purchased the home. In fact many of them could not have purchased the home in the first place without the seller concessions.

When a buyer is making an offer they ask for the moon and hope to get a star or two. Buyers feel that sellers should help cover closing costs and accept an offer that may be below market value. Sellers feel that it is not their job to give up any of their profit for the sake of a buyer. Understandably, sellers want to walk away with the most money possible. Round and round it goes. This is the challenge that agents face regardless of which side of the transaction they may be working.

Tips for better real estate contract negotiations.

When the buyer becomes a seller, it is my job to remind them that moderation and compromise are a part of a successful outcome for both parties. Walking a mile in the seller’s shoes may take years for a past buyer to experience. Watching a loyal and satisfied customer experience both sides of a transaction can be frustrating and even amusing at times. The opportunity to see things come full circle is a reminder that walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is one of the most effective and powerful teaching moments in life.

 

How to Avoid Financing and Lender Problems

This summer has been especially interesting. Over the course of the past two months I have had two deals that ended without closing that should have never started in the first place. Why you may ask? In this case, financing from lenders.

Here is the story of my visit to crazy town. My seller received a contract on his home and submitted an offer on a new home within a matter of days. His buyer was pre approved through one lender and him through another lender. Keep in mind, these were preapprovals, not pre qualifications.

Both lenders encountered some “challenges” when the file made its way to underwriting. Three days before the closing, the lender for his buyer was notified that there was a collection that had hit after the conditional approval had been sent. It was for a medical bill that just appeared on their credit report when they did the final pull. One that the buyer maintained they had no idea what it was and that it was not theirs. Uh Huh. Hours later, my seller’s lender notified him that they would not be able to give a conditional approval due to some issues related to his debt to income because of school lo.ans for his wife..

I could not believe it. Double denial, both sides of a deal, within hours of one another. It would not have been so surprising had I just not been told by both lenders that they would be “no problem.” The deal was dead. Or so I thought. The lender for his buyer quickly suggested that the buyer would qualify if she could get a cosigner.

The lender assured me that this was going to be “no problem.” After consulting with my seller they agreed to keep moving forward. My seller, having been rejected already, was fortunate enough to have the seller of the property he was interested in offer to do owner financing in order to save the deal. My real estate “oh crap” alarms were going off, but I chose to remain optimistic. Many times I have seen rabbits get pulled out of hats to get deals done.

For an additional two weeks his buyer’s lender assured me that everything was sailing along, until it was not. We held out hope for this because my seller’s offer on his new home was contingent upon his home closing. Keep in mind that they were only looking for a 60K mortgage.

They owned the home they were selling free and clear and were set to walk away with over 130K when they closed. This was one of those deals that needed A to happen before B could happen. For three weeks the title companies, agents and customers were waiting for the all clear.

This one was a nightmare. I understand that nothing is guaranteed, but I have to say that the lenders are not serving their customers’ needs when they drag out the process until a few days before closing and then give a rejection or denial of the financing. I suspect that neither were truly pre approved, and that the lenders just need time to figure out how to make water into wine.

This type of creative approach does not serve anyone well. My sellers were led to believe that they “could get around” the school loan issue. Clearly this was never the case considering that the two lenders they contacted immediately after their first rejection told them that there was no way that they could “touch this one” and write the loan.

Long story short, the deal never happened. As a result, we all lost out. The lost commissions, the inspection fees, appraisal fees and nonrefundable deposits hit us all in our pocketbooks. My sellers were irate and had no remedy in the end. In general, I think most of us have legitimate fears when it comes to deals closing and do not feel any relief until we are leaving the closing with a check.

financing real estateAs an agent, I do my best to minimize risk with deals. I require pre-approvals and work closely with the lenders to make sure that I am not wasting my time or my client’s time counting on something that will never happen. I am diligent in making sure there is nothing funky going on with title, liens or pending legal issues that will prevent a sale before I even take a listing. Paranoia is a broker’s best friend.

As professionals, we can only operate with the information that we receive from buyers, sellers and lenders with regard to the loan process and the ability for a customer to get financing. I am taking what I can from this one and once again learning that this business is not for the faint of heart or the impatient. I have also reaffirmed my undying love and appreciation for the beauty of a cash deal.

Firing A Buyer in Real Estate

Firing a buyer is never pleasant and is one of the most difficult decisions a real estate agent can make. The concept of caveat emptor is as old as dirt and I bet there are few out there who are not familiar with its meaning. Real estate professionals are well aware of this phrase. Buyer beware. It is a simple concept that speaks to the need for due diligence prior to any purchases.

The burden of information gathering and sound decision making rests on the shoulders of all who find themselves in the position to buy something. But what happens when the real estate agent is the one who should beware?

In real estate, the nature of the contracts we use afford buyers numerous opportunities to make certain they understand every detail of a property. Home inspections are a key example of this. Buyers who choose to forgo a home inspection are the poster children for the buyer beware club. Most buyers are very diligent in their efforts when they are purchasing a home. It is my job as their Realtor to impress upon them the importance of home inspections.

This week I “fired” my first buyer. The experience got me thinking about the concept of Caveat Realtor. Realtor beware. When a buyer contacts a real estate professional they have an expectation that we will offer our services, time and expertise to help them navigate the often stressful and unpredictable road to home ownership.

First time home buyers are my favorite buyers to work with. They rely upon me to explain the process and help them achieve their dream of owning a home for the first time. They are often terrified but full of enthusiasm. There is no greater feeling than watching first time homeowners receive the keys to their first home. This is the feel good part of selling homes.

Other buyers can be a challenge. The ability to work well with different personalities is a critical skill and is not mentioned very often in the real estate textbooks. There are many kinds of buyers. Some are more active in their home searches, others take a passive approach. I have worked with them all over the years. I never thought that I would have to decline working with a buyer. I am very good at adapting to demanding and difficult personalities. Last week that changed.

The buyer was adamant about what she estimated the value of homes to be. My comps did not matter. For three weeks I did my best to educate and present information to support why her low ball offers were not being accepted. She required that I respond immediately to her texts, emails and phone calls. I complied. We looked at many homes and submitted a few offers, all of which were rejected. I was blamed for the rejected offers. The price range of the homes she was interested in made it worth my time to suck it up and deal with the demands. The entire time I was professional, realistic and accommodating.

She let me know that she was also conducting her own search and that if she found something that I did not show her that I would not be the selling agent.  I had hoped to convince her of the benefits of committing to one agent for her search, she was not convinced. She would contact listing agents directly on the properties that I had shown if I did not respond to her immediately.

It was a bit of a nightmare. A day after the last rejected offer, she called to let me know that she had found a for-sale by owner that she would be putting a contract on. I cautioned her about the risks and she thanked me. I was not surprised by this. I was disappointed, but not surprised. Mea culpa.

Three weeks after later she contacted me again to let me know that the FSBO fell through and that she wanted me to resubmit an offer on a HUD home. I told her that I would be asking her to sign a buyer agreement before we went forward. I explained that I had numerous buyers and sellers in my pipeline and I was unable to continue working with her if she was going to continue the search on her own at the same time. She refused.

Simply, spending the amount of time and energy that she required would not be the best use of my time if she found something on her own again. I got burned once before and it made sense to cut her loose. I gave it the old college try. I never like to end a relationship with a potential buyer. There was no other option with this particular buyer.

As real estate professionals we must be able to work smarter and harder, but not be willing to run in circles without a commitment from a buyer. There are exceptions to every rule and the vast majority of buyers we deal with are not like this one. However, understanding that there are times when the situation dictates letting a buyer go is the perfect illustration of Caveat Realtor in practice.

Real Estate Rollercoaster Ride

real estateSelling real estate is one of the few careers where on any given day anything is possible. These possibilities are great when it means waking up and getting that unexpected phone call from a buyer who has a pile of cash and needs to find something today.

These phone calls are the holy grail of real estate. If you are lucky the buyer is also an easy to please type who finds exactly what will work for them in only a matter of hours. A regular day can turn into a wonderful day just like that.

Unfortunately, there are also those days when things blow up and fall apart. Just last week I had one of those days. A seller that I had been working with for a few months listed her home with my brokerage and we received multiple offers within a week. She accepted the highest and best offer and we were on the way to getting her home sold.

During the inspection period, the seller, yes, you heard that correctly, the seller decided she did not want to sell. For a variety of reasons, she changed her mind. This is never a good thing, and in fact, had never happened to me before. A seller backing out? Seriously? This was not a great situation, but it was compounded with the fact that the buyer was rather difficult to deal with. Her agent was a super hero and I was impressed with how she dealt with this.

The negotiation for this sale included an argument over curtains that almost killed the entire deal early on. Yes, curtains. My seller cancelled the contract before the buyer inspection period had ended. She had to pay a cancellation fee to my broker and I had to tell the selling agent that the deal was off.

The seller reimbursed the buyer for the cost of the inspection that had taken place the night before she decided not to sell. I felt like that selling agent got the worst of this unfortunate decision because she had to tell her buyer.

It is frustrating when people change their minds and infuriating when it pops up out of the blue. Working with buyers and sellers can be joyful and exciting when the stars align. I have learned over the years that nothing is for sure until I am walking away from the closing with a check in my hand when it comes to a transaction. We have to be resilient, patient, and able to put up with the inherent uncertainty that working with a variety of personalities brings each day.

Real estate professionals have to be thick skinned and able to roll with things as they happen. Sure, I was not happy that my listing was cancelled in mid transaction. I was equally upset when later that same day a buyer I had been working with nonstop for three weeks called to let me know that she was going to buy a For Sale Buy Owner from a friend. Time is money.

Remembering the importance of letting go of the frustration and disappointment when things happen is critical to keeping a positive outlook. We need to recover quickly and remain determined as we move forward. Becoming gun shy and suspicious of working with people who are not sure of what they want to do is not an option.

No matter how professional and accommodating we may be with our clients, the truth is they will decide what they are going to decide and it is our job to do as they ask. Our goal should be to minimize risk where possible and to make sure that we make good decisions about who we choose to work with.

This may not always protect us from all bad outcomes, but it will go a long way to help reduce the odds of it happening. In both of these instances, my gut was uneasy. Neither one of them did anything obvious that would lead me to think that they were not quality clients.

They were demanding and a little flaky. I just got a vibe that these were going to be challenging deals base don their personalities and how they communicated with me. If nothing else, I have learned that listening to my instincts about people saves me more time and money in the end every time.

Following Through on Appointments

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that it is getting more and more difficult to get in touch with listing agents? Over the past few months I have noticed a growing trend in real estate. There have been numerous occasions when I have wanted to set up showings of active properties and been unable to confirm appointments with the listing agent. We are all familiar with the need to follow the instructions given by listing agents in order to show buyers listings.

By following the showing instructions we assume that we will have the ability to schedule appointments for buyers who are in full on home search mode. On at least five occasions this month, I have made attempts to set appointments by following the detailed instructions provided by the listing agent or office and been unsuccessful in showing the home. Typically, these are appointment only showings and require at least 24 hours notice.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow through and confirm showing appointments quickly to other real estate agents. I am not complaining about a lack of immediate contact, but rather no contact at all, even after leaving messages on voice mail, text or email. Working with buyers can be challenging. Scheduling appointments and finding properties that fit their budget and criteria is often nothing short of a three ring circus. the stars cannot align if they cannot view the property that they have their heart set on.

Granted, it can often take time to reach a seller to set up an appointment. I understand that rarely do things happen quickly in our line of work. Our business is a wait and wait some more type of business. Seller’s depend on their agents bringing through as many potential buyers as possible to reach the goal of selling their home. Appointment only showings are an important part of the the life of a real estate agent.

When I have a new listing on the market, I can expect that my phone will be ringing and that there will be eager agents on the other end of the line requesting appointments. This is a good thing. Each one of them can expect to get a timely confirmation. It is how I do my part to make the real estate world run a little more smoothly.

I personally follow up with every showing request. Our ultimate goal is to get a contract as quickly as possible and close the deal. Real estate professionals are one of the few professions where we must work with our competitors on a daily basis to achieve the goal of closing transactions.

Agents should realize the immediate impact of failing to confirm appointments results in missing out on potential buyers. This is an obvious consequence. The more damaging consequence is the message that is conveyed to their peers. I admit that I am slightly obsessive about how I communicate with other agents.

I am a big fan of good communication and believe that it is key in helping to create smooth transactions and building relationships with our buyers, sellers, lenders and other real estate professionals. Our opinion of one another and success relies on how well we do our jobs, including confirming showings.

Renters are Future Customers

Spring is in the air and I have been inundated with renters. I currently market through Realtor.com and have been getting an inordinate amount of rental requests. I have, on occasion, been privy to the fact that some Realtors complain about rental customers and many even will not put any effort into helping them find housing because there is no payday at the end of the deal. Many think that is not worth their time for a couple of hundred dollars in a lease or referral fee. I take a different approach.

I get it. Renters can be difficult to work with. Usually this is because they are unaware of the fine art of securing a rental. They often do not understand that renting a home is not like negotiating the price of a home that is for sale. I just had one that I was working with decide to negotiate a rental rate. In the area that I live in this is not something that landlords appreciate or ever do.

The rental market is very competitive and she did not get the home. I explained that this was not recommended but she did it anyway. The fact that she did not heed my warning will not prevent me from continuing to work with her when she call me with the next home she found listed on Zillow or Trulia that she is interested in. Water under the bridge.

Of course these can be frustrating situations to deal with. However, renters are potential buyers in the future. Building a relationship with those who may not be financially ready, willing or able to purchase a home yet is important, even if it may not pay off on the front end. You have the opportunity to educate them about the home buying process right out of the gate. You can become their resource while they begin taking the first steps towards homeownership in the future.

When a renter contacts me, I always ask the reasons why they are choosing to rent. Many think that this is their only option. This conversation opens a dialogue and allows for the opportunity to begin explaining the home buying process.

One of the biggest challenges that I deal with as a real estate agent is when a first time home buyer comes to me and has no idea about what they need to do first when they are ready to buy a home. They want to look at homes and have no idea about if or how much they qualify for. Many do not know their credit scores or anything about lending.  I have the opportunity to plant the seeds that may grow into a future sale.

I wish that more agents would realize the diamonds in the rough that renters are. Many rent because their finances are shaky or their income is not yet where they would like. Many do not know that buying is within their reach. Explaining what lenders require before you can qualify for a loan is one way that can help them begin to take the necessary steps for future home ownership. I let them know that looking for homes is the last step in the home buying process. They usually have a very confused look on their faces.

I will always do my best to show homes to renters. Not only is it a great way to meet new people and expand my network but it also goes a long way to showing someone that you are helpful. This is why I do what I do. I remember the days of renting. It can be difficult to find housing and often landlords are all business.

For younger clients this is their first go around on their own and helping them to ease their concerns about where they will live is just kindness. No, I do not plan on making the millionaires circle by working with these renters. I do walk away with the satisfaction that I have done a small part to help meet the needs of a future potential buyer.