Learn this fifteen minute home buyer consultation script to properly set expectations & prepare clients for the home buying process at the outset of the agent-client relationship. In order to maintain agent safety, screen prospective buyers, determine client needs, and create a foundation for the agency relationship, it is essential for real estate agents to take the time to conduct buyer consultations in the office prior to showing property.
1. Market Conditions
At a very minimum, real estate professionals owe a duty to use due diligence in the representation of their clients. So making prospective buyers aware of what they can expect as a buyer in today’s market should be deemed essential. Talking points should cover available inventory, buyer negotiating power, interest rates and local list price to sales price ratios. If proper expectations are set up front, buyers have an increased likelihood of getting the home they want without having to undergo a learning curve after missing out on several homes.
2. Loan Pre-Approval
Since many home buyers are eager to start viewing homes before determining their borrowing power, agents must educate their clients about the impact that being pre-qualified for a home loan has on purchase negotiations. Buyers that know what down payment amount and monthly payment they can actually afford will also be able to make much more informed decisions about the homes they consider. Consequently, pre-qualified buyers are confident and more inclined to make offers in an expedient fashion.
3. Define the Agency Relationship
Understanding agency relationships is not only beneficial to clients, but also very helpful in preserving commissions down the road. Real estate agents should prepare buyers for specific situations that might jeopardize the relationship and commissions in the future. For example, home buyers need to be instructed on how to handle encounters with For Sale By Owner (FSBO) homes, open houses, and new construction builders. Buyers should be made aware of how the agency relationship is impacted in these situations, and what consequences it may have on representation and commissions.
4. Ask for Referrals
The idea of asking clients for business referrals can be very uncomfortable without first learning how to ask. This can be especially true in an initial buyer consultation prior to even working with the clients. Becoming familiar with tested referral scripts will help create confidence and measurable results quickly. The highest rate of referrals always comes from ongoing relationships with clients that are actively in the process of moving. Similar to how people shopping for cars notice every other vehicle on the road, clients preparing to move have a heightened awareness of other people looking to do the same. Consequently, this topic often dictates many of their social and professional conversations, which puts your chances of receiving referrals at an all-time high during the home buying process.
5. Establish Home Criteria & Search Process
The determination of the location, price range and features that a buyer is looking for in a home often serves as the central focus of a buyer consultation. However, it is equally important to establish parameters for the process in order to avoid an endless search that renders ineffective and confusing results. Further, time management is often the most pressing issue that agents representing buyers face in their practice. Since buyers agents are often forced to work nights and weekends to accommodate client work schedules, effective scripts that set boundaries for showings are vital for the preservation a balanced life. Since some clients simply enjoy looking at a lot of houses they often lose sight of actually purchasing a home. In order to avoid this dilemma it is important to keep clients in a “buying mindset” throughout the home search.