My favorite aspect of being a Realtor is helping people find their next home. The buyer process can be fun, invigorating, and a great relationship building opportunity. That’s why, today, I want to talk with you about the importance of setting proper expectations with your buyers.
If you are reading this today and you are one of my buyers… I hope you find that what I’m writing here reflects the expectations that we’ve set in our relationship together. You have my permission to call me out on this if you see an in-congruence between me and the advice I’m giving my fellow Realtors here! (Be gentle. I’m still learning myself!)
That being said, I believe that it is very professional to help our clients by laying out proper expectations for how we will go about helping them. Representing buyers requires a very important amount of patience, understanding, professionalism, and educating the consumer that many agents do not properly do. Today, I want to give you a few tips on managing buyer expectations in such a way that you can help them better navigate through this process.
Disclaimer: I’d love to say this is a cut and dried process. But the reality is that every circumstance is different. Every client has a different personality. Every situation has a different set of potential pitfalls. And every time I walk through this process, I experience something completely different than the last time!
4 Tips to Setting Proper Buyer Expectations
Ultimately, these few principles, I believe can be carried into every transaction with a buyer. If you put these to work, I believe you will find yourself with a better setup with your buyer and proper expectations can be laid out on the front end. So here goes!
- Tip # 1 – The Buyer Consult. Before you do anything… before you go look at houses, before you put in an offer, before you start anything else with your buyers… you have to schedule a Buyer Consult. This is absolutely critical in the process and here’s why. If you go right into the process without having a conversation about the process, you are bound to find yourself in a situation with your clients that you didn’t plan for. Expectations cannot be set with your clients if you never sit down and have a conversation on the front end. Not only do you need to set expectations with them… the buyer consult gives you the opportunity to determine what their expectations are of you as well. This weeks freebie will be a list of questions to ask buyers during the buyer consult. These questions will help you both in the Discovery Process. I suggest you sit down, think through the kinds of questions and scenarios you might want to go over with your buyer and write down some of your own questions. Be on the lookout for that this Wednesday.
- Tip # 2 – The Buyer- Realtor Relationship. Your client’s don’t know what they don’t know. It is likely they’ve done this at least one time before. (Unless of course they are first time home-buyers). But having bought or sold a home one time before doesn’t make them an expert in the home buying process. You are the expert. You’ve been trained. You are constantly being educated on new trends in the market, new ways to go about searching for homes, and new methods of negotiation. You are the professional and you’ve done this a few times already. Set the expectation on the front end of what you can bring to the table as an experienced professional. This is not gloating or being arrogant. You want your buyer to know that you are here to help them. So lay out for them an understanding of what you do on a daily basis. Set the tone for the relationship as the neighborhood expert and the professional negotiator. Help them understand the benefit of having you on their side.
- Tip # 3 – The Buyer Beware Truth Vs Lie. There is a saying out there for “Buyers to beware”. This comes from an unfortunate reality in this business which is this: Things aren’t always how they appear! I’ve been in homes that have been “flipped” for a quick profit by a crafty seller, only to find out that the house was beautified on the surface but other issues were ignored that had far more significant value. Education your buyer on the importance of having a Home Inspection done. Let them know about the number of different inspections they may need to have and the cost associated with those inspections. Talk to them about all of the important aspects of the process that they need to know about so that they aren’t surprised when problems arise. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem. Manage the expectation that the inspection period is not a time for them to nitpick over every tiny repair. If it is a house, it’s going to have flaws sooner or later. What you need to know is whether or not there are any issues of a significant nature that could be grounds for major renovation, repair, or replace within the next few years. Help your buyer beware but not be weary.
- Tip # 4 – The Buyer Emotional Roller Coaster. Emotions are a part of this. There’s no two ways about it. However, everyone needs to be able to think clearly as the process begins, progresses, and eventually closes at the title office. Setting proper expectations on the front end with regards to emotions begins with making sure that all deciding parties are in agreement about what the end goal is. That is why the proper questioning and expectation setting must happen at the beginning of the process. Your buyer is not going to find 100% of what they are looking for and that expectation needs to be set at the beginning. If you can get them 80-90% of the things on their list, then that should be a goal that is set at the front. And you need to ask them if that is ok. If not, then there’s going to be a problem every time your buyer settles in on a house. Emotions are confusing and deceptive. A clear head is needed to think through the process and to assist your buyer in making a rational, logical decision that both makes sense and feels good to their senses. Expect the ups and downs for your client and try to be a neutral party when it comes to emotions. Your buyer needs you to be steady when the problems arise. They need you to help them solve the issues that arise and confidently lead them into the next phase of their process.
I know I get this all wrong every time. Can I admit that I have failed in every area of what I’m sharing with you here today? But that doesn’t mean that we don’t keep trying to nail this down. It is so important to set proper expectations with your clients so that you can serve them better and educate them on the process of buying a home. Your job is not simply to get them into a home. It is to help them process all of the emotions, the decisions, the problems, and the solutions that are going to arise as you work towards the goal of closing on a home for them.
By setting proper expectations with your buyer, you set yourself apart as a professional and as a public servant. What we do in business carries with us into every aspect of our relationships in our community at large. Never forget the importance of building trust with your clients. You’ll find yourself in a much better place as a thriving buyer representative. And you’ll have a long line of satisfied clients to show for it.
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