By Deborah Ball Kearns, RE/MAX Editor
Many buyers seem to fall into two categories: those who fall in love with every house they see, and those who find countless reasons why each house isn’t perfect. It’s up to you, however, to find out what’s coloring their opinions and set them straight, says Rachel Hausman.
Brutally honest and not shy to speak her mind, Hausman approaches her clients much like everything else in her life: she doesn’t sugarcoat her opinions. She takes this direct approach with a young couple in an episode of HGTV’s "House Hunters," which aired Monday.
The buyers were looking to relocate from Boston to Buffalo Grove, Ill., to be closer to family. But they were sticklers on price, and Hausman had her work cut out for her; she relied heavily on her market expertise and research to help the couple see that their perceptions about the market didn’t jive with reality.
"Their price range was up to $250,000, but the husband didn’t want to spend more than $210,000; it’s a common thing with buyers who think they can submit lowball offers to get bargains in this market," says Hausman, a Team Member with RE/MAX Experts in Buffalo Grove. "I always showed them comps so they could understand that you can’t expect to get a low offer accepted when there were multiple offers at or above asking price."
Find out which home they choose and how Hausman makes it happen by tuning in to tonight’s episode.
Here are Hausman’s five tips for helping buyers navigate the home search while keeping everyone’s expectations on track:
1. Connect with them immediately. Sure, you can respond to and send emails all day long, but what impresses buyers most is if you meet with them face-to-face. Make the connection quickly, or they’ll go on to the next agent. When you can sit down with someone and show them that you know what you’re talking about, they’ll want to work with you.
2. Invest in technology (and learn how to use it). So many agents have smartphones, but few actually know how to look things up in the MLS quickly to respond to clients’ requests. Clients aren’t going to wait around for you to get home and look for information on a computer, so know how to find what they want, when they want it.
3. Tell them the facts. People are so sick of being sold. They want cold-hard statistics about the market, not flowery details about how amazing a property is. "I treat every house as if I’m doing an objective appraisal, and I let my buyers know the real story when it comes to seller financing issues or if a property isn’t worth the money and time it will take to fix it up."
4. Be honest if they ask what you think. "I’ve lost some clients because I’m very honest (my mom says to a fault) about my opinions on houses, but I don’t believe in staying quiet if I know deep down that a house won’t work for someone – even if they fall in love with it," Hausman says. If you have doubts about a property, ask buyers to share three reasons why they like it so much. Be very honest and communicate (in a tactful way) why you feel a certain property might not work. "Being honest means you care about your clients and that you’re not just after another quick close."
5. Stay in touch, and follow-up. If you don’t follow-up with clients, you’ll fall behind. The Brian Buffini system is a great help, as well as putting everyone on a drip campaign. Referrals are the best form of business, so focus on keeping in touch with your "A" clients. Send handwritten thank-you notes for referrals, as well as restaurant gift cards or other gifts for special occasions. Also, use Facebook! "I stay in touch with clients on Facebook all the time, and I’m always invited to wedding showers, children’s birthdays and other celebrations because of the connections and friendships I continue to cultivate after the transaction has closed," Hausman says.