By Geneva Ives
There are hundreds of articles dedicated to helping seller’s agents ready their listings for home showings and open houses. Seller’s agents can use these resources to learn how to stage a house, scent or un-scent a room and even serve the most appealing refreshments. But what about buyer’s agents? Are they expected to hit the open road with a car full of strangers, a cheery disposition and a printout out of listings – with nothing else to guide them?
Not anymore. We’ve compiled a list of home showing best practices for buyer’s agents. Use these five simple tips to embrace your role as a home tour guide and make your clients feel at ease, ultimately translating into a smoother transaction.
Do Your Homework
Before you head out to look at homes with your clients, be sure you have selected homes that are at least in the ballpark. This refers not only to their budget – although you should definitely be mindful of price range – but also to their personal taste. You don’t want to visit five places only to have them turn down three of them on sight. Talking with your prospects to get a feel for their taste and budget before showing them houses will save you both time in the long run. Another efficiency tip: gather all of the listings agents’ contact info in advance so you can make a quick call or send a text message if any questions come up during the day.
Your car or mine? Or both? In the past it was common for real estate agents to drive their clients to showings, but contemporary agents have to be flexible. Some people, particularly couples, prefer to drive themselves so they can enjoy private time to discuss what they’ve seen. But if your buyers do want you to provide the transportation, great! Take the scenic route, point out the area’s best features and get some insights into their lifestyle that may eventually help you close the sale. Just make sure your car is clean, gassed up and (do we really need to say this?) odor-free.
Bring Your A-Game
Home showings give you the chance to impress prospects and clients with your professionalism and market savvy. Don’t be the agent that gets lost on the way to a listing and then shuffles through a stack of papers upon arrival. Technology can significantly streamline the home showing experience. Map your every move using GPS and download productivity apps to keep you on track in the field. To streamline, check out the ShowHome iPad app to help you tour multiple properties. It enables you to access detailed listing information, browse high resolution photo galleries and collect feedback. After showings, you can easily send your clients branded PDF reports containing all property information.
As the buyer’s agent, you want to walk your client through each listing in whatever manner works for them. If they are first time buyers, you may need to encourage them to open closet doors, and you should point out under-the-radar features, like windows that are painted shut or a new water heater. If they are experienced or aloof buyers, you might work just as hard. You’ll have to keep busy without overwhelming them while they look around, and you may need to run interference if the seller or seller’s agent happens to be on site.
Regroup and Review
Plan to stop for coffee after any home showings – particularly if your buyers viewed more than one listing. This is a golden opportunity to sit down with your clients and reassess their priorities. Perhaps they passed a new neighborhood they’re interested in or maybe they’ve realized that a fireplace isn’t as important to them as a roomy kitchen. If any listing you visited made it into their top three, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and formulate an action plan.
Geneva Ives is the marketing writer for Point2.
For more information, visit www.Point2.com.
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