As you know, the first step to working with any good buyer client is pre-qualification. You and your agents may have a formal process in place to vet potential clients, or you may approach this on a case-by-case basis. Much like the listing presentation on the seller side, the pre-qualification interview is your chance to sell your firm, your knowledge and your skills, while at the same time, making sure you’re dealing with serious buyers. You and your agents need to be prepared to not only ask the right questions, but to also have the right answers. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation provides tools and training to help.
An obvious first step is getting to know your potential clients. Help your agents prepare a set of stock questions that cover all the bases, especially if your market has any uncommon characteristics or if buyers are looking at a new type of property. Remember that while your agents are interviewing the buyer to see if they’re serious about purchasing a home, the buyer is also interviewing your agent to see if they can become their trusted real estate advisor. Be prepared with answers. In addition to the knowledge and skills picked up while earning the ABR®, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) has developed a multitude of resources to help explain the home-buying process, including detailed scripts and a variety of consumer one-sheets—handouts addressing specific topics in buyer brokerage that can either be printed or incorporated into an electronic presentation.
To help articulate the benefits of buyer representation and go over agency disclosure, REBAC created an easy-to-follow, 10-step Home Buyer’s Toolkit. This customizable booklet explains each chapter in the purchase of a home.
If the buyer has a budget in mind, this is a good time to use an online mortgage calculator for some “back of the napkin” number crunching. For first-time buyers, or those looking to buy a different type of property such as new construction or a condominium, make sure the budget includes all potential fees and costs that the buyer might not have considered. As the market expert, you can then let them know their options at a price point they can afford. To help you prepare, REBAC offers monthly webinars on topics of interest to buyer agents where you and your team can ask questions directly to experts. Additionally, the monthly Today’s Buyer Rep newsletter covers the latest market trends and timely topics, keeping you abreast of what’s happening in the industry.
We all know turning a prospect into a client isn’t easy. Making sure your team is prepared and trained when talking to potential buyers should increase your company’s sales results. Those REALTORS® who earned their ABR® have the right training and tools to separate themselves from others.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.
For more information, visit www.REBAC.net.