Over seven million Americans are reported to have lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale from 2007 – 2014, and an estimated 250,000 – 500,000 are beginning to re-enter the market. In all, reports say that half of the 7.3 million will come back to homeownership over the next eight years. These “boomerang buyers” will have a drastic impact on the national housing market and your business. Boomerang buyers are a unique population who may require special knowledge and support from their buyer reps.
Finances will be top-of-mind for boomerang buyers. Your agents should be prepared to engage in discussions about credit strength, the mortgage process, closing costs, or budget. Encourage buyers to get pre-approved so they know what they can spend, but remind them to review their monthly budgets and yearly goals to decide what they can really afford. Shell-shocked buyers may be hesitant to purchase at the top end of their budget, and they may choose a modest home with fewer frills than they were once accustomed to.
Get a support team in place for your boomerang buyers. Solidify relationships with reputable mortgage brokers, inspectors and attorneys in your area so your agents have a list of references on hand. Buyers that have been through a foreclosure or short sale may feel that institutions have failed them in the past; a good support team can eliminate feelings of distrust and build confidence. The right support provides buyers a sense of validation, affirming that they have the financial foundation to secure a home and maintain payments, are purchasing a good quality property, and that the contract will be expertly vetted.
In addition to a powerful support team, boomerang buyers will require specific qualities in their buyer agents. They will want an agent with authority who clearly communicates all the steps of the buying process, from pre-approval to closing. They will value honesty, so don’t sweat it if clients have questions outside of your expertise. Point buyers with questions about PMI to a lender and anyone with plumbing concerns to an inspector, ensuring them that they have an entire support system to address all their concerns. Not only will these buyers appreciate empathy, they want an agent who acknowledges the difficulties they have experienced, and one who anticipates their needs.
ABR®s are known for professionalism and integrity, and boomerang buyers will rely on those qualities. They will also rely on your knowledge, and you already have the tools to support them. Visit the Home Buying Resources section of REBAC.net and click “Finances.” There, you will find information on protecting and building credit, budget, mortgages, and more. Incorporate what you find into your weekly sales meetings, or pass the information along to your agents. Remember that REBAC is here to support you as you support your boomerang buyers.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.
For more information, visit REBAC.net.