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In case you just woke up from a long, long sleep, today’s housing market is extremely competitive for homebuyers. How are your buyer’s agents doing? Do you have the tools to help them succeed? To help managing brokers support their buyer’s agents in these challenging times, I would like to share a few insights we gained from our annual membership survey, plus several related recommendations that we are discussing in our member communications.

Each year, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) asks its members about their buyer business. Members have found the survey beneficial for comparing their experiences to buyer’s agents in other markets.

What’s Holding Buyers Back?
ABR® designees have cited “inventory issues” as their buyers’ top concern for nearly a decade. That is not new information; it has been a persistent and growing problem. You should know that nine out of 10 members place inventory issues among buyers’ top three difficulties.

Buyer’s or Seller’s Market?
Of course, inadequate inventory gives sellers the upper hand. You are most likely experiencing this first-hand—and perhaps at unprecedented levels—given our survey results.

So how bad is it? When asked to describe their current market conditions, 80% of our members said they were in a strong seller’s market, and another 14% indicated that their market favored sellers. Conversely, only 6% of respondents said that their market is balanced or favors buyers.

Solutions?
Since it will take time for the current situation to normalize, we all need to find ways to manage and succeed in the current market. Here is a summary of some of the suggestions we have provided at our monthly Real Talk about Real Estate events, in our membership newsletter and other communications:

Shape buyers’ expectations. Help them understand what they are up against. In today’s market, you are likely not going to win on price; winning means getting a home.

Strategize with your buyers. First, respect their limitations and do not show buyers houses that are beyond their budget. While the agent might think they are expanding choices, it is discouraging, and it damages trust. Also, educate buyers thoroughly on their negotiating options so they are prepared to move quickly and maximize their offer.

Sharpen your pricing skills. It is much harder to establish home values when prices are rapidly increasing. Buyers are relying on your pricing expertise to ensure they do not overpay or get left behind.

Gain an edge with financing. Help buyers select from lenders who consistently reach the closing table without hassle or delay, and who can vouch for the buyer’s strong financial standing. Also, explore alternative financing options that may help buyers compete against cash buyers more effectively.

Be patient and persistent. Optimism is the secret sauce for today’s markets. More than anything, do not give up. Clients love someone who will fight for them.

Additional Insights
Stay tuned for next month’s column where I will share more insider perspectives from our survey.

Marc D. Gould is the senior vice president of Member Development and oversees the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), the largest association of professionals focused on representing buyers. REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation. Learn more at abr.realtor.

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