There are very few things in the course of life that can be as exciting as the prospect of owning your first home. With all of the opportunities available for first time home buyers they are out in greater numbers than have been in many years. Achieving the dream of home ownership is one of the most wonderful realizations of success for people, and for first time home buyers the market is better than it ever has been before. Working with a first time home buyer is different in many ways from working with an existing homeowner. One of the greatest differences being how much fun finding someone their first home can be. The rewards of working with first time buyers can go way beyond the commission check!
The First-time Home Buyer Offers Agents and Brokers an Incredible Opportunity Today!
The circumstances of the first time home owner can be completely varied from the family that is just getting started to the ones that never dreamed they could own a home until they discovered that the government could help them. Single parents, young families and lifelong renters all have more opportunity than ever, and that creates more opportunities for real estate agents that have what it takes to meet the needs of the first time home buyer. Not only will those agents that have what it takes prosper financially with the clients taking advantage of the help for the first time home buyer, they are also rewarded emotionally. Real estate agents are uniquely compensated by getting paid to be a part of realizing people’s dreams of finally owning their first home.
First time home buyers bring a joy and excitement to a real estate transaction that can make the job one of the most personally satisfying careers around. Being a pivotal part in helping someone reach this dream can be a welcome change from the more business side of repeat real estate clients. The emotional payoff for finding someone their very first home can be equally as rewarding as the commissions available with the sheer number of first time home buyers flooding the market with the available tax incentives. Being a part of this experience with your client is an important part of selling a first time home buyer. This is a scary and wonderful step in their lives and they will want you to be as excited as they are. Closing your sale will depend upon whether or not your clients feel that you do treat the transaction as though it were your first family home.
Know Your Client’s Individual Needs
Sharing in the excitement of a first time home buyer is one of the perks of a successful real estate agent. As a real estate agent you know that every client is different. Every potential home buyer that comes through the door will have individual needs. They all have different personalities and they need to be serviced in different ways in order to meet their needs. This is most especially true when it comes to the first time home buyer. These clients will need a great deal more assistance and support from their real estate agent. First time home buyers will all require a real estate agent that has the patience and dedication to hold their clients hand through the overwhelming and sometimes very difficult to understand process that is purchasing a home. Many of them have no clue what to expect and are counting on a real estate professional to help to educate them on the home buying process and steer them in the right direction. Even the clients that think that they know everything because they have researched it on the internet will need a professional to be there when they find out that they do not.
Be a Patient Hand-holder
Being there to help clients through the steps of buying their first home without being overbearing or condescending is a lot more difficult than one might think. It is especially hard when you have many years of knowledge and experience in your field and you are genuinely doing what is best yet with no real estate experience at all they are questioning everything that you are suggesting in their best interest. As frustrating as it can get, it is the real estate agents responsibility to make certain that the first time home buyer understands the process from preapproval for a mortgage to closing escrow. For those that want to be educated, the frustration may stem from being asked the same questions repeatedly. No matter what the personality of the individual, whether you would consider them a nervous buyer or a know-it-all, the first time home buyer will always require more personal care than a seasoned home owner.
First time home buyers will usually fall under one of the two aforementioned categories. There is the one that spent a couple of hours online and is ready for his real estate license. This is the know-it-all home buyer. They have carefully researched the process and will have an opinion on every thought the agent has. These clients can often be more problematic than those that know nothing at all about the process involved with the purchase of a home, mainly because you will have to sell them much more than their first home, you will have to sell them every idea that you have individually and convince them that you really do know what you are doing. They are probably the most nervous type of buyer trying to remove all risk with research. For everything that you bring up to them they will have to research it and get back to you with their thoughts. They have seen every show on the Home and Garden Network and have convinced themselves that they will have to have their own best interests at heart because no one else will. It will be up to you to gain their trust and convince them that you are there for them.
Then there are other types of first time home buyers that are the nervous ones. These are the clients that have no idea what to expect and most of them are terrified. This type of fear and insecurity can translate generally in one of two ways.
First there are the clients that ask questions about everything. These clients can be quite trying as many times they will ask the same questions over and over again or simply be unsure of anything as they try to consider every angle or possible downside to the transaction. These first time home buying clients will need you to give them the knowledge and security to make the scary decisions. To close the deal with these clients you will need to be there to answer every question as many times as they need to ask it and give them a level of comfort to ease their nerves
Then there are the nervous clients that question nothing at all. This is a completely different kind of difficult client because it is you that will have to ask a million questions just to get a feel for what they want. Clients that have a million questions are often easier to deal with. Although they can be more high maintenance, a good real estate agent can take these questions and really gets a handle on what the client wants and what they need. The clients that ask few questions or no questions at all can be very difficult to get a read on. You will have to be persistent in your questioning in order to get to know what the client is all about. Knowing what they say they want is necessary to sell them a home, but knowing what they want when they are not sure is imperative to becoming a great real estate agent. If you do not take the time to get to know the first time home buyer, you will spend a great deal of time taking your clients on extended tours of the lovely homes in your area and you will never sell a house. You must get to know the client in order to know what property on your inventory is just right for them. A great real estate agent has a blank canvas with a first time home buyer. It is the professional real estate agents job to find their clients the property that best meets their needs. In order to understand what best meets their needs you will need to know what those needs are.
Get to Know Your Client Well – and Quickly!
Knowing what personality type you are dealing with in your first time buyer is the first and most important stage of the sale. Closing the deal will require that you adjust your personality to compliment that of your client. You must clearly understand who your audience is in order to help them make the best decision for themselves. How the sale will get to the closing table will be different for each personality type and how successful you are in representing your first time home buyer as their real estate agent will be a direct result of how well you understand who they are and what they are looking for.
When first time buyers choose a real estate agent, they are looking for someone that will understand what is important to them. They will need to trust that you are on their side. For the first time buyer it is your availability and understanding that will foster the trust that they will require in their agent. They will need to be able to contact you at anytime with any question, and there will be many of them with the first time home buyer. As mentioned before, patience is the key to the first time buyer. This is, as mentioned earlier, the largest purchase that many people will ever make and they should be able to ask as many questions as they need to in order to feel comfortable.
Be Knowledgeable – Know Your Market Well
It is also imperative to a first time home owner that the real estate agent that they choose is knowledgeable about their specialty. Knowing your area and inventory are urgent when instilling confidence in the first time home buyer. They will want to know everything about the neighborhoods and residences that you are showing them and you will be expected to have all of the answers without making the client feel as though they know nothing. Confidence without being condescending is what they are looking for in an agent. You will need to know every detail there is to know about every property at a moment’s notice. They are counting on you to be their advocate and have their best interests at heart.
Be Up-To-Date Regarding First-Time Home Buyer Programs
Your clients will also expect that you be knowledgeable about all of the available first time home buyers programs and what their requirements are. The details of the federal first time home buyers tax incentives and what your clients need to do in order to qualify will without a doubt be questions that your client will have for you. You should also know what state assistance is available for your clients to take advantage of. To secure the trust of a first time home buyer you must let them know that you are there to help them in every step of the home buying process, including finding them any incentives or benefits to help them qualify for the purchase.
Put Yourself in Your Clients Shoes
When you have been in real estate for a while you can sometimes lose sight of what it feels like not to understand the home buying process. It is important that you remember what it was like to buy your first home before you knew how real estate transactions worked. To be successful with first time home buyers you should not lose the feeling of excitement that you felt when you walked into the house that you knew would be your first home. You should always remember how that excitement gave way to nerves and second guessing everything once you had not seen the home for a few days and you began to get into the details of the transaction. Do not forget the fear that you felt the first time you saw the stack of paperwork that required your signature or the total interest on a truth in lending statement. These are all very real and valid feelings, fears and concerns of the first time home buyer. Keeping those feelings close to you will make you a much more successful real estate agent with this clientele.
Protect Your Client
For the sake of your first time clients you should keep in mind how easy it is to get in over your head as a first time home buyer. As their advocate it is your responsibility to give them the benefit of your experience and knowledge of the real estate market to keep them from getting in too deep. Although many times you will have to fight a client to keep them from doing so, it is really in your own best interest as a real estate agent to ensure that you place clients into a home that they will not be able to continue to pay for once the deal closes.
Many of the current issues in the real estate market can be traced back to buyers that got in over their heads in real estate purchases. First time home buyers are especially susceptible to this situation since they often times do not have an accurate picture of the costs associated with homeownership. They will often bite off much more than they can chew comfortably and this places them in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. Foreclosures directly affect the value of homes in the market that you are working in, so it is a best practice benchmark as a first rate real estate agent that you keep your clients within a range of homes that they can maintain the mortgages that they will need to hold.
Make a Life-Long Customer and be Rewarded With Referrals
As a successful real estate agent you understand the importance of properly marketing yourself. Your ability to convince people that above any other you are the one that can best meet their needs is the difference between prosperity and bankruptcy for a real estate agent, especially in a tough economy. Being certain that you meet the needs of your first time home buyer clients now will ensure that you have a customer in the future. If you take care of your clients best interest on their first home purchase, you have a client for life. Take care of people in this fragile and overwhelming time and they will come back to you for every move they make in the future.
More than just the repeat business from the first time buyer, they will tell everyone they know about the experience of purchasing their first home. People that have good experiences with their real estate agent when they buy their first home will tell all of their friends and recommend them their agent. Becoming a homeowner for the first time is an exciting experience for your clients and they will share the details with everyone. If you have taken good care of them, a happy first time home buyer will be a tremendous source of new business for you as they show off their new home to everyone they know.
Conversely, it is important to remember that those first time home buyers that have had bad experiences with their real estate agent will tell everyone that will listen to them. There are few things as detrimental to a sales career than an unhappy client, especially when the sales are residential homes and the unhappy client was buying their first home. Although when real estate is your everyday business it seems commonplace, it is the single most important purchase that any first time home buyer has made in their lifetime. If your first time clients do not feel that you have been sensitive to that, you may unleash a stream of bad word of mouth that will not translate into commissions.
First time home buyers can be a handful for a real estate agent, but for a good agent they are worth every minute. If you will take the extra time with them, you can count on a steady stream of business from them. They are also a test of the skills of a real estate agent. The first time home buyer will require you to be at the top of your game. You will have to know your inventory homes as well as where to find those hidden gems that will make you a hero when you far exceed the client’s expectations. Knowing area details like where the best shopping is, where the schools are and where to find the nearest hospitals will also be expected of you by your first time home buyer. To get a first time home buyer to the closing table, you will need to know the answer to all of their questions before they have even asked them. Preparation for your client meeting should include extensive research on the properties and neighborhoods you will be showing them.
The recent economic breakdown has created a devastating lull in the real estate market that brought home sales to an almost complete stop. In a restructuring market that is geared toward first time home buyers as the key to reigniting home sales, you will have to be skilled in the art of working with the first time home buyer in order to succeed in this economy. Simply remembering what it was like when you made your first real estate purchase can go a long way toward building the rapport needed to sell a first time home buyer. You will find that once this rapport is established, the first time home buyer is a great client base to work with that will continue to be an indirect source of income for you as they refer you to everyone they know that needs the services of a real estate agent.
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About David Goldstein — David Goldstein is an Owner and Founding Partner of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.