Five Tips for a First-Time Home Buyer’s Agent

Five Tips for a First-Time Home Buyer’s Agent

By Greg Cecchettini

 As millennials graduate college and enter adulthood, now is the time many twenty-somethings are gearing up to purchase their first home. But is Gen Y ready to buy?

Here are five tips from RE/MAX INTEGRA, Midwest that any first-time buyer’s agent in the metro area should know.

No. 1 – Timing Is Everything

It is no secret that inventory is low, so making sure your buyer finds the right place at the right time is crucial. Advise your client not to rely on online real estate portals to inform them on what homes are available, rather they should go straight to the source — their local REALTOR®.

“Portal websites are usually stale. Once you find a house on those sites and request a showing, chances are it’s already sold,” said RE/MAX Professionals broker Justin Fox.

Agents should be sure their clients narrow their search criteria to a few neighborhoods that they’ve researched and selected as top choices. You and your buyer should focus on those areas so that when a house becomes available they can move on it … fast.

No. 2 – Buyers Should Secure Financing Before They Begin Searching

It’s a seller’s market and that means when a property becomes available – it goes fast. “If your client’s finances are not in order before you begin looking for a home, they might end up disappointed,” said Fox. “Once the offer is accepted, the balls start rolling really fast. With so many people maneuvering for the same home there is no time to waste.”

Pro Tip: Advise your client to have a preapproval letter in place before putting down the first offer. Otherwise, someone else will get the sale. There’s no time to wait for conversations with the lender – they will almost always lose out to another buyer.

No. 3 – Prepare Your Client to Put Their Best Foot Forward on an Offer

If you’re putting an offer on a home that’s new on the market, make sure your buyer understands that the sellers aren’t going to be coming down much from the list price. It’s also very likely that there will be multiple offers. Homes in the metro area aren’t staying on the market long and it’s common to see multiple showings going on at the same time. In short, don’t let your client start with an offer you know is too low and hope for the best.

No. 4 – Know What They’re Looking for … But Keep Their Options Open

Is your buyer willing to live outside of their “dream” neighborhood? Willing to take on a fixer upper? Yard or no yard? These are all questions that you should be asking your client. But also be ready to offer up new and creative ideas that are a little outside of the box. Many first-time homebuyers are looking for homes that are move in ready with all of the necessary amenities. While the days of buying a fixer upper to build equity are seemingly long gone, there are still a handful of millennials who don’t mind a project. Make sure you know exactly what your buyer is looking for before you start searching so that you can focus on finding the perfect house for your client.

No. 5 – The Value of a REALTOR®

Many people view buying a home as just searching online, calling the seller’s agent and making an offer, and once that offer is accepted the process is done. Wrong. There’s a lot more to consider than just the sales price – and buyers need to be made aware. Among a list of many things, a REALTOR® knows how to guide their client through the process in order to get the best deal for them.

REALTORS® also have a more discerning eye when going through a house. As an advocate for the buyer, you want the best possible house for your client. In the frenzy of buying a first home, many buyers aren’t looking at the details that a REALTOR® will pick up on. As there are so many variables when buying a home, it is much easier and safer when a buyer has a REALTOR® advocating for them. According to a 2015 NAR Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 88 percent of buyers would use their REALTOR® again or recommend their REALTOR® to others.

Greg Cecchettini, director of Franchise Development RE/MAX INTEGRA, Midwest, oversees the management of franchise relationships including renewals, business planning, recruiting and retention assistance, market share and agent data analysis, and the expansion of the RE/MAX system through franchise sales, M&As and conversions. Greg has been with RE/MAX North Central since October 1998. Prior to RE/ MAX Greg held various positions within the Century 21 system and, prior to that, was involved in companies within the MLS industry. Greg received his bachelor’s degree in business and finance from University of St. Thomas.