The spring selling season is upon us, and while it’s traditionally the busiest time of year for real estate, this spring promises to be even more competitive than usual—particularly for first-time home buyers. With ultra-tight inventory and continually increasing home prices, it’s imperative that your buyers be ready to make an offer and move forward on a purchase contract at a moment’s notice.
“Beyond educating your buyers about the realities of current market conditions, it’s helpful to counsel them through the ‘identifying wants versus needs’ process—ideally before they start viewing homes and become overwhelmed,” says Lou Nimkoff, CCIM, CPM, president of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association in Orlando, Fla. “There’s no time in a tight market for leisurely decision-making or waffling.” Nimkoff offers these tips for making your buyers the most prepared they can be.
- Discuss the contingencies your client is willing to waive ahead of time. If you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation, buyers who can make concessions regarding inspection results and repairs and who can be flexible about the closing timeline likely will be in a stronger negotiation position than other buyers. Ironing this out with your client before you go on showings will enable him or her to make their best offer first when the time comes.
- Be ready to offer a rent-back agreement. Sellers who plan to purchase another home are going to have as difficult a time finding a place in this tight-inventory environment as your buyers. Offering sellers the option to rent back their home after closing so they can stay longer while they look for another home can make your buyer stand out. Talk with your buyers up front about their current living arrangements and whether they can be flexible on the time frame for moving in.
- Help buyers be financially prepared beyond the mortgage preapproval letter. Your clients must have credit issues cleared up and deposit and down payment funds in hand when they make an offer. If there is anything in their financial profile that could stall a transaction, point them to credit counselors and other professionals who can work with them to remove all obstacles before they go looking for a home.