New Years Day has always been an interesting holiday, inherently spent reflecting on my plans, goals and aspirations for the coming year. This years freeze outside has us inside watching “Texas Flip and Move” on the DIY network. Watching various groups of low budget, virtually no profit developers go about planning rennovation projects of homes that have to be moved with virtually no professional assistance makes me cringe inside. After weeks of work, profits are small. It got me thinking about the home buying process for our normal, non-televised buyers, and what we as Realtors bring to the table.
Surveys from the National Association of Realtors tell us that the buyer perspective is that the number 1 thing buyer’s agents do is find the house. Obviously finding the right house is important, and Realtors have tremendous resources and opportunities to find homes, but the truth is that finding the house is almost always a team effort. The role the agent has in the process does vary depending upon how involved the buyer’s want to be, and how much they want their agent involved. Some buyer’s, despite having help from their buyer’s agent, don’t even look at searches from the agent, but rely on mobile apps or advertising sites like Realtor.com, Zillow and even other agents websites. The problem with buyer’s doing more leg-work, is that, more often than not, they find homes that are already sold, aren’t for sale, or don’t even meet their own criteria. On many occasions, a passionate, and even ANGRY client emails me asking, “WHY HASN’T THIS HOME COME UP ON MY SEARCH ?” (from the MLS). It takes a minute, but with one exception, it is always because the home was excluded because of the limitations the buyer’s have given me, or the home is no longer available. One time the home was sold 5 years earlier! After hundreds of experiences and many years in the business, there’s no shortage of stories. With home buying and selling being such an emotional process, its alway serious business, but in retrospect can be funny too.
No transaction is ever the same, and some buyer’s need support in areas that don’t even exist with other transactions. From my experience, I say the number 1 thing that we do to help buyer’s is ESTABLISHING A STRATEGY. To me, this outranks several other super important things we do, like NEGOTIATIONS, house finding, etc. because meeting with a buyer’s agent before the home search process begins and establishing a well thought out BUYING STRATEGY helps the licensed professional to factor in the importance of every facet of the home buying process. Often times, in establishing a strategy, the agent discovers some of the ideas the buyer may have that are absolutely unrealistic. Achieving a buyer’s ideals sounds super duper important. It is, but if they want a condominium in a city where condominiums don’t exist, or they want to build new construction, but don’t have a down-payment, they could be setting themselves up for misery down the road.
So STRATEGIZE. That’s the deal. What better time to talk STRATEGY than New Years Day.
If you know a person interested in starting the buying process, most likely their idea may be to wait until spring time. Their ideal could be to wait to contact an agent (or not contact an agent at all) until they see the PERFECT HOME at an open house. To me, this is like showing up at a gun fight -thinking that you’ll have time to shop for a gun. We experience this all the time. In today’s market, that’s usually a non-starter. When we list a property, we first let all our buyers know about it, then post it on agent only “coming soon” sites, then calling or texting our colleagues to let them know what it is and when its coming. This is the new normal. During the spring and summer months, we sometimes have multiple buyers lined up before the ink is dry, so at the first open house, we have buyers and agents circling like hungry sharks. When the unrepresented buyer shows up at the end of the day starting to sheepishly ask questions, it may already be sold.
The point is that if you’re like me, and you’re sitting around reflecting on what 2018 brings, and you HAPPEN TO BE considering a home purchase, MAKE THE CALL THIS WEEK! It doesn’t hurt anyone to plan ahead. Share you’re ideas with an agent 3-6 months before the search to take advantage of the experience of your soon to be agent and work out a strategy that works in the world that you are buying in. Sign an exclusive buyer’s agency agreement, so that you’re on the ‘radar’ of a real estate professional when they start hearing about homes that match your ‘perfect home’. Interestingly, since we’ve been in the business, buyers strategies have changed many times. The market your friend, pastor, personal trainer, psychic, or parents bought in may be TOTALLY DIFFERENT than today’s market, so the strategy they give you might suck. Don’t make the last one to find out your game plan be your Realtor!