January 2021

5 tips for being the go-to agent for first-time buyers

When advising new homebuyers, your expertise and understanding can make all the difference. By helping your clients make the right decisions now, they can thrive in their first home for years to come — until they're ready to move up and look to you for buying guidance once again. These five tips can help.

Get to know your clients.

They're usually upfront about their basic needs, like a price range and location. But it pays to dig deeper: Do they cook often, want a patio for entertaining or think they'll need another bedroom in the near future? Demonstrating that you care builds confidence and trust.

Help your clients focus their home search.

Now, with most homebuyers looking online, which is a great way to compare properties, don't let them be taken in by well-designed listings or virtual tours. Make sure they pay attention to important but easily overlooked details, like the age of the home, real estate taxes and possible homeowner association fees. At some point, in-home visits to their top prospects will likely be necessary.

Be upfront about the condition of the homes.

When your clients fall in love with a house, help them keep their feet on the ground. Share any information you have about the health of the home, such as the age of the roof and quality of kitchen appliances, and whether any home improvements have been done. Be sure to pay attention to the home's plumbing, wiring and HVAC.

Introduce your client to their neighborhood.

They're not just moving into a home, but becoming part of a community. Do your homework. Find out how close they'll be to schools, parks and day care centers. Consider local traffic and noise levels. Plus, learn how easy it will be to get to frequent destinations, including the grocery store, restaurants, places of worship, shopping malls and anything else of importance to your client.

Connect them to a reputable home inspector.

Emphasize the importance of hiring an established inspector by ensuring your clients choose a member of the American Society of Home Inspectors.Footnote1 Explain that a home inspector looks for hidden problems before the closing, including signs of mold, asbestos or radon, and that the seller is usually responsible for repairs.

As your client's advocate, these are some of the more important items you can address. The more forthcoming you are, the more trust you'll build, and the likelier they'll be to pass on the good word about their favorite real estate agent.

I'm here to help

I'd be happy to discuss loan prequalificationFootnote2 and preapprovalFootnote3 with any of your clients.

1 "20 Things to Do Before Buying a House," Maximum Exposure Real Estate, Bill Gassett, March 14, 2016.

2 Prequalification is neither preapproval nor a commitment to lend; borrower must submit additional information for review and approval.

3 Final loan approval is subject to satisfactory appraisal and title review and no change in borrower credit and financial condition. Preapproval is subject to terms and conditions and timely submission of required documentation; ask your Lending Specialist for details. Preapproval does not commit to the continued availability of the loan program. The interest rate shown in a preapproval is based on current market rates and is not locked. You may choose to lock an interest rate after we receive the complete and executed purchase contract. Borrower must submit purchase contract within 90 days of preapproval. If the rate at time of lock is higher, or a rate lock expires prior to funding, or for adjustable-rate loan programs when the index value rises, we must determine your ability to repay the loan at the higher rate, which may lower the loan amount or invalidate the preapproval. Not available on all loan products. Not available on refinance loans.

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