If you’re helping buyers search for homes remotely, with just a short drive to make their final decision in person, here’s how to create systems and processes to make working with out-of-town buyers more effective, efficient, and rewarding. .
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What has been called the era of “big shakeup” has impacted every aspect of life: careers, offices, housing, consumer goods, the economy, real estate, and the list goes on. The “Great Shake-up” for real estate agents hopefully means expanding clientele to out-of-town transplants.
In our current market, led by national record low inventory, it is crucial to use a detailed game plan when working with out-of-town buyers. Setting aside time to work virtually on the initial steps will save valuable time in person, which should be focused on evaluating properties.
Here are six essential tips to keep in mind before hosting out-of-town buyers.
Get the most out of a virtual intake meeting
Understanding your buyer’s motivations is more important than ever with out-of-town customers. Taking into account the goals of a client is the main objective of the real estate agent when touring numerous properties per day.
Use a virtual intake meeting as a time to fully understand each real estate goal in a calm and quiet environment, and take detailed notes!
Keep your goals in the forefront.
When you finally create a cover page and itinerary for visits, include the purpose of visiting each listed address.
For example, if one of your must-haves is proximity to public transportation, have a bullet point that describes the distance and the name of the closest public transportation option.
If your drive to work is at the forefront, take a few minutes to time each list you’ll see.
Give them an unbiased place to get information.
Neighborhood Guides are an amazing resource for all buyers. It’s not easy to find an unbiased source of relevant information like schools, neighborhood attractions and services, and transportation all in one place.
Printing hard copies is also a great added bonus, as your customers can take notes for quick reference. Many brokerages create their own neighborhood guides for brokers to use, or you can go the extra mile and invest in designing your own.
There’s a fine balance between capitalizing on a visit from an out-of-town shopper and overwhelming them. Eight households a day with a midway lunch is an ideal schedule for the first two days of a three-day visit.
By the third day, you should ideally look at the houses a second time and make the final decisions. You’ll also want to make a lunch reservation at a convenient location and schedule a short coffee break ahead of time.
Consider hiring a car service
If parking is an issue in your area, consider hiring a car service for your client’s visit. It not only saves time and stress, but also allows you to chat with your customers instead of browsing through traffic.
Use a rating system
Use something simple like 1 is terrible, 5 is a dream home and have customers rate a property immediately after they leave. Fours and fives are very rare, so clients should consider writing offers for properties that achieve these ratings.
This numerical framework helps clients gauge their objective and subjective feelings about a home; sometimes customers will say “I love it!” and then rate a property a 2, so this framework helps add clarity for you and your clients as to whether a property is actually a viable option.
After a whirlwind tour, filtering out anything below a 4 will also help ease conversations about deals.
Movement across the country shows no signs of slowing down, so it makes sense to invest in these processes now. In a market where contract buyers with little inventory are hard to come by, implementing systems also helps agents close deals successfully.
Julie Busby is the founder and president of the Busby Group, and is in the top 1 percent of Chicagoland brokers. Follow her on Facebook and LinkedIn.