We’ve never heard a buyer say, “Boy, I wish this process was longer!” and we bet you haven’t either.
Since everyone (you included) wants to close deals faster, check out some new approaches and helpful reminders to get keys in the hands of new buyers sooner.
1. Make Sure Your Buyers Are Pre-Approved
This one’s pretty obvious. After all, when you’re wandering around Best Buy looking at TVs that are too big for your living room, what is your response when someone asks you if you need help? “No thanks, just looking right now.” That is fine for flat screens, but not for your home buyers!
Buyers who aren’t serious about the process are time wasters for you and everyone else involved. Gauge your buyer’s readiness by their pre-approval status.
Always remember: “If they’ve been to the bank, they are ready to crank.”
2. Have a Pre-Property-Viewing Counseling Session
When you go to the grocery store without a list you always wind up with vegetables you never eat and without the Diet Coke you were supposed to replace.
You can always run back to the store for Diet Coke, but the problem of a house that doesn’t meet your client’s long-term needs is much trickier to resolve.
Sit down with your clients prior to seeing ANY properties and have good conversations about what they want out of their next home. Go over their expectations and get on the same page. This will ensure that every property you are showing them is actually one they would consider writing an offer on.
3. Feeling Social? Your Clients Are
Some of your clients, especially Millennials (and younger now, gasp!) use social media way more than we do, and they aren’t just talking about Fortnite and playing Candy Crush. For many of the next generation of home buyers, social media has replaced email, phone calls, even text messages.
If you can’t get your client to pick up the phone for a quick question, but they will Snap you back in 30 seconds, by all means, snap away. Connecting on these platforms is great for timesaving communication, and definitely good for building and maintaining a relationship that will deliver you referrals down the road.
Just remember to document these interactions in your CRM. A affordable CRM like Insightly, which is FREE up to two users, has places to record these social media conversations, and will link your contacts directly with their social media information.
4. Get Savvy With Showing Schedulers
More and more major brokers and local associations are moving to showing schedulers rather than relying on an admin in a local office. These systems are efficient and easy, and typically have an app that allows you to schedule a showing in the time it takes to wait for the traffic light to change.
If you are new to these systems, check out Showing Time, it’s a great place to start. On the ShowingTime App, you can schedule showings (obvs), review the upcoming showings scheduled on your listings, forward feedback to clients, all without even taking your earbuds out.
5. Email Drip is Still Hip
You may think that email drip campaigns stop when you convert a prospect into a client, but you’re wrong! Drip campaigns are fantastic for keeping your clients prepared for each step in the home buying process.
You can craft standard emails for each step towards the purchase of a home and then auto-fill them with your clients’ information. A click of a button advances them in the email funnel and assigns them different lead classifications, saving you precious time.
6. Only Look at Homes That Meet Your Buyers’ Needs
Thanks to the internet and sites like Zillow, clients have access to images and information from every single property listed on the market today, including the ones they will never, ever be able to afford but still WANT.
Remember that pre-property-viewing counseling session we talked about in tip #2? In that session you can find out the absolute must-haves for your buyers. If a home doesn’t check those must-have boxes, it doesn’t make the list, regardless of “how perfect that kitchen is.”
Trust us, they will thank you later.
7. Consider Investing in a Wi-Fi Hotspot
How often have you been sitting in the car with a client, trying to show them photos and look at the seller’s disclosure statements for the home you just drove past and said, “I wish I could show them these things on a iPad and not my phone.”
With a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can turn your car (or anywhere) into an office.
The cost for this technology has come down significantly in recent years. After some quick research, we found you can get the hotspot itself for less than $50, and 1.5 gigs of data per month with no contract for around $25 a month.
8. Have a Dedicated ‘Client Device’
Remember last weekend, when you handed your clients a binder full of paper before a big day of showings? Info sheets, printed pictures, disclosure statements; there’s a ton of paperwork that goes along with buying a house.
Imagine how slick you’d look if you handed your client a tablet with all the documents pre-loaded, including photos of each property? This way, when you are standing in the living room of house #3 and your client says “I wish I could compare this side-by-side with living room #1,” you can do just that.
When you’ve finished your showings for the day and you are having your end of the day wrap-up conversation, this is also a great tool to have. Being able to refer back to everything you’ve seen on one device keeps the conversation focused and moving towards writing offers.
9. Use a Digital Signature Program to Put Offers Together Quickly
When your clients are ready to offer, time is of the essence. In a competitive property situation, seconds may matter as multiple people might be submitting offers.
No matter how competitive you are, the longer the time between when a clients says “Let’s write an offer” and when you actually put pen to paper, the more time that client has to get cold feet.
Eliminate this gap with a digital signature program like DotLoop. On Dotloop, you can create templates with all your local MLS board’s boilerplate documents, pull them up on any device and input the relevant information, and send them to any client with a smartphone for their digital signature.
10. Make Your Offers as Competitive as Possible
Many buyers think that they are going to save money by starting low. Let me rephrase that…Some buyers think they are going to save a LOT of money by starting REALLY low.
We’ve all had buyers like this. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you will.
In reality, this lowballing approach typically results in less successful transactions and longer contract time. Showing the seller you are a serious buyer and being willing to have a serious conversation about value is going to make success for your client much more likely.
If the offer won’t work, you can move on to the next one without an extended (and ultimately unsuccessful) negotiation.
11. Prepare Your Inspector For Your Client’s Call
If you are getting close to an offer being accepted, give your property inspector a call and let them know. Sure, you aren’t booking an appointment yet, but that communication might save you a couple of days of waiting later.
Just like you, there are certain times of the year (remember how you worked 19 days in a row in June this year?) when property inspectors are VERY busy. These calls may even give you a chance to build into the contract a more appropriate inspection contingency window, saving you the need to write an extension to the contract later on.
12. Find a Digital File System You Like and USE IT
Whenever a property goes under contract, drop the purchase agreement, addendums, disclosures, anything that might be needed later here and send a link to whoever needs it. Gone are delays because of missing or slow paperwork!
13. Talk to Your Lender EVERY DAY
After a property goes under contract, the vast majority of delays in closing are lender related.
It makes sense when you think about it, the mortgage process has about 4 zillion steps to it, all of which need to be completed in order, and by a handful of different people.
In order to keep things streamlined, check in with the lender every day, see what’s next in the process. This is a great way to stay in the loop, especially if the lender is waiting on documents or info from your clients. Your buyers may not be aware of the time press from the lenders, so you can help remind them.
14. Become a Local Regulation Rockstar
What special requirements does the county or township you typically work in have when a property sells? Is there a required septic inspection? Is there a condo board doc that needs to be filed?
Don’t rely on the selling agent to know all the boxes that need to be checked, know that stuff yourself. Your township or county office will have a list of anything uniquely required in your area.
There are few worse feelings that getting to the closing table and being informed by your title officer that there was a required county water test that never got performed.
15. Establish a Regular Relationship With a Title Company
Speaking of title officers, find one you like and stick with them. That person holds the keys to the last door that needs to be opened for your client to own their new home, so get to know them and how they work.
Much like the mortgage process, the title process is complex and has many moving parts.
A reliable title company gives you peace of mind that the sale is being handled appropriately from start to finish, and avoids the dreaded 24 hours before closing “We haven’t finished our title search” email.
Over To You
Streamlining your buyer’s agent process is the key to closing more deals faster. What are you going to do this week to make your buyer’s agent process better?
Got something to add to this list? Drop a comment below.