If you’re a real estate buyer’s agent, there’s no doubt you are BUSY. Buyers tend to take a lot of time, have a ton of questions, and need plenty of attention from their agents, making life as a buyer’s agent a little crazier than most of us would like.
Here at The Close, we know that your desire to serve your clients is limitless—but that doesn’t mean your time is. So, we put together four life-saving checklists you can share with your buyers to help answer their questions before they have them, empower them to be an active part of the transaction, and give you back some time that you can use fostering relationships with more clients to grow your business.
In this article, we’ll give you four essential buyer’s agent checklists and a few tips on how to best use them.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #1: Mortgage Pre-approval
Most homebuyers (especially first-time homebuyers) walk into your office with a twinkle in their eye, excited about a brand-new adventure. The quickest way to remove that twinkle and replace it with stress is to get them on the phone with a mortgage broker so they can hear about what they’ll need to get their pre-approval letter.
Though there’s a lot of paperwork necessary to get the pre-approval process completed, it isn’t complicated, and it’s the perfect task to use a checklist on.
Tips for Using the Mortgage Pre-Approval Checklist
- Customize it: There’s no standard document list needed to get a mortgage pre-approval—every bank is a little bit different. Work with the lender your buyer has chosen to make sure everything they need is on your list so as not to create any confusion.
- Check in often: Some buyers are going to go home and gather every piece of paperwork they need in a single night. These are great clients to have, but let’s be honest, not typical. Check in with your clients to see where they’re at on completing their list—a little bit of accountability goes a long way here.
- Partner with a lender: Want to turn your mortgage pre-approval checklist into a lead generation tool? Partner with a local lender to present a co-branded checklist. This way, you can make a suggestion to your buyers about a great lender to use for their purchase, and your partner lender can also give the checklist to their clients, making a suggestion on a great real estate agent (you!) they can use.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #2: Successful House-hunting
Some of the most challenging real estate buyer clients to have are the ones who suffer from “shiny object syndrome.” These are clients who get easily distracted by homes that are out of their price range, that don’t meet their needs, or are in a location that doesn’t work for them—and yet, they want to see them because there’s something in the listing that intrigued them.
You can better serve these clients by presenting them with the Successful House-hunting Checklist. This checklist gives them a filter that they use on every home they’re considering to make sure it’s worth pursuing. This checklist also gives your buyers a showing sheet they can take with them when they’re viewing a home so that they can compare it to other homes they’ve seen.
Tips for Using the Successful House-hunting Checklist
- Start together: The first half of this checklist involves establishing a baseline for the home your clients are looking for. Do this half together so you can help guide them on must-haves they may not be thinking about.
- Make lots of copies: The real power of this checklist is the second page—where buyers can record their thoughts about the properties they’re seeing. This feature gets even more powerful when you can take multiple second pages and compare them against one another, allowing for a more objective and logic-driven approach to homebuying.
- Make a plan to revisit it: If your buyers aren’t finding the home they want, it could be that they’ve set some unrealistic standards. If you’ve seen more than six properties and still don’t have an offer, make a plan to revisit the first half of the checklist to see if it needs adjustment.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #3: Open House Attendance
Think that once a buyer has signed with a buyer’s agent that they shouldn’t attend open houses on their own? Think again. As a busy buyer’s agent, having your clients attend open houses on their own is excellent. They get a chance to get a showing on a property that you don’t have to attend, you maintain full agency with them, and they can work on their own time table, spending as much time in the home as they’d like.
However, the downside to your buyers attending open houses without you is that they may forget to ask the most important questions. The result actually creates more work for you because now you have to follow up with phone calls, most likely schedule another showing, and ultimately not save you any time or effort.
The Open House Attendance Checklist puts all the most important questions your buyers need to ask all in one place. If they think the home is one they’d consider writing an offer on, they can be completely informed about the important information that, if you were showing them the property, you’d make sure to ask about.
Tips for Using the Open House Attendance Checklist
- Explain it first: Many of the questions on this checklist are relatively technical. Walk through them step by step first so your clients know why they need to ask them and what they’re listening for in the response.
- Make it digital: Buyers don’t always sit down and plan out their open house attendance; more often than not, they see one on the way home from the farmers market or while they’re out for a family bike ride. As such, making sure this checklist is something your buyer can have on their phone will up the likelihood that they’ll actually use it.
- Add local market questions: Make sure to use our checklist as a starting point, not a finished product. Every market is a little bit different; if there are specific questions that you always ask when showing properties, make sure you get them on here before giving the checklist to your buyers.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #4: Contract-to-Close
We all know that getting a property under contract for a buyer seems like the hard part, but the biggest challenges of a buyer transaction often come in the period between when a contract is signed and a deal actually closes.
There are lots of things that a buyer needs to do before they can get their keys, many of which have to be executed in a specific window of time. Our Contract-to-Close Checklist not only breaks down the major responsibilities of a buyer before they can get to the closing table, it also breaks them down week by week to make sure you’re staying on track for your closing date.
Tips for Using the Contract-to-Close Checklist
- Partner with a closing company: For the same reason that you partnered with a mortgage company on your pre-approval checklist, find a closing company to team up with for this checklist. This is a win-win; your closing company gets a referral source of clients, and you get potential buyers heading your way in the event that a closing company has people looking for a real estate agent.
- Go granular: Our checklist lays out the major tasks that need to be accomplished, but don’t be afraid to get small with your tasks. Many buyers need a reminder to do things like approve inspection reports, follow up with mortgage underwriters, or create a timeline for moving day. If there are smaller tasks that would benefit your buyers, add them.
- Make a checklist for yourself: Having a buyer checklist is really helpful because you know your buyers will be in the know about what’s happening and what’s required of them. Try making an equivalent checklist for yourself with your responsibilities relating to each of your client’s responsibilities. That way, you can follow along with their progress while making progress on your own.
We hope that you take these checklists, customize them for you and your market, and start using them with your buyers right away.
If you’re looking for information on how you can be the best buyer’s agent in your market, The Close has you covered. Start by checking out our proven strategies for getting more buyer clients. We’ve got tips here on using specific lead generation platforms, plus things you can do with and for your clients to get better reviews and more referrals.
And if you’re looking for more lead generation ideas, we’ve got a fantastic list for you to check out: 37 Underrated Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas for 2021.