Buyer’s agents are busy. House hunters can be time-consuming because they have so many questions and need plenty of attention. It’s essential to stay organized to help as many clients as possible, which is where real estate buyer’s agent checklists come in.
Here at The Close, we know that your desire to serve your clients is limitless—but that doesn’t mean your time is too. That’s why we put together six life-changing checklists you can share with buyers to help answer their questions before they arise. Our checklists will empower your clients to play a more active role in their transactions—giving you back some time to foster more client relationships and grow your business.
Now that you’ve downloaded our helpful packet of checklists, let’s take a look at how you can use each individual one in the most efficient way.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #1: Mortgage Pre-approval
Most homebuyers (especially first-time homebuyers) walk into your office excited about a brand-new adventure. A call to their mortgage broker will quickly turn that excitement into stress as they begin to understand what’s needed to secure a mortgage pre-approval letter.
Though there’s a lot of paperwork needed to complete the pre-approval process, most of it isn’t complicated. Our mortgage pre-approval checklist can be a powerful tool to help keep track of the many tasks involved.
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Tips for Using the Mortgage Pre-approval Checklist
- Customize it: There’s no standard document list that’ll cover every mortgage pre-approval—every lender is a little bit different. Create different versions tailored to specific local and national banks to ensure everything they need is on your list. Customizing it will help your clients avoid confusion.
- Check in often: Some buyers will go home and gather every piece of paperwork they need in a single evening. These are great clients to have, but let’s be honest, they’re not typical. Check with your clients to see where they are on completing their checklist—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 to create a mutually beneficial referral system. You can suggest a great lender to your buyers, and your partner lender can share the checklist with their clients and recommend you as a great real estate agent for their transaction.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #2: Successful House Hunting
Some of the most challenging real estate buyer clients are the ones who suffer from “shiny object syndrome.” They are easily distracted by homes that are outside of their price range, don’t meet their needs, or are in locations that don’t work for them. And yet, they want to see those homes because something in the listing has sparked their attention.
You can better serve these clients by presenting them with the successful house hunting checklist, which gives them a filter to use on every home they’re considering to make sure it’s worth pursuing. Our checklist also includes a showing sheet your clients can bring to each property to help them compare it to other homes they’ve seen.
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Tips for Using the Successful House Hunting Checklist
- Start together: Establish a baseline for the home your clients are looking for using the first half of this checklist. Guide them on the must-haves they may not be thinking about as you complete this half of the checklist together.
- 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 becomes more powerful when comparing multiple second pages and provides 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 expectations. If you’ve seen more than six properties and they still haven’t asked you to write an offer, revisit the first half of the checklist to see if it needs adjustment.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #3: Open House Attendance
Once a buyer has signed with a buyer’s agent, that shouldn’t preclude them from attending open houses independently. Your buyers can view properties without you while you maintain full agency. This also allows clients to work within their own timetable, spending as much time in each 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. Your absence creates more work for you because you may have to follow up with phone calls or schedule another showing, ultimately not saving you any time or effort.
Our open house attendance checklist puts all the most critical questions your buyers need to ask in one place. If they think a home is one they’d consider writing an offer on, this checklist informs them of the important details you’d want to know about if you were showing them the property yourself.
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Tips for Using the Open House Attendance Checklist
- Explain it first: Many of the questions on this checklist are relatively technical. You should walk your clients through them step-by-step so they understand why they need to ask them and what they’re listening for in the responses.
- Make it digital: Buyers don’t always sit down and plan out their open house attendance. More often than not, buyers see an open house on the way home from the farmers market or while they’re out for a family bike ride. So, make sure this checklist is easily accessible on their phone to increase their likelihood of using it.
- Add local market questions: Use our checklist as a starting point, not a finished product. Every market is slightly different, and you’ll want to include those market-specific questions you always ask when showing properties. Make sure to add them to our checklist before providing it to your buyers.
Pro Tip: Hosting your own open house? Check out Curb Hero, the app created just for agents. Manage your attendees, create stunning marketing, and follow up with your new leads all from your phone.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #4: Writing a Successful Offer
When it comes time to write an offer on a property, many buyers rely heavily on their agents for the specific terms and conditions necessary to get them the best deal. But when time is of the essence (especially in a competitive market), you may not be able to review every clause of an offer contract.
Our successful offer checklist allows you to go through each major contract term, such as price, down payment, earnest money deposit, inspection, appraisal, possession, and more. Your buyer clients will know exactly what each term means and how each one impacts their deal before putting ink to paper.
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Tips for Using the Writing a Successful Offer Checklist
- Complete it early: Don’t wait until you’ve found the “perfect house” before talking about this checklist. Consider filling it out with your buyers before you’ve seen a single property. That way, emotions and the heat of the moment won’t be driving their decisions.
- Don’t accept vague buyer responses: Don’t let your buyers get away with generalized answers to the checklist questions. If they’re not sure on a particular point, push them to add a range of responses, rather than no response at all. For example, when it comes to possession date, an unacceptable response is “whenever works.” A more acceptable answer is “any time within 30 days of closing.”
- Use this checklist when bargaining: Encourage your clients to empower you to negotiate on their behalf using the guidelines they set out in this checklist. Doing so will allow you to joust a bit more with the seller’s agent in conversation. Deals get done faster and more frequently when you’re not tied to negotiating only via written offers and counteroffers.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #5: Contract-to-Close
Getting a property under contract for a buyer seems like the hard part, but the biggest purchase challenges often arise during escrow—in the period between when the contract is signed and when the deal closes.
Buyers need to complete many tasks before they can get their keys, and many of these must be executed in a specific window of time. Our contract-to-close checklist breaks down the primary buyer responsibilities required to reach the closing table. It also breaks them down week by week to keep the transaction on track for your closing date.
Tips for Using the Contract-to-Close Checklist
- Partner with a closing company: Find a closing company or title company that performs closings to team up with for this checklist for the same reason that you partnered with a mortgage company for your pre-approval checklist. It’s a win-win! The closing company gets a referral source of clients, and you get potential buyers heading your way in the event that your chosen closing company has clients seeking a real estate agent.
- Go granular: Our checklist lays out the major tasks that need to be accomplished, but don’t be afraid to include smaller tasks. Remind your buyers to approve inspection reports, follow up with mortgage underwriters, and create a timeline for their moving day. If there are smaller tasks that would benefit your buyers, add them.
- Make a checklist for yourself: Having a buyer checklist is helpful because you know your buyers will be in the know about what’s happening and what’s required of them. Create an equivalent checklist for yourself with your responsibilities as they relate to each of your client’s responsibilities, then follow along with their progress while making your own progress.
Real Estate Buyer Agent Checklist #6: Home Inspection Checklist
After you get your clients under contract, you’ll want to act fast to perform the home inspection. Most contracts have a small window of time, like seven to 15 days, to get the inspections done, so there is no time to waste.
Give your buyers the home inspection checklist to guide them through—and help them make the most of—their home inspection. It includes questions to ask upfront when choosing a home inspector, what to ask during the inspection, and how to follow up. Once they’re under contract, they’ll be armed with knowledge to hit the ground running.
Tips for Using the Home Inspection Checklist
- Create a list with a few good home inspectors: You can look like a total rock star if you have a few trustworthy inspectors on the ready for your clients. Hand your buyers a list of pre-vetted inspectors and let them interview from the list. You’ll help your buyers make a smart decision and cut down on the time it takes to find a good inspector.
- Start early: Don’t wait until you go under contract to start talking about the home inspection. It doesn’t have to be a formal sit-down discussion, but start preparing your clients for this phase of the homebuying process as you’re shopping for the right home.
- Join the buyers for the report: After the home inspection, your inspector will contact your buyers to go over the report with them. They’ll share the important information in the report and give their assessment. And even though you’ve given your clients a checklist with questions to ask, you may want to chime in with additional questions. Getting on a three-way call with the inspector and your buyers will help everyone get on the same page.
We hope that you customize these checklists 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.