Real estate buyer’s agents are road warriors who know the community better than almost anyone. Their cars are spotless, with extra water for clients and spare umbrellas in the trunk. They not only know every listing currently on the MLS, but what school district they’re each in. The mission is simple: find the perfect property for buyers and guide them through the homebuying process. It’s pretty great, actually—kind of like being a real estate superhero.
Being a real estate buyer’s agent is different from being a listing agent because buyers are inherently different than sellers. When working with buyers, you have unique challenges, responsibilities, and advantages. We’ll go through these major differences and look at what it takes to best serve real estate buyers in their search for the perfect home … other than patience.
When working with buyers, having a checklist to help guide them through their search is a lifesaver. You can grab a copy of our 17-point homebuyer checklist to ease your stress (and theirs).
How Buyers Are Different From Sellers
A real estate buyer is someone who is ready to drop what is probably a hefty amount of money to purchase property. This could be one of the biggest financial decisions they make in their whole lives. They might be first-time buyers, move every five years, or be looking to invest in real estate.
Buyers can be in various stages of the buying process, from “Honey, maybe we should buy a house someday—isn’t your cousin a real estate agent?” to “Ross, it’s Jim. We’re ready to 1031 our property on Lakewood Drive. See what you can find for our 38th investment transaction together.”
Who Is the Typical Real Estate Buyer?
There’s no one profile for a real estate buyer, but the National Association of Realtors collects some pretty fascinating statistics on buyers and the home search process:
- The average age for a first-time buyer rose to an all-time high of 36 years old last year. The average age for a repeat buyer was also at an all-time high, at 59 years old.
- 62% of first-time buyers listed “the desire to own a home of their own” as the main reason they wanted to purchase property.
- 47% of all buyers first looked online for properties before contacting an agent.
- 86% of buyers agreed that their real estate buyer’s agent was “a very or somewhat useful information source.”
- 49% of buyers most wanted help “finding the right home.”
- 89% of buyers agreed that they would use their agent again or refer them to others.
What Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Do for House Hunters
Your activities as a real estate buyer’s agent are fairly straightforward. You help clients narrow down what they’re looking for; identify properties that match their criteria; write, submit, and negotiate the offer; and manage the transaction all the way to the closing table.
Why Be a Buyer’s Agent (vs a Seller’s Agent)?
Conventional wisdom says real estate professionals start out as a buyer’s agent because it’s easier to break into. Once they build their reputation and business, they can transition to listings. But what if you really like working with buyers? What if you truly enjoy searching for the perfect property and do a little happy dance when your clients find their dream home?
In many ways, being a buyer’s agent allows you to build deeper relationships with your clients. You really get to know their needs and you probably spend a lot of time together. In many cases, you act as a wise counselor (and maybe therapist) to guide them through a crucial life moment. And while buyers might have a reputation for being needy, there are plenty of sellers who make agents want to repeatedly deep-breathe into a paper bag.
Specializing as a buyer’s agent has plenty of advantages and is a wonderful path toward a successful and rewarding career in real estate. If you’re considering carving out a niche in your market as a buyer’s agent, let’s look at how you can best serve your buyer’s clients and grow your business.
5 Ways to Better Serve Real Estate Buyer Clients
The most successful real estate buyer’s agents are really good at working with people and truly love helping others. Channel these wonderful attributes in these five ways and you will be on your way to becoming the best real estate buyer’s agent in your market.
1. Take a Breath & Listen
The biggest one thing you can do to serve your buyer’s clients is pause and listen. And I mean really listen. Most people think they’re listening, but they’re really planning what they are going to say next.
Deep listening will help you understand your clients and their real estate needs, perhaps even better than they understand themselves. Maybe they are saying that they want a certain square footage but the properties you’re showing them feel too small. If you listen closely, you may figure out that they’re really feeling the low ceilings. Show them a home with vaulted ceilings and that same square footage and we bet you’ve got happy campers.
Get to know your clients’ likes and interests, family composition, and listen as they plan into their future. Are school districts important? Are they mentally calculating driving distance to aging parents or proximity to an airport? Are there plans to get a pet so they’ll need a property with a fenced backyard? If you listen carefully, you can help clients find a property that they didn’t even realize they needed.
Listening also makes people feel valued and appreciated. Creating time and space for your clients will make them feel that you really care. That’s what they’ll remember and that’s why they’ll recommend you to friends and family. Sound simple? It is. But it’s amazing how many people just don’t do it.
2. Think of Yourself as a Coach
Regardless of whether this is your client’s first transaction or you’re working with a seasoned investor, you’re the real estate professional who brings the knowledge and experience to the table.
You signed on to provide fiduciary guidance to your clients, which includes the concept of “reasonable care.” Your clients expect you to have their best interests at heart and guide them in the right direction.
Working With First-time Buyers
A coaching mindset is vital for working with newbies. You can really shine as a specialist when working with first-time buyers who may be nervous, confused, and overwhelmed. Think of yourself as that coach and you’ll get them to the closing finish line.
If you can guide a first-time buyer through the process with the mindset of a caring coach, your buyers will be singing your praises and recommending you to their entire network (and all of their friends who are currently renting and looking to buy).
3. Be an Expert in Your Local Market
If you want to specialize in helping buyers, then you need to be your town’s specialist. Start by understanding who is buying, where, and why. Are people relocating to your town? If so, learn what’s drawing them in. Are they first-time homebuyers? Seniors downsizing to condos? Understand who might need your services and build on that.
You’ll need to know your community backward and forward so that you can help your clients find that perfect home. If you have a pulse on the various neighborhoods and plans for development, you might be able to help a client score a great house in an up-and-coming area. Are they interested in a neighborhood that is charming but you know the commute is killer? Take them on the drive at rush hour.
Knowing the local restaurants, festivals, coffee shops, traffic patterns, and school districts makes you an excellent resource for your clients. Live near the water? Learn about dock permits and flood insurance. Live in the mountains? Be able to point out the best ski slopes and trout streams.
If you’re already an area expert, think about how you can market that to buyers. Parkbench makes it easy to become known as the local expert through its unique, content-rich websites that automatically update with local news and events. The company allows you to generate leads while marketing yourself as the go-to community authority.
💡 Pro tip: If you know your community and your local market, you’ll also be a huge resource when your clients are negotiating price. You know the comps and you might even know the negotiation style of the listing agent. Your expertise and your confidence can help your client get their dream home at the right price.💡
All of this serves your real estate buyer clients and helps you become the agent in town everyone looks to when buying a home.
4. Communicate Well & Often
What’s the biggest complaint real estate buyers have with agents? A lack of communication. Agents often bombard a buyer client with listings and disappear. You should always be in regular touch with your clients.
Consider your communication methods carefully. Does your buyer client prefer email, text, or old-school phone calls? What time of day is best to reach out? What level and frequency of communication do your clients expect? Weekly check-ins or daily emails? Are your emails and texts professional, grammatically correct, and devoid of typos?
As our friend Ryan Serhant says in this recent article on Forbes, “If your agent isn’t in touch with you every day, find a new agent. If he/she takes six hours to reply to a simple question, find a new agent.”
Your buyer clients don’t need a new agent. They need you. And you need to communicate with them well and often.
To help you accomplish this high level of professionalism, you need a great customer relationship manager (CRM). If you’re shopping for this vital tool, check out our buyer’s guide here. Our top pick is LionDesk, which organizes contacts, helps you strategize your communication, sets up automated emails, and even allows you to send texts and voicemail messages through the platform.
5. Remember: It’s the Little Things
At the end of the day, you’re in the service industry, which means there are ample opportunities for you to show off your attention to detail. Not only are you the consummate real estate expert, you can also be the best service provider in your community.
Think about the little things your client might need and figure out how to provide them. This is the equivalent of chocolates on the pillow at turn-down service. Do they lack childcare and need to go look at a listing? Create a list of screened babysitters. Do they need someone to attend an open house for them? Go and take video and pictures. Have they moved into their new home and want to paint? Turns out, you have three excellent painters you’d recommend.
You’re so professional, you write handwritten thank-you notes, give a meaningful closing gift, check in regularly even after closing, and become a trusted resource for years to come.
You should go above and beyond, notice the little things, and show real thoughtfulness. When a former client hears someone is looking for a home or wanting to move to your town, guess who they’ll recommend? You! Our expert real estate buyer’s agent.
Over to You
Being a real estate buyer’s agent isn’t just for those starting out in real estate. It’s a rewarding niche that allows you to build your business, serve clients, and make a real difference in people’s lives. With these tips, you’ll stand out as your community’s go-to buyer’s agent.
Do you have experience as a real estate buyer’s agent? What about advice for those wanting to specialize? Questions about getting started? Leave us a comment or question below!