When it comes to first time buyers; my clients end up being more relaxed and comfortable with my advice and guidance, which also helps them come to big decisions more clearly and effectively. First-time homebuyers are the most interesting kind of clients. They’re often excited, looking forward to touring different homes and moving into their first house, but they might also be intimidated or nervous about the magnitude of the decision before them.
They may be inexperienced and might not know exactly what to expect. With the affordability issues that most first-time homebuyers face, they might need a little more advice and patience than usual. According to CMHC, first-time homebuyers can only afford a ¼ of the available inventory in a majority of the Canadian markets. Real estate professionals must prepare them and make them feel more comfortable throughout the process of what is likely the biggest financial decision of their lives.
How I make a first-time homebuyer comfortable
When meeting a first time buyer, they may not be ready to purchase immediately. They may require guidance months and sometimes years before their big purchase. Some strategies I use to ease their nerves and make their first-time buying a breeze is as follows:
- Introduce them to first time buyer programs from lenders and the government or a mortgage professional to create a budget.
There are a number of programs available to first time buyers. The most common is the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) offered by the Government of Canada, the First Time Home Buyers tax credit offered by the Government of Saskatchewan and various programs offered by an assortment of lenders in our given market. Knowing their options gives them more confidence in their decision, knowing they can get a better price for their purchase.
- Take time answer all their questions in detail
While this should go without saying, I ensure that I answer all of my clients’ questions as thoroughly as possible. First-time homebuyers tend to have a lot of questions, so it’s imperative that they feel comfortable asking them and feel confident in my answers.
If I happen to not know the answer to a question, I get it, I have an arsenal of professionals at my fingertips to source information from. This is a dynamic world where everything is constantly changing.
- Provide an overview of the process
Early on in the relationship, I make sure to provide a general overview of the entire home buying process. My clients may not know what to expect and most likely do not know all the steps of the process; this is where I take the opportunity to provide a high-level overview, as well as a timeline, so they feel more comfortable at each step along the way.
- Take things one step at a time
It is very important not to overwhelm my clients with this tremendous process. Ultimately, I recommend that we take things one step at a time. I try not to foreshadow the next step of the process too heavily when we in the middle of touring houses; instead, focus on the present, and keep reiterating whatever goals are associated with that present step.
- Help them discover their own wants and needs
First-time homebuyers aren’t always sure about what they want or need. They might think they need a home with a finished basement or one with a two-car garage, but they might not have considered other options or know that those options exist.
I encourage them to keep an open mind and explore many different possibilities before settling on a firm list of wants and needs. Then, help them cultivate and evolve that list gradually.
- Encourage them to view many properties
Although it ends up being a long road, my clients tend to get better educated and also tend to make a better final decision when we view many different properties in person.
Viewing more properties gives first-time homebuyers more options to consider and a more diverse perspective they can use to accurately generate a list of their wants and needs from. After viewing a few, they should have a good idea of what they’re looking for and feel more confident in their future decisions.
- Talk through multiple time lines
First-time homebuyers might also struggle to consider their decision across multiple time lines. They might focus only on what they need for the next few years or think too hard about what might happen over the next few decades. As a REALTOR®, I have a better perspective on how a home’s value might change over several years and how people’s priorities shift over those timeframes. I like to share that perspective with my clients.
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