7 Tips For Working Seamlessly With Out-Of-State Home Buyers
Sa El5 minute-read
September 12, 2021
If you're a real estate agent like me, chances are you've dealt with out-of-state home buyers. What can buyers outside your area or even in another state expect when purchasing property? And what should their expectations be of you as an agent?
It's important to understand that there are specific considerations for these clients that differ from those of buyers who live in the same town. This post will focus on some tips and tricks for working with out-of-state home buyers so that both parties get the most out of their experience.
Get To Know Your Clients
The key to success when working with out-of-state clients is making sure that you know your client's goals, wants and needs so that you can work together toward finding a home as quickly as possible.
Ask them about their family, where they live now, and what type of home they're looking to purchase in the area. You can't help your client find the perfect house if you don't know anything about them!
One essential tip for working with out-of-state clients is to make sure that when you’re initially discussing homes on the phone or via email, you’re conscious of your language. Start by using the term "property" instead of "house” until you know what they’re looking for. It might seem like common sense, but it goes back to not knowing much about these potential buyers at first, so doing this will show that you are thoughtful and considerate.
Once you know what type of property your client is interested in, you can start figuring out what the buyers are looking for in a home.
You want to ask about things such as space, location, budget, type of home (condo, town home, or single-family home), and what amenities they would like in a community.
Then you can start planning to show them homes in their preferred area that match what they’re looking for!
Lastly – be yourself!
This might seem like common sense, but surprisingly enough real estate agents are sometimes instructed not to give personal advice or opinions when helping buyers because it may not reflect the agency at large.
However, once you get to know your client, you may be better suited to tailor your script to address their specific needs. Every client is different, after all.
And during the call, it's crucial to get your clients on the phone with a lender for preapproval – I discuss why below.
Get Your Clients Preapproved Early
Preapproval is a huge step toward buying a home. And it can take some significant digging for your client to get their paperwork together.
Imagine if your customer is one of the 31.7 million small-business owners who will need to show 2 years of tax returns and maybe even bank statements to get approved for a home.
You don't want to go around showing people houses they can't afford, and you want to avoid the situation where the home they were ready to buy today was completely out of their budget.
You need to know your customer’s overall needs, otherwise, not only will you be wasting your time, you’ll be wasting theirs.
You could have them complete the necessary paperwork ahead of scheduling home tours, or just ask their lender to send over their approval letter electronically. With Rocket ProSM Insight, agents can access their clients’ paperwork in one convenient place so you’re always on the same page.
Getting preapproved can eliminate stress on both ends when it comes to finding homes that fit into everyone's budget.
Make Sure They Understand Market Conditions
Another place where it's very easy to mess up is helping your client understand the current market conditions.
As a real estate agent, helping clients understand market conditions will be crucial. You want them to understand that just because they make an offer on a home doesn't mean the seller will accept it. Also, they need to know if a market is super-hot and if they will need to budget for any potential bidding wars. The better they understand market conditions, the less likely they are to put an offer on a home that would not suit their needs.
If you're working with an out-of-state or out-of-country customer, this is where it will be even more in your best interest to get to know them. You'll need to understand what their needs are and then find homes that match those criteria.
Virtual Tours And High-Quality Photos Are Your Friends
Before having an out-of-state client come to visit, I usually (if possible) have a Skype or Zoom meeting with them.
There's still plenty that can be done without physically being together in person, such as finding homes in different neighborhoods/areas surrounding where they'll be moving, so it won't feel quite as foreign to them. You can also use virtual tours and staged photos to assist with selling the home or property.
I also try to get a broker-buyer’s agreement signed at the end of the initial Zoom call to make sure I lock them in as a client.
Schedule An In-Person Visit
One you have gotten to know your customer and used all of the virtual tools available, have a signed broker-buyer’s agreement from your client and a preapproval letter from their mortgage lender, you should schedule the in-person visit. You need to make sure they can visit for at least 2 – 3 days to see everything they need before hopefully making an offer on a home.
Prepare Recommendations For Your Area
You want to take them around town and show them all the neighborhoods, different schools, grocery stores, parks, etc. that are close to the house they may be considering. You should have your client visit the area at a different time during the day to see a different perspective of their potential new neighborhood.
The more information you provide for potential buyers, the better. This will help sell homes faster because clients will have fewer misgivings about the area and will know which neighborhoods aren’t quite right for them.
Remember, your clients will look to you for recommendations for moving services, inspectors, and contractors, so you should have that information available.
Assume The Sale
Whatever you do, don't wait for your buyer to give you the sale; assume the sale and be proactive!
Believe it or not, the most critical factor in closing a real estate sale is your personality. If you have gotten your customer to the end of their visit and they are happy with your work, then you should ask for the sale.
It may seem abrupt, but it will leave them with a good feeling about you and the company. If they say no, just ask if there is anything else you can do for them before they go.
Don't beg or pressure your customer into purchasing something that doesn't make sense for their needs. This sales tactic usually backfires in one way or another!
The Bottom Line
In any client relationship, most important thing is to get to know their wants and needs before they even step foot in their new town of residence. Once you know what they want, make sure they understand market conditions by discussing pricing points for comparable homes or prices for current listings on the market, and don't forget to get them preapproved.
This will also help them narrow down neighborhoods that might suit their tastes while still staying within an affordable range from both a housing perspective and a transportation cost standpoint. As long as you're prepared, the relationship (and hopefully the sale) should go smoothly and easily.
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