Published by Kartik Subramaniam
As a real estate agent, one of the most important things for you to prepare yourself for is the inevitability of coming across a client who isn't quite ready to buy a home right now. Sure, they know that they want to and that special day may very well be on the horizon. But they could also be waiting for a job transfer to come through, or for more savings to hit their account. They could even be trying to improve their credit - a process that certainly isn't going to happen overnight.
Regardless, that doesn't mean that you don't still have an important role to play in their lives. If you really want to prepare your long term buyers for their next big home purchase, there are a number of things you'll want to keep in mind.
By far, one of the most important things you should advise your long term buyers on is the fact that they should hold off on making any large purchases for the foreseeable future. This means that if you hear that they're thinking of running out and buying a car, or are financing large amounts of furniture (they are getting excited about the prospect of moving into a brand new home, after all), you'll definitely want to get them to think again.
Large purchases can absolutely impact someone's credit, and not necessarily in the way that they need right now. There are few things more important than buying a new home, so make sure that this is where their priorities are for the time being.
Likewise, you'll want to make sure that they know they need to continue to pay all of their bills on-time. Again, missed payments can absolutely have a negative impact on their credit and most people would be surprised just how easy it is for issues like this to delay the home purchasing process - or in some cases, make it outright impossible. In the event that they do feel like they're about to miss a payment, encourage them to reach out to their creditors to see if something can be worked out. This isn't necessarily always going to be possible, and someone's ability to do this will be impacted by their previous relationship with that creditor. But they should at the very least try something to avoid this type of black mark on their credit.
Along the same lines, they also need to be aware that they should not make any large withdrawals at all - or even make any large, unsourced deposits to their bank accounts. During the home purchasing process, mortgage lenders will go over nearly every nook and cranny of someone's financial history with a fine-toothed comb. If they see anything that is suspect - or anything that gives credence to the idea that they may not be as responsible as they should be, they can absolutely use that as justification to deny a mortgage application. This could take them out of the running for that home of their dreams before they even realize it, so make sure that they're crystal clear on the subject.
Finally, you need to make sure that they are aware that they should not apply for any new credit at all. This means not only resisting the urge to sign up for new credit cards, but also avoiding financing any large purchases. Also be sure to ask if they're on any recurring payment plan with their phone carrier, with the iPhone Upgrade Program being one prominent example. These programs allow people to automatically upgrade to a new smartphone every year, which is great - but the iPhone Upgrade Program in particular may do a "soft pull" of someone's credit every time that upgrade happens. This, too, could cause a negative impact on theircredit at the worst possible moment so these are the types of things that should be avoided at all costs.
All told, as an agent you should continue to stay in touch with the buyer on a regular basis. At a bare minimum, be sure to put them on an MLS drip system where properties that come onto the market that match their needs get automatically sent to them. This will be a great way to keep them informed, stay at the top of their mind and make sure that when the day does come for them to make that home purchase, yours is the first number they call.
In the end, just keep in mind that not every buyer is going to be ready to jump at the next available property the moment you contact them. You'll have a lot of potential clients who fall into that category, but you're also going to have a large number that aren't quite ready either. More than anything, the ability to follow up and stay in communication with them is going to not only make your life easier, but it will also go a long way towards helping you convert more of your long term buyers in the future.
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