How Agents Work with Property Buyers
When working with property buyers in real estate there are always two things we focus on – create urgency and manage the emotional roller coaster that buyers go through when in the process of shortlisting properties and buying one at the end of it all. When buyers come in for a face-to-face meeting with our agents we like to set the stage right from the world “Go” so that they can know what they can expect when they work with us.
We always follow a system whereby once we start showing buyers homes it just takes a handful of homes before the buyer makes up his / her mind and we make a sale. So when a buyer approaches us in order to buy a property we try to set the stage which includes:
- Giving buyers an overview of how we work
- What we are going to do
- How we will do it
If you see professionals from other professions like Dentists and Doctors – they are very good in this. If you were going to a dentist for example to get a root canal done the Dentist will speak to you and make you understand what he is going to do before he actually does it. He might say, “Ok Neha this is what we are going to do. You have a bad molar here so I will have to give you a painkiller to numb the area. Then we will drill away the bad parts and if you happen to feel anything just raise your hand.”
What I am trying to get at is that before the dentist or doctor goes ahead and starts working on the patient he will explain to you what he is going is about to do so that the patient understand and will feel easier and less stressed. We believe that when it comes to a property buyer it is no different.
In our agency we have a buyer presentation process which contains a six-step buying process:
Step 1 – Inform
Step 2 – Ask questions
Step 3 – Select Houses
Step 4 – Inspect
Step 5 – Paperwork
Step 6 – Ongoing Service
All our agents goes over each step with a buyer before they actually start showing properties. We don’t actually start doing the steps unless we have explained all the six steps to our clients. Just like the case with the doctor or dentist who first explains and then takes action.
Let us go through the Six-Step Buying Process
Most of our clients rarely come and meet us at our office. Clients like to have the first meeting where they themselves are comfortable. A lot of NRIs and outstation clients who are visiting Mumbai to buy properties prefer to meet at the hotel where they are staying. Alternatively some clients would like to meet for the first time in the happening and happy environment of a Starbucks. This is a typical opening conversation, “Raj and Shreya before we start looking at houses lets talk a bit. Through my experience with many clients we have learnt that there is an optimal process to help buyers like you to find the right home at the right price point and in the least amount of time. I believe that any agent who is showing you more than 5 houses is not doing his job properly.”
Step 1 – Inform
“The first thing I would like to do is to introduce myself and my agency. The main reason I want to do this is because when you buy a house it is important that you trust the credentials of the agent and the agency that the agent works for. So I sincerely want to let you know what those credentials are. If after listening and going through the credentials of me and my agency you still don’t believe that I am the right agent for you, you can tell me rightaway what you didn’t find right. Assuming you feel I am the right agent for you then the next thing is I would like to ask you some questions.”
Step 2 – Asking Questions
“I’m going to ask you some more specific questions now so I can better understand the kind of home you’re searching for. Basically, the more knowledge I have, the more effectively I can assist you people.”
Step 3 – Selecting Houses
We will choose the homes we want to view as our third step. I’m going to show you all of the homes that are currently for sale right now based on your search parameters. I will present our internal inventory as well as some listings that are listed with other agents in our network. This will be done through photos and videos and not physically.
I want to do this because, Raj and Shreya, presuming we discover the ideal home for you today, I don’t want you to delay the decision to buy because you wonder if there is a better house available. So, this way you know I have already shown them all to you. Does that make sense?”
Step 4 – Inspection
After you shortlist the houses from what I have shown you, we will physically go take a look at them. We will actually visit those homes after choosing them.
When we do, I won’t bring up any of the specifics of the house—taxes, yard size, all that stuff. My experience has taught me that what matters is whether the house seems like a place you can call home when you first enter it. In other words, all the additional information is irrelevant if you don’t like the house. I want you to simply observe the house and take in its atmosphere. In fact, I urge you to make a list of the characteristics of the house that strike out to you either on a paper or on your phone’s note taking app.”
Step 5 – Paperwork
Assuming we find the right house today, we will return to the office and review the paperwork. The first set of documents contains all the specific information — taxes, yard size, etc.—that I did not bring with me when we viewed the house. The second step involves reviewing the financial aspects of purchasing the property and creating an offer that benefits everyone.
Step 6 – Ongoing Service
When the seller accepts our offer, we proceed to Step 6 viz. Ongoing Service. “If we get that far, I want you to know that my commitment is to developing a long term relationship with you rather than just selling you a house. That way, even after you move into your new home, you can still contact me if you ever need anything related to real estate. Let me know if you have any questions about this process?”
So until now the buyer has not done anything yet. All our agent has done is to explain what he / she is going to do. They have outlined what will be done but they haven’t started the process yet.
Now lets go through the 6 steps in more detail:
Implementing the Six-Step Buying Process
Step 1. Inform
At Gupta & Sen we have a buyer presentation manual with which we inform serious buyers about our credentials. Section 1 of our buyer presentation validates us where we state our accomplishments, awards, testimonials, the training program our agents have gone though etc. Section two of our buyer presentation validates our company. He we show the buyers our market share in the luxury real estate market in Mumbai, or company accolades and awards. Section 3 has information about the neighbourhood where the buyer desires to buy property which is almost like a relocation packet.
Step 2. Ask Questions
Let’s briefly talk about the importance of asking questions:
- It aids us in determining the key motivational drivers behind the buyers. In other words, it helps us differentiating between “A,” “B,” and “C” buyers.
- It helps establish a relationship of control. It saves a lot of time and energy. The more questions we ask, the easier it will becomes for us.
- It assists in removing objections. It assists in dispeling objections if one of your queries was, “When we discover the right house today, is there anyone else you need to check with before you make your final decision?”
- The most crucial benefit is that it helps in arousing the desire of the buyers which is one of the primary objectives of buyers. As real estate consultants we have to ensure that the buyer’s desire is alive from the moment they call until you fill out that contract. We believe that right from the very beginning we need to get people to experience the delight of home ownership in their minds.
Here are some questions we usually ask:
- Where are you from? Which part of the city or country? How many people are going to live there?
- Which company do you work for?
- Which company do you work for? What do you position at your company? Income?
- How long have you been trying to find a place to live?
- How many homes have you seen?
- Did you find anything appealing? Why did you not purchase one of those?
- Do you have to consult anyone before making a decision once you’ve found a home you ant to purchase?
- How soon did you plan to make this decision?
- What is the total amount of the initial investment that you have?
- What price range are you considering? What amount of monthly payments do you find acceptable?
- Tell me more about the residence you wish to purchase.
- Are you prepared to buy the house right away if we find it for you today itself?
Of all the questions listed above the most important question is – Are you prepared to buy the house right away if we find it for you today itself? This is a very important question to ask our buyers according to us. If the buyer says “No” we like to find out what is holding them back.
Step 3: Selecting Houses
If home buyers have a budget of 3 Cr, 5 Cr, 10 Cr or whatever, obviously they should be part of the process of picking the houses they may want to go and have a look at. By not having our buyers be a part of the process in the initial process we are really shooting ourselves in the foot. Buyers will 9 out of 10 times usually say after a showing, “This is really nice but we would like to see some other similar houses as well before we make up our mind.” How we like to eliminate this reaction is by showing our buyers all the houses that are on the market. Not physically but by showing them links and print outs and sending them pdfs of the inventory available with us and our network of agents.
So let us say Sunil and Reshma are looking for homes in the vicinity of 5 Cr. So we first show them digitally through whatsapp or email all the best properties available in this budget in the area that they are looking at. Once buyers go through pictures and videos of all the properties that are available in the market they can then shortlist the handful of properties that exactly matches their needs and then the inspections can start post this. This way buyers in their heart know that they are seeing the best of the best in the market and also know that they are not missing out any properties!
Step 4: Inspecting Properties
This is the step where we actually start showing the properties to prospective buyers. Now here’s what we don’t do – Hardsell! Because it’s a fact that the more your try to sell a house the more you unsell it. According to our experience the best way to sell a house is to just open the door and let the buyers see the house and let them make up their mind if they like it or not. If buyers like something they see they buy it! Its as simple as that. If they don’t like what they see its fine because there are other properties to see at another time and place. The trouble happens when sales agents are too attached to making a sale as if its something they absolutely must do. Which is why successful agents and firms like us make the most sales of homes in the market. Since we are not attached to the sale process and because we have built a large inventory of properties over time, we are not financially dependent on any one sale. Our agents are cool, calm and never pressurize our buyers because they are in control of their career and earnings. Buyers sense this and immediately feel at ease and thus they become free to buy their dream home as opposed to being a sold a home!
This is the attitude that our agents at Gupta & Sen bring to the table and focus on having fun with our buyers.
Real estate agents like us aim to create urgency and manage buyers’ emotional rollercoasters when shortlisting and purchasing properties. We set the stage with the buyer presentation process consisting of six steps: inform, ask questions, select houses, inspect, paperwork, and ongoing service. We explain each step before showing the clients any properties. The buyer presentation process is similar to how a dentist or doctor explains to patients what they will do before taking action. The six-step buying process is designed to help our buyers find the right home at the right price point in the least amount of time 🙂
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