The current real estate market is booming, and many people are buying homes for the first time. As an agent, it's highly likely you'll have first-time buyers contacting you, and they may need you to be their guide. So how can you best support them? Here's a quick guide sharing five key ways to help make your client's first buying experience as smooth as possible.
1. Identify First-Time Homebuyers
The first and most important step is identifying when you're working with a first-time homebuyer. Seems pretty straightforward. If someone hasn't bought a house before, they are a first-time homebuyer, right? Not exactly. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines you as a first-time homebuyer if:
You haven't bought a primary residence in the last three years
Your spouse hasn't bought a primary residence in the last three years and you two are buying a home together
You are a single parent and only owned a home when you were previously married
You only owned a primary residence that wasn't permanently attached to a permanent foundation
You owned property but it wasn't compliant with building codes
You are a displaced homemaker who only owned a house with a spouse
With this being the case, be sure to ask the right questions to see if your clients qualify as first-time homebuyers.
2. Let Them Know What to Expect
While the homebuying process may be very familiar to you and some of your buyers, true first-time homebuyers often don't know what to expect. To be sure they are as prepared as possible, you can help them to understand how the process works, from preapprovals and house shopping to appraisals, offers, and closing costs.
3. Encourage Them to Get Preapproved
Nobody wants to waste time looking at the wrong properties, so it's a good idea to encourage first-time homebuyers to get preapproved. Usually, it can be done within a few minutes online with the lender of their choice. Then, you will both have an idea of the budget and the loan programs you're working with. The loan program can be important as some require homes to meet certain requirements.
4. Ensure They Know About First-Time Homebuyer Programs
While homeowners can sell their existing homes or tap into equity to help with their down payments, first-time homebuyers don't have that option. Being so, it's important that you help your clients understand first-time homebuyer programs like FHA loans and Fannie Mae's HomeReady mortgage, as they come with lower down payment requirements.
5. Help Them Avoid Potential Pitfalls
True first-time homebuyers, and even many repeat buyers, rely on their real estate agents to help them make a good choice. They will likely lean on you as their expert in an area and will ask you questions to ensure it's right for them.
Be sure you are knowledgeable and forthcoming with what you know. Help them understand if a place lines up with their priorities, what might go wrong, any red flags you notice, and how the home compares to others in the area. Help your buyers do their due diligence on an area and properties they are interested in, and you'll be sure to earn future referrals.
Help Your First-Time Buyer on Their Homebuying Journey
As a real estate agent, you are often the go-to person for your buyers. These steps will help your first-time homebuyers get all the information and guidance they need from you. If you're not licensed quite yet but want to get into real estate, we can help! Aceable offers online real estate courses to help you complete your required education when and where it works best for you.
Learn more about Aceable's online real estate courses!