I had coffee this past weekend with a wonderful couple looking to buy their first home together. They had done their research; they looked online as best as they could to look for questions to ask a pool of three potential buyer’s agents. Because it is somewhat unusual for new home buyers to actually take the time to interview real estate agents, I used it as an opportunity to ask questions of my own. As the founder and broker of Deerwood Realty, I’ve found it important to always be speaking to home buyer concerns as a real estate agent. We should stop using the term “objections”, because we shouldn’t be looking to overcome them. This is a game of conquer and destroy, and I don’t believe this serves the St. Louis home buyer well. Below are a list of some of the concerns these new buyers had, and I will just offer my thoughts on them.
- Buyers were harassed. They started their search with three potential real estate agents. When we spoke, they were only going to interview two in person. Why? One real estate agent had called, emailed, texted, called, and emailed two and three times each day since initial contact. I asked the question a while back, “Does a buyer want to be sold a home via harassment?” I don’t think they do. For this couple it was a complete “NO”. I wonder what percentage of this harassment can be attributed to closing rate? For instance, all things being equal, does the real estate agent who goes out of their way to harass potential buyers and sellers close more deals than an agent who does not? If yes, what does that say about our marketplace? If no, why do real estate agents think this is a good idea, or why have they been told this?
- Buyers didn’t want to be bamboozled. This concern was relayed as “we don’t want to be pushed to buy more house than we can afford.” Can any rational person say this is a bad thing for a buyer? I’ve argued for years that we must treat our clients or our potential clients with decency and respect. The fact that this concern came up is indicative of a serious issue we face as real estate agents. The general public doesn’t trust real estate agents. It seems like someone always has a friend, family member, or workplace associate that goes out of their way to tell new home buyers to “Stay away from so and so agent”. This is not a good thing.
- The buyers wanted to understand how to best work together. These particular buyers were well educated people. Their biggest need was going to be able to work with a real estate agent that could quickly find a way to work with them as opposed to working for them or working without them. With online portals and technology, any home buyer can buy a house without a real estate agent. However, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, and they knew this intuitively. These particular buyers knew where they wanted to live, and what they wanted to spend. They didn’t understand negotiations, mortgages, inspections, title work, etc. and that is where the value lies as a buyer agent today. We are not gatekeepers of information anymore. It’s 2019, the internet has been around for 20+ years; probably not a fad at this point.
I don’t know if these buyers will choose me or not. There could always be a family member or some other reason to choose another agent. These first time home buyers are in great shape to find the home of their dreams. They have good credit, they know where they want to live, and they are taking time to find an agent to work with versus just leaving it to chance. As a real estate agent, I spoke to their concerns, and should they move in a different direction, so be it.