I was meeting with some new clients who are planning to buy a new home in St. Louis this past weekend.  They listed the things they had been looking for in a real estate agent in St. Louis, and I was listening.  At one point, my client said that they were looking for someone who could give them a “nudge” to find the right house.  It seems like there’s always a little twist or something new when working with first time home buyers.  This was the first time I’d heard that someone wanted a real estate agent to give them a “nudge” when the right home came along.  What is the proper nudge as a real estate agent?

What does “nudge” mean?  Based on the context, it would mean to “coax or gently encourage (someone) to do something.”  In this case, buy a home.  This is far different than the harassment I’ve detailed previously.  If my clients wanted that, I would have to re-consider my work with them.  I can do a nudge though.  Let me explain where a nudge might be the best thing a real estate agent can do for their clients.

Let’s assume a couple has been looking at homes in a particular area for a number of months.  They know the inventory; they know what their budget is.  And, they’ve just seen a home in person that they really like.  As their real estate agent, having seen thousands of properties, and knowing that they like this home,   it would be perfectly reasonable to ask the buyers if they’d like to write an offer on this house.  Sometimes, people want an assurance that what they think they are seeing is actually what they are seeing.  I’m happy to provide a nudge in the right direction in this case.

A Nudge In A Different Direction

A nudge from a real estate agent can also work in an opposite direction.  Let’s use our same couple who is looking to buy a home.  Let’s say they found a home that is out of their price range to the high side that needs many repairs.  Knowing the clients, I can simply say, “Are you sure this is the house for you?”  That will usually nudge them out of an offer.  The nudge is very subtle.  If the buyers had a strong conviction to buy the home, the nudge would be overruled.  I would have no issue with writing an offer at that point.

Real Estate Sales Are An Art

When working with home buyers, some agents will refrain from offering an opinion, and they would be loathe nudging a buyer in a particular direction.  I think this is the wrong approach.  After all, home buyers are using you for your experience and knowledge of the real estate market, and the inventory.  If you don’t offer your opinion, what good are you?  Are you some sort of taxi driver or tour guide?  That’s of little benefit when clients are looking to buy a home.

It was nice for the new home buyers to tell me what they were looking for in their real estate agent.  When you start a home buying experience on the basis of trust with your real estate agent, the chances of you finding the home of your dreams go up dramatically.