Dealing with different types of clients presents different types of challenges. As a general rule, some clients will be more experienced and educated
Dealing with different types of clients presents different types of challenges. As a general rule, some clients will be more experienced and educated than others, whether they are buying their first home or whether they are seasoned home buyers. There is always a range in the education and preparedness of the general population, and based on what value each individual places on their homebuying experience and its different components, they may be more less prepared, and prepared in different ways.
However, one clear dividing line between different types of homebuyers is the line between those who are purchasing or considering purchasing a home for the first time, and those who have purchased down before and are looking to relocate, upsize, downsize, or otherwise change their circumstances.
First-time home buyers
First-time homebuyers may have more of an abstract and idealistic, or on the other hand, pessimistic view of what it is like to buy a home. They may have a lot of preconceived notions that you will have to work to either confirm or deconstruct, or at the very least, reframe.
Some first-time homebuyers may be overly cautious as they are afraid of being taken advantage of or making a silly but far-reaching mistake. Others may throw caution to the wind in the excitement of making such a big step in their personal lifestyles. Often, the decision to buy a home goes hand in hand with other major life milestones, like graduating from college, getting married, having a child, or getting started in one’s field.
The combination of these different circumstances can make people either overly excited because everything seems to be coming together and moving forward at once, or overly hesitant because in such a pivotal time, they don’t want anything to go wrong.
First-time home buyers make a lot of the same mistakes. Many of the most basic of these mistakes revolve not directly around money, but around time. Time is a resource that is closely tied to finances and attitude, but operates separately. If a client is not prepared with a budget and a plan, they may waste time looking at houses they could never afford, or seeking advice from less-than-reputable sources.
First-time buyers may also have experienced a lot of discouraging roadblocks on the way to purchasing their home. It can be difficult when you are not familiar with the process and may not have enough saved up to feel comfortable making the leap. This is a great opportunity to highlight programs to your clients that are aimed at first-time buyers. The system can work for them if they know where to look, and you can show them.
Seasoned home buyers
Working with seasoned home buyers presents a different set of challenges. They may be less likely to fall into common traps, but they also may think that they are more prepared than they actually are, or expect their second or third homebuying experience to mirror their previous ones.
It is unlikely that you will encounter a client who is actually trying to do your job for you, but as buyers grow accustomed to the market and the ins and outs of the real estate industry, they will want to take on more control of their own outcomes, or at least be more privy to the inner workings of their transactions and negotiations.
Don’t be afraid to have honest dialogues with these clients about the process and how their previous experiences have shaped their expectations. Allow them to show you how you can help them: something they may be better equipped to do than first-time buyers.