The month of June is traditionally a very busy one for open houses and showing appointments. Part of the reason for that is that so many listings go live in the springtime, but if they haven’t attracted enough attention to sell by now, real estate agents schedule an open house to generate new interest. Or they persuade home sellers that their pricing is not in synch with the current market, and sellers agree to more realistic asking prices – which can trigger a flurry of showing appointments.
Prioritize Your Clients
Those two outcomes are both good news for Realtors – as long as they don’t get bogged-down with clients who are time-wasters. What are time-wasters? These are clients who are valuable, but because you don’t manage them appropriately they force you to miss out on the opportunity to sell to clients who are serious and ready to buy.
Clients who are just window shopping are most prevalent in the springtime, when new listings go on the market and curiosity brings out people who may not be ready to buy, but they want to see what is on the market. Don’t overlook those people just because they are merely curious and are not actually serious about buying, however, because they are one of the best sources of leads. Eventually, when they are ready, you want to be their go-to real estate professional.
Stay in touch with them, educate them about how to prepare for a mortgage application or get pre-qualified, and keep them informed about price changes, new listings, and data that demonstrates why it may cost them more to rent than to invest in buying a home of their own. Make sure they are in your marketing funnel, in other words, but not necessarily in your office or in your car.
Maximize Your Value to Your Clients
What you don’t want to do is to let that category of not-so-serious shoppers distract you from closing sales in the summer months. Those who are newer to the real estate business need to pay especially close attention to this, because they are especially susceptible. We are talking about the kind of buyers who are notorious for attending open houses only to see how big their neighbor’s closets are, or to eat whatever snacks are offered and engage in conversation that will never lead to a sale. Oftentimes serious buyers will come and go while a real estate agent is preoccupied with those who are only window shopping. The same is true for people who call to go see properties – you have to spend time with those who are more likely to buy, and avoid the casual lookers.
Pre-Screen Each Client
How do you do that? Get into the habit of screening everyone, before you give them your valuable time. Ask them three questions:
1. How soon do you want to list your home or buy a home?
2. If you are thinking of buying, have you spoken to a mortgage lender yet?
3. If so, have you been pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan?
Based on their answers prioritize your time with them accordingly:
• If they want to buy but haven’t talked to a lender, guide them to that next step – before showing them homes on the market in their price range.
• If they are working with a lender, make sure they are pre-qualified or, better yet, pre-approved – before you take them out to actually tour homes and consider writing a purchase offer.
• If they are pre-qualified and ready to buy, then focus your efforts on finding them the right home – and closing a sale.
Why it’s Best for You and for Your Clients
You’ll save clients time and help them avoid the disappointment of having a loan request or offer rejected, or having to undergo long delays when trying to buy a home. You will also ensure that they have the best possible opportunity to buy a home that fits their finances and their vision of a dream home. You’ll help them submit a more competitive offer, with a better chance of being accepted – even when there are multiple offers on the same property. Meanwhile you will save yourself time, so you can focus on your clients, based on intelligent priorities, and enjoy better time management that free up more of your time for client service.