NAR statistics say the average home search takes about 12 weeks; and the term “average” indicates that some take much longer. Recently, we asked agents on Twitter and Facebook how you’re helping buyers speed up their home searches.
Here are some of the answers that translate into good advice for any market:
1) Automatic Search Alerts
We heard time and again that automated alerts like Trulia Listing Alerts are the name of the game when it comes to speeding up property search. Tommie Easley Agent with Agent at Coldwell Banker Panian & Mash says automated searches are useful for discovering “updates [on] price changes, [homes] no longer on the market, and all new listings no matter what Broker.”
Jake Scheeler, Broker at My Own Real Estate Company in Maple Grove, MN, says an automated listing alert, “helps us to be more efficient in finding them their new home and gives the buyer a more active role and sense of control.”
2) Make Inner Peace with the Numbers
The home search process is emotional and dealing with those emotions can soak up time. Patrick Brennan, Agent with Home Properties and Management in Peoria, AZ, says agents should, “Break it down to a numbers level. Find a house with the right location and the right size (at least for now), and then [ask consumers to] consider what you will spend to make it yours.”’
Patrick’s suggestion is that agents appeal to buyers’ intelligent side and “Try to take emotion out of the mix as much as possible.”
3) Get Pre-Qualified
Money matters more than ever in today’s home search process. Scheeler says, “[Getting] pre-qualified is a great first step. That way, once a potential home they’d like to make an offer on is identified there will be less chance of missing out on it.”
In the past prequalification was an option. Jodi Harris Remmy Smith from Marietta, GA says now, “[Getting] pre qualified is a given.”
Last but definitely not least is to realize that while searches and negotiation may happen online and on paper, home is a place your clients have to live in real life. Tracye Acevedo of Baird & Warner Residential Sales says, “Drive the areas first before a wild goose chase begins.”
Melissa Kellerman of RE/Max Properties Inc. in Colorado Springs, CO agrees when it comes to her clients, “I have them drive by the homes they like. This will help them decide if they still want to see the inside.” The independent neighborhood drive-thru can save a lot of time by allowing consumers to get a real life perspective on a property.
Bonus tip, Use Trulia
Bill Sole, Broker at Sancken Sole Realty in Dwight, IL says “Make a wish list and go to Trulia.com and start the search process, make sure you call your realtor for advice!” And speaking of Trulia and home search, tell us what things are missing from this list and other creative ways you’re helping buyers speed up the search process. What are the best ways you’ve seen for buyers to save time when house hunting?