Working with a buyer can be a long, complicated process. This is why having a real estate agent buyer checklist can help you stay on track and keep you focused from start to finish.
Below, we’ll break down the process into nine steps, from meeting your buyer for the first time to closing day and beyond.
1. Request Pre-Approval
One of the best ways to find out if a client is serious about buying a home or not is if they’re willing to take the step of talking to a lender and getting pre-approval. If your client doesn’t already have pre-approval, you should help them get it.
You can still meet with the client in person before they get pre-approval, but you just need to make sure they’re planning on meeting with a lender at some point.
You can ask if they have a lender already, or if not, whether they’d like to meet with one of your recommended lenders. If they want to speak to your lender, simply give your lender the client’s contact information and they will take care of the rest.
You can convince the client to get a pre-approval letter by telling them that if they’re interested in a specific home, they won’t be able to make a strong offer without one.
2. First Home Tour
You should give your potential client a home tour, even if they don’t have a pre-approval letter yet. Just let them know that if they’d like to see more homes, they’ll need to commit to officially being one of your clients.
This first home tour should include three to five homes, even if the client just wants to see one. If you see multiple homes, you’ll get a better sense of what they’re looking for in a home, and then you’ll be able to find similar ones they may be interested in.
Typically, if the showings are all in the same general area you can set aside 20 minutes per showing, plus the time it takes to drive. This means that three homes usually takes around two hours: one hour showing the three homes, and 30 minutes driving between the properties. But if the homes are further apart, it might be 30 to 45 minutes per showing. The length of the showing will also depend on the size of the house.
At the end of every single showing, have your client rate each home on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a great way to get people to think about the home and helps you as their real estate agent identify what your client is looking for.
It can also help you prompt the buyer to make a move. For example, if a home is a nine, you should advise the client that they should be putting in an offer because very few homes are ever going to be a ten.
Don’t miss the opportunity to ask them if they’re ready to make an offer on any home they’re interested in. You have to ask and allow them the chance to say yes, because sometimes that’s all it takes.
3. Meet For the First Time at a Coffee Shop or Via Zoom
A crucial step in your real estate agent buyer checklist is to set up your first meeting with the buyer. This meeting should take no more than 30 to 45 minutes, and the goal is to form a relationship with them.
First, you need to get a sense of how much they know about the home buying process. Is this their first time, or have they done this before? If they have, what was that experience like?
Next, give an overview of your buyer process, depending on how much the buyer knows already. Even if this isn’t their first time, remember that you are the expert and you can still provide them with information that they may not know. Plus, the way you help clients may be different than what they’ve experienced in the past.
Bring handouts that you can give to your client with more specific information they can look at it in more detail at home. Let them know that they can always reach out to you later with any questions.
Another option is to meet with your potential clients on Zoom. This saves you time and allows you to screen more potential clients in a single day.
Create a Calendly event tied to your calendar that allows buyers and sellers to setup a virtual consultation with you. You can put your Calendly event link on all your online marketing. This allows clients to set appointments with you on their own, which is a great way to increase your appointments and optimize your time.
4. Bring the Paperwork
Make sure to bring three documents with you to the consultation. First, any paperwork that you need to get signed, such as the Information About Brokerage Services and the buyer’s representation form.
Next, you should bring the MLS sheets and all the research that you’ve done on the properties that you’re going to visit on the home tour.
The third thing you should bring is your buyer presentation, which is just the buyer package that you give to them.
Your buyer presentation should have information about your background and experience, information about your company or brokerage, and the value you can bring.
Also, you should have a roadmap of the actual home-buying process from start to finish, as well as any tips that they should be aware of for the home searching process.
Next, have a document that talks about pre-approval and the importance of it, as well as the difference between pre-approval and pre-qualification.
5. Provide Advice
This step in your real estate agent buyer checklist is more of a general rule that you should keep in mind throughout the entire process. That rule is to provide advice and guidance to the buyer.
As a professional real estate agent, you’re likely to have some helpful tips for your buyer, even if they’ve purchased a home before. Especially if they’re new to your area, they won’t always be aware of how to navigate your market.
Provide tips on the best practices for making an offer, how to strengthen their offer, break down the cost, and go over what’s going to be expected of them when the time comes to buy the home.
Don’t go overboard and dump too much information on your client, because this may overwhelm them. This is where having a good buyer package to give to them can help keep you on track, and help them remember what you covered after the meeting.
If you do meet via Zoom, be sure to email them a copy of your buyer package.
6. Do the Research
Once you’ve identified a home that the client is interested in, you should look at the comps for that home.
If you’re a busier, more experienced agent, it can be a waste of your time to do all that work up front, because you have no way of knowing which homes the client will like the most. Only once they’ve identified a specific property is it worth it to spend as much time as is needed to make sure they’re getting the best deal they can get on that particular home.
However, for newer agents doing the preparation ahead of time will help you win clients. It’s helpful to do all the comparative market analysis (CMA) in advance and dedicate as much time as you can to learning the market and helping that buyer. As a newer agent, the fact that you did all this research will increase the buyer’s confidence in you. Plus, it will increase the confidence you have in yourself which is equally important.
Researching the comparables and getting accurate information usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. Once you’ve finished your research, print out the material to take with you on your consultation. Or if you’re meeting through Zoom and you’re comfortable with your MLS, you can share your screen and take them through the CMA process live.
7. Help Them Throughout the Transaction Process
This step in the real estate agent buyer checklist is another ongoing one that you should make sure to do throughout the entire process. That step is once the contract gets accepted and you’re in the process of closing with the client, you or a transaction manager should be sure to guide them through any part of the transaction process that they need help with, for example, coordinating the inspections.
As a real estate agent, there’s no need for you to attend the inspections. But you can still help out your buyer. For example, by recommending at least three inspectors they can choose from. You do not need to setup inspections for your buyers, because you don’t want to be involved in the event something goes wrong with the inspection or condition of the property down the road.
Helping out your client also includes constant communication throughout the closing process. While you don’t need to personally call your client weekly, you should make sure to give them some form of communication every week. This includes text messages, emails, Facebook messages, or phone calls.
Of course, you should always show up for the final closing day, unless there’s an emergency or something that prevents you from being there.
8. Consider Hiring a Transaction Manager
If you have a transaction manager, you can have them call your client every week, while you follow up with texts or emails.
A transaction manager can be a great investment, even if you’re a newer agent. They can help make sure you don’t get overwhelmed during the transaction management process so that it runs smoothly from start to finish. Especially if you’re a busier agent, then you may not have the time to do everything on your own.
The best way to find an experienced, licensed transaction manager is to find other agents in your area and find out who they’re using. Get a few names and interview each one. Find out what they do, their experience, and most importantly, get a sense of their personality type. Ideally, they’re going to be talking to your clients every week, so you want somebody that reflects your style and approach.
9. Give a Closing Gift
Lastly, make sure to give your client a gift on closing day. I typically spend anywhere from 1-3% of the commission amount on a closing gift for my client. Be sure to plan this ahead of time. You’ll make a bigger impression on your clients with more unique or personalized gifts. Some gifts I’ve used are personalized wine bottles, cutting boards, and first time buyer gift baskets.
After the closing is done, you can add that person to your closing database. You should have all of your past clients on this list, so that you can keep in touch with them on an ongoing basis even after the closing.
You can use a program called SendOutCards to send them cards on their birthday, the anniversary of when they close on their house, Christmas cards, event invites, and any personal monthly communication you want to send, such as monthly newsletters. SendOutCards for Realtors is a great program to help you easily stay in touch with all of your past clients.
Final Thoughts on Real Estate Agent Buyer Checklist
Use these nine steps as a real estate agent buyer checklist to help you and your client navigate the buying process. Of course, working with each buyer will be a different situation. But if you use these nine steps as a guide, you’ll be sure to find success with each one.
What’s on your real estate agent buyer checklist? Have you found any tips or tricks to systematize your process when it comes to working with buyers? Share them with me below in the comments section. Now, be well and go sell some homes!