Buyers agents, are you ready to move your clients from contract to close? I know you are! Many buyers aren’t aware of everything that’s ahead. This is where you come in. As the agent, they should be able to rely upon you to provide them a clear pathway and plan for what’s ahead. And I’m here to help.
How to prepare your buyer clients
First, congrats on finding your buyer a house! Now, you can really separate yourself as the best in service and skill when you prepare your clients for what’s ahead.
Earnest Money – make sure you get that earnest money check! Times are changing and there’s flexibility in how this works. For example, instead of having to drive to the buyer and pick up the earnest money check and drop it off at your broker, there are more options. Depending on your area and broker, that is. You can have the buyer wire the funds to your broker or the closing attorney. In some areas, you can electronically direct deposit the check into your brokers account. But know that with flexibility, responsibility hasn’t change. So, make sure you get the money in the proper account by the required date.
Provide the lender with a copy of the contract – you’ll need to introduce yourself to the lender anyway. The earlier you meet the lender, the better you can stay on top of what your buyer needs to do to qualify for the loan. There may certainly be time where you’ll need to work with the lender to ensure the buyer is fulfilling the requirements needed to get the loan and make it to closing. So once the contract is ready, send the lender the copy to make sure they have it.
Get paperwork ready – get all the documents required by your broker and submit the paperwork. This includes all documents like exhibits, signed consumer brochures, mortgage letters, proof of funds, or service recommendations. Make sure you check with your broker to see if they have requirements above and beyond your state’s real estate commission.
Have buyers schedule a home inspection – give the buyers a list of home inspectors to choose from. Stress the importance of getting the inspection done as soon as possible so they still have time to review the findings and negotiate with the seller. The jury is out on whether or not an agent should attend an inspection. In fact, I’ve heard pretty strong arguments for both sides. However, in my opinion, the buyer should always attend the inspection. This way, they can ask questions of the inspector first hand.
Negotiate based off home inspection – now that the inspection is done, it’s time to comb through the document and determine what needs to be fixed. When the loan type is a FHA, for example, the lender may require certain repairs. In other situations, the buyer may prefer certain things. So, work with your buyer to determine if an item should be repaired, replaced or if they’d prefer to receive a financial credit and take care of it on their own later.
Schedule a time for due diligence – remind your buyers that they are just switching gears. It took time to find the house, now this is the time to make sure that they really want this particular house. Your buyer should use this time to confirm school zone, check crime and other safety concerns for the community and this specific neighborhood or subdivision. Encourage your buyer to drive around at different times of the day and night. Work them to visit the property and look at the interior and exterior of the house after a heavy rain. And encourage them do anything that will remove all possible questions and doubts about purchasing the home.
Remind buyers to reserve a moving truck – this should be done as soon as possible. During the busy season, moving companies tend to get really busy and book up fast. Encourage your buyer to check reviews, and for confirmation that the movers are licensed and insured. Also, have them check for how flexible the movers are in case the closing date is adjusted.
Remind buyers to sign up for insurance – lenders will need proof of homeowner’s insurance to fund the loan. Have your buyer call around and get quotes for the homeowner’s insurance. This amount will most likely be escrowed and become a part of the total amount they send the mortgage company each month. Which will, in turn, impact the monthly mortgage payment.
Work with closing attorney on setting up a closing date – call the closing attorney to set up and confirm the closing date and time. I also recommend confirming the address and driving directions.
Remind buyers to schedule utility set up – encourage your buyers call the utility company during the due diligence period. They can find out the average monthly bill for water, sewer, gas and electric. This will give them a good idea of how energy efficient the property is. It may also alert them to any potential leaks and will help them budget. Once they decide on the utility provider (if they live in a large enough area to have options) make sure they schedule set up well in advance, so they won’t be without cable or phone.
Remind buyers to transfer money into certified funds for closing – not only should the earnest money be submitted to the closing attorney, but all other closing should be sent as well. Check with the buyer to confirm they understand the amount they need to take to closing. And encourage them to contact their bank a few days before to understand wiring instructions.
Final walk through – if you haven’t already, schedule the final walk through. Take your contract along with you to ensure all agreed upon items have been repaired, replaced or cleaned to your buyers’ standards.
Prepare for closing – there are many things you need to do as an agent. Ensure you broker has all required paperwork, including your commission agreement or pay at closing information. Hopefully, you’ve been diligent a submitted new and updated documents and amendments to your broker throughout this process. But now is the time to dot your Is and cross your Ts.
From Contract to Close
You’re almost at the finish line. First, we talked about how you can prepare your buyers for this phase of their home buying journey. We went through an entire list of what you need to do to prepare as an agent. And as we wrap things up, your next step is to download our FREE Ultimate Closing Checklist.
- Preparing Your Buyer for the Home Buying Process
- 15 Ways to Wow Your Real Estate Clients
- Top Real Estate Closing Gifts for Buyers and Sellers
- How to Impress Your Real Estate Clients with Stellar Service
- What Does a Real Estate Agent Do All Day?
- How to Serve Your First Real Estate Client Like a Pro
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