It’s a fact: Buyer-side commissions are no longer a guarantee and no longer an entitlement. You can’t just assume you’ll be receiving a set percentage on every transaction.
Though this seems like a whole new stress-inducing worry for many real estate agents, the fact is that commissions have never been a set amount, just an expectation or a tradition in many markets.
Builders don’t all pay the same buyer-side commissions; some don’t pay any buyer-side commissions. For Sale By Owners are the same. It’s time to get better at proving your worth on the buyer side, because soon you may have to ask your buyers to pay all or some of your fee.
So how do you provide overwhelming value to your buyer clients? How can you become more comfortable asking for an exclusive buyer agreement and have an expectation to be paid for your hard work?
Fact: If you’re not doing anything for your buyers that they can’t do on their own, why would they hire you in the first place, much less pay your fee?
Goal: Provide such overwhelming value that you’re all they’re talking about to their friends! Repeat, referral, lather, rinse and repeat.
Here are the top five ways to provide value to your buyer clients.
1. Present to your buyer clients just like you would in a listing presentation.
Outline exactly what the buying process is, what your role is, what the homebuyer’s role is and how you’ll be working together to accomplish their goals.
More and more, you’ll start to compete for buyer business in a similar way you do for listings now.
2. Find them their dream home.
One of the top concerns for homebuyers as well as agents right now is the historic lack of inventory. It’s YOUR job, not theirs to find the right home for their needs. Stop waiting for them to send you a link to the house they want to see next. Drill down on their needs and get out there and find it for them.
Be more creative in your MLS searches. Change the search area, change the type of home or find an equally great school district to look in that has more inventory. Remove square footage as a requirement. Instead, look for a three-bedroom with a loft instead of only four bedrooms, for example.
3. Offer them solutions to get a better-than-average mortgage rate.
You don’t have to know as much as your competent mortgage lender does, but you should be able to competently discuss options, such as rate buy-downs, adjustable-rate mortgages and how to pay points to lock in a lower rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage.
Loop your buyer’s lender into the mix and have coffee with your buyer clients and the loan officer to discuss loan options that meet their goals.
4. Be a matchmaker.
You must be more proactive than your buyer is in the property search. If they’re dying to be in just one specific neighborhood, door-knock that neighborhood for them to uncover the next motivated seller.
If they are in a new construction price range but haven’t really considered it, go take a video of a home that could be a match for them and see what their thoughts are. If there’s a For Sale By Owner in their desired neighborhood and price range, go talk to that seller, take a video and set up a showing (before your buyer does that without you).
5. Be one step ahead of the process once they’re under contract.
This is where being proactive matters. Overcommunicate. Manage the inspection process so they don’t freak out over small items.
Help set up their utilities for them, recommend movers, homeowner’s insurance companies and anything else to alleviate stress. Show your value by making the process smooth and pleasurable instead of stressful and confusing.
Tim and Julie Harris host a podcast for real estate professionals. Tim and Julie have been real estate coaches for more than two decades, coaching the top agents in the country through different types of markets.