Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Christine Lindemer, a Realtor with ERA Key Realty Services, for her tips on how agents can truly help their clients.
6. Communication Style – You want to reach clients in the way they prefer, and there are so many choices: email, phone calls, text messages, automatically-sent listings. Some people have one preferred method of communication, such as texting. And perhaps they also have a time preference for messages. Some clients like to be contacted before their workday so they can make plans to see new listings that evening. It’s best to know your client’s expectations to avoid miscommunication – and missed opportunities!
5. Housing Style – Do your clients picture themselves in a modern “open concept” home, or can they live with lots of walls dividing your living spaces? Do they like colonials and Cape Cods with their stairways, or only ranch-style homes with ‘one level living?’ It’s okay – there’s something for everyone! And some folks must have a basement and/or attic as well, so let your client know before you hit the road.
4. Pre-approvals – This is a must in today’s market. Without a preapproval letter from a loan officer or financial institution, you really don’t know your client’s buying power. Once you know how much they can afford, there may be many financial products which are options to them, depending on the geographic area of the home, military service background, and their income level. In addition, a pre-approval letter strengthens your client’s offer, especially in a multiple offer scenario.
3. Location – Are there a number of towns (or cities) that your client will consider, or just one town? Also, do they prefer certain neighborhoods, developments, or parts of towns? Being close to particular roadways is important to many, so make sure to know if your client desires such a feature. Others need to remain in – or move to – specific school districts. Do they need to be in a quiet area, or do they enjoy a hubbub of activity?
2. Finishes – This one can get tricky. Are your clients okay with boldly painted walls and wallpaper, or do they need neutral surfaces in good condition? Hardwood floors are popular and are in homes new and old – or do your clients like carpeting under their bare feet? And what about the kitchen? Some people need just the right countertop (think granite here), while others just need a place to park their grocery bags.
1. Lot/Land – What exactly do your clients need or want? Are they looking for minimal mowing, or do they want a large backyard for family fun? Do they only want a level lot, or are they open to steeper lots? Do they need lots of sun for gardening, or is their style of living more woodsy? And if they need a lot of space, how far out from a large city are they willing to move to be able to afford some acreage? And if they buy enough of it, expect to be asked about getting a pony.
Christine Lindemer is a Realtor with ERA Key Realty Services. A Massachusetts resident for 25 years (17 of which have been in Groton as a small historic farm and orchard owner), Christine is also an accredited ASP Home Staging professional, and offers complimentary home staging consultation and assistance with all new listing agreements.