Many realtors are afraid to ask for their buyer clients to sign commitments, but your time and services are valuable and must be treated as such or risk leaving your business in a vulnerable position.
But I have good news: getting buyers to commit with a signed agreement, if you have an effective process in place, is pretty easy!
As realtors we understand the importance of getting a seller/listing agreement signed. I know those agreements are required to list a property, but why not make it a requirement for your buyer clients, as well? Yes, you have more money invested into a listing/seller client, but you typically have much more time into your buyer clients. And time is money!
So, how do you do it? You must treat the process just like you do with your seller/listing clients. You need to perform an official “Buyer's Consultation”. At the end of the day, it does not matter where the consultation happens, as long as it happens, it may be at your office, a property, at their house, or at a local coffee shop.
To get this buyer consultation appointment scheduled, you MUST sell the value in the appointment. Most realtors try to sell themselves to potential clients, but the reality is we need to sell them on the appointment first. Then, during the consultation, we can sell our services.
Buyer Consultation/Appointment Setting Script:
“The next best step in the process is to set up a time for us to meet so I can fully understand your goals, your needs, what is important to you, as well as educate you on the buying process here in (your area). There are some costs which you will incur during the process. For example, inspection fees, appraisal fee, loan down payment, lender and title closing costs, etc. There are also areas you are protected by in the contract, and areas in which you are at risk. With that being said, I like to meet with all my clients and thoroughly explain the entire process, answer all of your questions, and give you all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. You may decide now is the time to buy a new home, or you may decide now is not the time to buy a home. Whichever route you decide is 100% okay, of course. Just so you know, there is no hassle, no obligation, and everything I do is 100% zero pressure. Again, the sole purpose of us meeting is to provide you with all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself and for your family. Also, I like to make everything as convenient for my clients as I can. We can meet at my office, your current residence, at a local coffee shop, or whatever works best for you. I have X time and X time available tomorrow (just as an example), which one of those times works best for you?”
IMPORTANT NOTE: If a buyer says “No”, they are not rejecting you; they are essentially saying “Not right now.” So, in that case, you can say something like, “No worries at all, I know you may not be ready to meet at this time. I will continue sending you homes which meet your criteria and will check in from time to time to see if there is anything you need or any questions I can answer. Thanks again, and have an amazing day!”
Then continue to check in frequently.
OK. So let’s say you have the appointment set. Now what do you do during that appointment? First, and this is really important, you must ask great questions and listen deeply to the buyer’s needs and wants.
Things To Cover During The Appointment Process:
#1: All the features they would like in their new home. Remember, it is not just about the home itself but understanding everything that is important. For example, in addition to the home features, maybe their kids are involved in certain activities, and they want to be close by to those, etc. The deeper you go, the better!
#2: Identify their time frames. A great question to ask is, “In a perfect world, if we could time this out perfectly, when would you be sticking the key into the front door of your new home?” This question can tell you a lot, and can help prevent you from becoming a chauffeur for the next six months.
#3: Educate them on the step by step buying process. What each step is, timeframes, contract contingencies, how they are protected by the contract, potential ways they can be at risk, and what those consequences are, monetary investments, etc. A mistake I see a lot of realtors make is to skip this process with buyer clients who have purchased multiple homes in the past. The average person moves every five years, which is a long time to remember everything that is involved in the process. Even if it is a reminder, it is always better to over educate than the alternative.
IMPORTANT NOTE: In addition to educating your clients, this process is important as it shows the value you bring. As an example, while educating, you can use scripts like this: “Per the contract, we have X days to perform our inspections. We can always request more time, if needed, but in most cases this timeframe provides enough time to do the necessary inspections. During the inspection period, we have the option to cancel the contract, accept the property as is, or ask the seller to do the repairs which you would like to see performed. Again, we have X days to do our inspections. Let's say you want to request some repairs. We must get that request in writing, signed by you, and delivered to the listing realtor by 11:59pm on X day. If we miss that time, even by a minute, you have now accepted the property AS-IS. So, it is absolutely critical we pay close attention to all the timeframes inside the purchase contract. Now, I don’t want you to stress about it, as this is what I am here for. I will make sure all the timeframes are met, and I will always look out for your best interests.“ In the above example script, you are educating and showing your value as their realtor.
#4: Educate them on everything you are doing for them as well as how you get paid. Make a list of everything you do. Don’t be afraid to make it a full page of items. This list demonstrates the value of utilizing your services and is critical to educate them on what you do and how you get paid. Instruct them on what must happen if they attend an open house without you, or want to see a FSBO, or want to go look at new build developments in your area, etc. In the majority of cases I have ever seen where a realtor get’s “burned” by a buyer client (home purchase with a different buyer agent), it was the realtor’s fault for not educating the client properly.
#5: Ask for their commitment via a signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”, or whatever your area and/or Brokerage calls the document.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have found it is critical to do the “Buyer Consultation” in the exact steps outlined above, as doing so allows you to build a relationship, trust, and value to utilize you as their realtor!
Simple Script To Getting The Signed “Buyer Employment Agreement”
Have the agreement ready to go right after you get done explaining all the services you provide. You can then transition into a script just like this: “There are other things that I do in the process, but that was a list of the main items I am doing to ensure your real estate goals are accomplished. As I stated, I only get paid upon the successful closing of your home. I want you to know that I am fully committed to helping you accomplish your real estate goals. I will always put your needs first and always lookout for your best interests. I am 100% committed to my career and my clients, and all I ask in return is your commitment to me. Here is our “Buyer Employment Agreement,” which states that if you choose to buy a home in the next X Days or Months (however much time you are asking them to commit for), that you are committed to using me as your Realtor. You are in no way obligated by any means to purchase a home, and I would never push you into doing anything that you don’t want to do. Again, I am 100% committed to my clients, and ask that they commit to utilizing my services in return.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: I recommend you role play this script over many times. The more natural you make the transition, the more success you are going to have. Also, don’t make it seem like you are asking them if they are going to commit. Instead, lead with the approach that you are assuming they are. As you deliver the above script, have the agreement and a pen ready, start filling it out, and then ask them to sign and date it.
You may get some push back, of course, but you will be amazed at how many clients agree to committing to you right away. If you hear something like, “I refuse to sign that. I am going to go with whichever realtor finds me the right home,” in my opinion, don’t walk but run from them. Those are clients you do not want. However, if the buyer says something like, “I see the value in your services, and I do want to use you, but I feel uncomfortable signing anything as I have had a bad experience in the past.” Well, then you can make your best judgement call on how to handle it from there.
Alright, I know this was a long one today, but hopefully you found MASSIVE value in it! Now, it is time to get your “Buyer Consultation Process” dialed in so you can get more committed clients, which will 100% result in more closings!
Thanks for reading!
Joshua Smith, Realtor/Mentor/Entrepreneur
-Voted 30th Top Realtor in America by The Wall Street Journal
-Over 5,000 Homes Sold & Currently Selling More Than 1 Home Daily