Many of the usual dating rules also apply to homebuyers: Don’t fall in love at first sight, look beyond superficial traits and be willing to break up if it goes south.
CHICAGO – Your clients are looking for a home to fall in love with, so here’s how to perfect your matchmaking skills and help them find the one.
Home shopping, like dating in the 21st century, almost always starts online as well. They’re both about finding the right one – and just like a matchmaker, house hunters turn to you to help them wade through the pool of eligible homes and find the one of their dreams. Here are eight ways online dating and home shopping are exactly the same and what your role is as the matchmaker:
- Date someone like you: Knowing their price range is like knowing who is in their league. You have to help your client be as realistic as possible here. In the dating world, it’s a waste of time always going after people who you know won’t give you a chance. In a home search, there’s no point in lusting after houses you’ll never be able to afford. Be a good wingman for your client and only introduce them to prospective properties they have a serious chance with.
- Be emotionally ready: Be sure they’re ready to move on. Buying a home is a long-term commitment; is your client ready for something long-term? Help your client get prequalified – it’ll show they’re ready to move on from their current home or apartment. In other words, make sure they’re over their last real estate love. Ask them for a sign they’re not just pretending to be ready to move on.
- Do they look like their profile? Ever met a date who looked nothing like the online photo? Well, homes sometimes also look way better online than they do in person. Before agreeing to take them on a home tour, ask your client to name something not related to aesthetics that draws them to the home. Then you’ll know a deeper connection is possible.
- Don’t be superficial: Don’t make decisions based on first impressions. After they meet in person, your client may think the house is as awesome as it appeared online. But encourage your client to take it slow before making a commitment. Keep them grounded by pushing them to do an inspection (or maybe more than one) to make sure the home isn’t hiding any dark secrets inside.
- Don’t second-guess your heart (or gut). Love at first sight is rare, but it happens. It’s possible your client will find the home of their dreams in the first property they see. If this is the case, don’t try and rationalize or talk them out of their decision. But do make sure they take the necessary precautions before jumping into this new real estate relationship.
- Ask friends what they think: Are you worried your client is being blinded by the twinkle in the windows and the sparkle in the backyard pool? Do you think the home is just a pig wearing lipstick? Tell your client to bring their friends, parents, and others they trust to a second showing. They’ll see right through any facade and help your client avoid falling for the wrong house.
- Celebrate the “marriage”: Once your client closes the transaction and walks down the aisle and into their new home, congratulate them and come to their housewarming party to show your support for their new status as a homeowner.
- Wish them a lifetime of happiness: Show your clients steps they can take to care for their home so they don’t fall on hard times. Give them resources to keep up with home maintenance and make sure they know never to ignore problems that may pop up. This will help your clients have an enduring home that comforts them and their families for years to come.
Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Mary McIntosh, GRI, AHWD, is associate broker at ProSmart Realty in Gilbert, Ariz., and has been selling real estate since 2002.
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