It has been said that “All you need is love,” but the real estate version of that would be “All you need is first-time homebuyers.” I say that not because every REALTOR® relishes the opportunity to work with first-time buyers, but because without them, the market would grind to a halt.
First-time buyers are the grease in the great real estate machine, and more than that, they so often remind us of the excitement and dream-level accomplishment that owning your own little postage stamp size of the earth really is. First-time buyers on the other hand, are a bundle of emotions and anxiety carried in a handbag of feigned confidence and they need steady guidance more than they know.
Let’s take these few minutes to discuss the best way to help first-time homebuyers manage their expectations.
Consultation Is Key
Before undertaking a major renovation project, you consult a professional contractor. Before buying investments, you consult a financial expert. Before listing a home, a seller meets with a professional REALTOR®. So why on earth would a buyer who plans to commit themselves to a large purchase of real property not want to meet with a professional REALTOR® before they get started?
Every buyer should have a pre-showing consultation session with a REALTOR® they plan on working with. In this session, like a listing presentation, the REALTOR® can explain:
In this consultation, a REALTOR® can help a buyer determine if their vision matches reality in the area where they are purchasing, help avoid pitfalls and misconceptions, and provide helpful advice and recommendations, such as when to meet with an independent mortgage broker or lawyer. The best time to get the big stuff handled is before the buyer falls in love with a property and has false expectations of the process.
Dispelling the Myths
Contrary to popular belief, binge-watching reality real estate TV shows does not prepare you for the true reality of buying real estate. Moreover, rarely, any of those shows even take place within the province of Alberta let alone Canada. The truth of buying real property in Alberta is often much more work and much less glamour than a first-time buyer expects. In reality, some myths need to be dispelled at the beginning to ensure a positive experience with accurate expectations.
You will not likely see only three (3) properties as be asked to write an offer on one.
There is no magic number, and markets differ, but on average a buyer looks at as many as ten (10) homes before deciding to make an offer on one.
Not every offer has a successful conclusion.
In busy markets, buyers may write several offers before finally landing one successfully.
Digital photos are an accurate representation of the home.
Digital photos and tours should be used only to filter at a high level, often the digital photos are quite deceiving to the real property in person.
You save money by buying a fixer-upper.
In the long term you are almost always better to buy a property that matches your needs and moving up later than to by a ‘potential’ dream home and ending up with a money pit.
The perfect home is out there, you just have to keep looking.
There is no such home on planet earth. If a buyer finds a home that ticks 80-85% of the checkboxes jump on it.
These are only a few myths that need dispelling for a first-time homebuyer, but these types of conversations should be intentional, and a REALTOR® should never assume the buyer already knows these things. They have simply assumed most of what they know about buying real estate.
All Real Estate is Local
Although the media loves to talk about the Canadian real estate market, the Alberta real estate market, or even the Edmonton real estate market, the truth is that none of those markets are real. Oh, some metrics can be gleaned on those levels, and they can provide valuable trends, but all real estate is local right down to the property type and neighbourhood. Suppose a buyer hears on the news that the Canadian real estate market is a bubble or some similar amorphous headline about the Alberta market, for example. Does that mean that things are the same in Picher Creek as in Edmonton or the same in High River as in Calgary? Of course not.
Even within major centers, adjacent neighbourhoods can be quite different, certainly across property types such as single-family or condominiums. The truth is that buyers need the local expertise and data for the specific areas where they are interested in purchasing, and that comes from a REALTOR® who is local to that area and has that on-the-ground experience. As a side note, in my experience, by the time it hits the major news networks, that news is old news and already several months behind the situation on the street.
All complaints and conflicts flow out of one core issue. Unmet expectations. One party expected this, and the other party delivered that. By taking the time to meet with potential buyer clients, especially first-time buyers, early and providing a clear path forward on the process and what success looks like, both REALTOR® and buyer will be on the same page. A buyer with clear expectations and a well-informed plan should never find themselves fence-sitting for long but making a good purchasing decision to benefit their future.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: email@example.comPhone: 403-209-3619