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What are First Time Buyers Looking for when Choosing a Realtor?

When creating a marketing strategy for your real estate business, it’s important to answer this question; What are first time buyers looking for when choosing a realtor? What are ALL homebuyers looking for when choosing a realtor? Once you’ve successfully answered this question, you can market yourself to attract more leads. 


Real Estate Agent or Realtor?

Those that understand the difference between real estate agent and realtor usually prefer hiring a realtor. Realtors adhere to a code of ethics that includes best practices for handling all monetary transactions and ensuring that all parties involved in the sale/purchase of a home are notified by each decision in the process. Realtors are trained to value their client’s interest over their own, they must not discriminate against any person, they must provide documentation of every decision in the home buying/selling process. Realtors must also get clear consent from clients before accepting any sort of payment and they cannot mislead or withhold facts about any property. Of course there are many other ethical rules and guidelines that realtors are upheld to follow and work by, because of these reasons clients feel there is more transparency when buying a home with a realtor, and in all the decisions made behind the scenes.


Through Referrals 

There are still many agents that work by referral basis only, and they have enough clients that they do not spend too much money marketing themselves to the public. Once you have a happy client they are more likely to share your contact card with solid leads within their social circle! You can help your satisfied clients spread the word by preparing them with all the information they may need if their friends or family ask any questions about you. Provide your client with a survey of sorts before you’ve finished closing the deal, create questions that make them think about WHY they want to refer you to others. Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

  • How did you like working with me?

  • What did you like the most about working with me?

  • What did you like least?

  • Was I good at staying in touch? (Phone/text/email)

  • Is the purchase process going smoothly?

  • How did I handle giving you difficult news/moving past difficult moments?

  • Did you like working with the loan officer I referred you to?

Now why are these questions important? Because these are the same questions their friends may ask them about you and their experience when they are referring them to use your services! Have them reflect on their experience so they are prepared to speak up confidently about you. 

Referrals are not just from other clients, ask your mortgage lender what you would need to do for them to refer more clients to you. If you are just an agent, they may require you to become a realtor so they feel more comfortable referring their clients to you for such a large transaction. Some lenders will only refer clients to you if you start to bring THEM more business. Just keep in mind this can really start to blur the lines, make sure you are referring your own clients to a mortgage lender because they are the right fit, not to help build a partnership with that business.


Social Media

Now we can’t all rely on referrals, especially in the beginning of your career. You must have a solid marketing strategy and today social media seems to be the most effective and most affordable way. According to the National Association of Realtors 76% of realtors are using Facebook to find new clients.


Local Association of Realtors

When shopping for real estate agents many buyers will turn to the local association of realtors for referrals, knowing this information take advantage of your local association. Ask them how they refer agents so you can better understand what it is you need to do to make it to the top of that referral list each time!


Just like any other job, real estate agents get interviewed to work with prospective clients. You may not even realize it, but the first phone call you receive from a client they are already screening you to see if you’re a match. And just like with any other job, you should be prepared for the interview, you want to make sure your answers are confident and you are not surprised by any question. You should be prepared for questions like:

  • How long have you been in the business?

  • Have you ever had a complaint filed against you with the state department of real estate?

  • How many transactions a year do you make?

  • Do you have a specialty area?

  • What’s the average price of housing in the city I’m looking to buy in?

  • Tell me about the schools/churches/shopping centers and entertainment venues in the area?

  • What is the crime rate in the city?

Some clients may even ask for references, they may want to talk with past customers to see how they feel about working with you. 

During all meetings with prospective clients take your time when answering their questions. It can be exciting finally receiving a solid lead, but make sure you are not overpromising. You must meet all client expectations, because even if you do a good job the client won’t feel that way if you didn’t do everything you said you would. You can manage your clients expectations by interviewing them in the beginning as well.

Realtor.com/Zillow.com & more

Websites like Realtor.com and Zillow.com have millions of realtors registered, some people looking to buy a home are referred to these websites when looking for an agent. Make sure that your profile is live and up to date on all these websites. You will also want to ensure that all your details are accurate on the website so you have a better chance of matching with clients when they use the website's filters.

Think of this as “reverse marketing”, if you find out what prospective buyers are doing to look for an agent, it becomes easier to position yourself to be seen and chosen!