In a seller's market, what can you do for buyers?

As you know, it's been a seller's market for quite some time, which makes us wonder what's ahead in 2018. According to Inman, the trend will continue this year. Economic analysts and real estate experts predict more millennials will enter the housing market in search of their first home. And while there was an increase in building permits in 2017, those homes won't be on the market until the late summer or fall of this year.

So, how can you ease the minds of buyers when houses fly off the market, leaving you with little time to find one for them?

Begin by talking with them. When you provide valuable information about the local housing market and access to tools to help them find their dream home, you give them insights to cope with the stress of their transition. You also know there are a few strategic things that can be done to put your clients on the inside track when they do find that perfect home. Don't assume your buyers know these things.

Strongly encourage clients to be flexible and prioritize their wish list.

When there's no time to waste, some clients can't afford to be picky. Know what they need, and what they can do without. They may hold fast to having a room for each child but may decide that granite countertops are a want and not a need. It also helps if they can be flexible with their timeline. If the seller needs to stay in the home for an extra month or wants to close by the end of the week, talk to your clients about how you can help make it happen. A little bit of inconvenience (such as living in an extended stay hotel for two weeks) could be the key to buying the home of their dreams.

Make sure your clients get a pre-approval letter from a lender.

This letter will prove to sellers that your clients have been financially vetted and are a great candidate for the home they want. It will also help clients know what mortgage they can reasonably afford, which can help narrow down their search. Once you provide homes for clients to consider, they may only have one chance to see the home they love. When there's no time to waste, your clients will be glad they already have a pre-approval letter to get the ball rolling.

Recommend that an escalation clause be added to the offer.

If your clients know how much they are willing to pay over another offer, it can help ease their nerves if a bidding war takes off. Suggesting this clause demonstrates to your clients that you are there to help them make the best offer on the home they love.

Explain the value of a personal letter.

Advise clients on situations that call for a heartfelt letter to sellers. In some scenarios, these can make or break the outcome of a competitive multi-offer bidding war. Sharing why they love the home or why they want to live in the area can appeal to a seller's soft side. If the family is relocating from out of state and needs to find a place before school starts, that should be included in the letter. Ultimately, sellers will put the most value into the highest bid. But, adding a personal touch can go a long way for your clients.

You are a professional and have your own unique style, but your most valuable tool is communication. Strong communication helps your clients understand the buying process, and may help them open their wallets to enhance their offer. When you communicate in a way that builds trust with your clients, they'll confidently put their faith in you to find their dream home.
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