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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   July 2013

Unlocking a Positive Homebuying Experience

Localized quality service is vital for helping first-time homebuyers

As the housing market continues to rebound and local markets continue to strengthen, first-time homebuyers are faced with a sudden problem: difficulty entering the market. For the first time in years, homes are being sold for more than their asking prices, typically as the result of a bidding war. First-time homebuyers and trade-up homebuyers — who don’t have the same finances and capital as those already in higher-value homes — are now facing limited inventory with fewer affordable properties.

Because buying a first home is one of the most significant milestones in a person’s life and can be quite intimidating, consumers are hungry for tools and guidance in navigating such an important endeavor. In this respect, clear and consistent communication from lenders is key to creating a positive homebuying experience.

Despite historically low interest rates, the realities of an economy that is just now on the mend are most evident during the loan-application process. To say the least, home financing can be a challenge for many buyers. Banks are lending more conservatively and are working to comply with new loan requirements and standards, but there are still ways to work within the current credit environment to make the process easier for your buyers.

When it comes to the homebuying process, responsiveness, accessibility, honesty and transparency often are the most important factors in providing a buyer with a positive purchasing process. But these service qualities don’t apply only to mortgage brokers’ own interactions with consumers; brokers and originators also should encourage their clients to get to know their local banks and lenders, who can greatly help with the loan process. Encouraging buyers to speak with a lender from the start of their home-searching process will set you and your buyer up for success down the road.

If you haven’t already done so, get to know your local banks on a personal level; for instance, introduce yourself to their managers, and become comfortable with the services and products that they offer. The education that they can provide to your clients is invaluable during a process that can be intimidating — especially for first-time consumers who are unfamiliar with the homebuying process. A lender you trust will give you an added resource to offer buyers.

In particular, seek out banks that offer local lending and localized decisionmaking on mortgage loans. By providing potential clients with a knowledgeable resource, you’ll ensure that they will be comfortable during the mortgage process and will make educated choices about the homes they’re purchasing. The homebuying process can be a confusing and stressful time for buyers. In today’s low-interest environment where most lenders can offer historically low rates, homebuyers should be particularly focused on finding a financing partner who is accessible, responsive and transparent throughout the homebuying proces.

Today, we’re seeing more buyers than homes on the market, bidding wars ensuing and homeowners who are patiently — and optimistically — waiting for their home values to rise. As the housing market seems to be getting back on track, it is important that real estate professionals work together to provide positive homebuying experiences to customers to maintain the momentum of the market.


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