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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Making the Case: Helping Prospective Homeowners Decide on a Location

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 21 August 2018 20:14

As a realtor, you’ll often meet prospective homeowners who know exactly where they want to live. Maybe they’ve done their research and know that they want to be within a particular school district. Or, maybe they want to be close to family members, retail and entertainment venues, their workplace and more. In these cases, you can quickly narrow down potential options based on their proximity to the locale of choice alone. This can save you valuable time and can help you better steer your clients in the right direction.

 

Other times, however, you might meet clients who aren’t exactly sure where they want to live. They may know a general vicinity, but are leaving it up to you to help them narrow down the specifics. In this case, it can help to be prepared with a few basic questions that can help you eliminate the “no” locations and steer them more quickly to the “yes.” Here are a few basics to cover before you begin your search.

 

1. What is their lifestyle like?

Are your clients more eager to settle down with a family, get into a great school district and live in a rural community? Or, are they looking to be around the hottest nightlife, where they can be within walking distance to the best restaurants, shopping districts, entertainment venues and more? Or, maybe they’re empty nesters looking to downsize and move into something that requires minimal upkeep, preferably near a golf course.

 

Understanding your clients’ hobbies and interests can go a long way in helping you determine the best location for them to live in. You wouldn’t want to show them a unit on the top level of a high-rise, for instance, if they’re looking for a big backyard where their children can play. Of course, there are some areas that offer both rural comfort and city convenience. For instance, communities near more urban areas often offer the best of both worlds. You can view more about those benefits to learn how living just outside of, but not within, a big city is often a preferred route to take.  

 

Take your time with this step and really get to know who they are, what they want, and what their vision is for the future.

 

2. Are they willing to commute?

If your clients work, are they looking for a property that is very close to their office? Or, are they willing to take public transportation or drive into work if it means getting a bigger or better home? Keep in mind that for many people, the length of their commute can play a direct role in their quality of life. If they’re stuck in rush hour traffic until after dinner time every night they may be looking for something that allows them to be home much quicker than before.

 

Along those same veins, determine if your clients are planning to stay in their current work positions for the long-term or if they are anticipating a career change in the near future. If it’s the latter, will this transition require them to move again? If so, a rental or apartment unit might be the best fit until they’re certain of their location.

 

3. What is their price range?

Put simply, it might cost your clients more to live in a highly desirable area that is close to everything and everyone they know and love. To this end, are they willing to spend the extra money it might take to secure the home of their dreams? Or, are they willing to sacrifice a few amenities and drive a little further to their activities if it means they can get a bigger home at a better value?

 

Check to see how important a particular locale is and price check the average selling point of homes in that area compared to nearby communities. If square footage or acreage is the most important factor, your clients may be willing to move a little bit outside of their zone of choice.

 

4. How important are climate and geography?

Before a client signs on the dotted line, it’s important that they understand exactly what they’re getting with a specific location. From the average yearly rainfall to the seasonal temperatures, they should understand the climate and geography like the back of their hand. This is important to ensure that they don’t move into their new home only to eventually realize that the winters there can be unseasonably cold or the summers are incredibly humid and buggy.

 

While some people might not care too much about these types of considerations, it’s worth a discussion with your clients. You should also make them aware if a particular area poses a geographical hazard, such as a flood or avalanche risk.

 

5. Are they willing to pay more for top safety?

As a general rule of thumb, properties in areas with a higher crime rate can often be found for less than those in highly secured and generally safe areas. While some clients might be fully motivated by price, most will be willing to spend a little more to live in a safer location. Be sure that whatever neighborhoods or communities your clients are interested in, you’re up front with the crime rates. Then, allow them to make their decisions from there.

 

Helping Your Clients Find the Location of Their Dreams

Deciding on a location can be one of the trickiest and most complicated parts about the homebuying process. As a real estate agent, it is important that you help guide your clients toward the property that will be the best fit for their lifestyle, goals, expectations and commitments. Then, you’ll be able to help them take that first step toward home ownership with confidence .

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