How to Woo Buyers Who Just Started Searching

February 3, 2016

More than half of the leads collected with Open Home Pro® do not yet have a Realtor representing them, which is great if you’re looking for new clients. However, some agents worry that unrepresented buyers at an open house aren’t serious enough about their home search to spend time pursuing.

Instead of dismissing these visitors as “window shoppers”, perhaps a change of perspective is in order. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, first-time homebuyers spend an average of three weeks on their home search before contacting an agent. Repeat buyers spend an average of two weeks house hunting before reaching out to a Realtor. Catching these buyers during their preliminary search presents a unique opportunity to convert them into clients if you know how to sustain your interaction with them.

Early stage buyers have a slightly different set of needs than buyers who are farther along in the purchase process, and they will tune you out if you don’t cater to their interests. Instead, find ways to gently demonstrate your value. Your goal is to stay top of mind so that when they’re ready, their Realtor choice is clear (YOU).

Here’s how to catch their attention — and keep it.

Start with the steps they’re closest to

Many early stage buyers are concentrating on getting finances in order and nailing down where they should focus their search. Provide them with targeted content, such as pre-approval advice, a link to an affordability calculator, or tips for evaluating potential neighborhoods.

By offering the exact information they’re looking for, you’ll keep them hanging on your every word. You can even edit your Open Home Pro Premium follow-up email content to include links to a few of your resources, so your leads will know right away that you are an expert they can count on.

Position yourself as a community expert

This is your time to shine. Demonstrate your wealth of neighborhood knowledge to early stage buyers and they will see you as an asset to their home hunt. Establish your value by dispensing neighborhood advice on anything from restaurants to home service professionals, veterinary services, and local activities. In addition to community know-how, consider sharing fun photos and happy stories from past clients to cement your image as a Realtor who cares about them –- even after they’ve closed on their dream house.

Make communication quick and easy

Many homebuyers have busy lives, and the extra time spent house hunting can eat into their already overloaded schedules. Recent research shows that 66 percent of homebuyers found their house using a mobile application*, meaning that many are searching on-the-go.

By creating PDF documents, informative email newsletters, or blog posts detailing early stage homebuying information and neighborhood tidbits, you ensure that your leads can access that information easily no matter where they are. Additionally, staying present and active on social media is key to keeping up with younger buyers and acquainting yourself with their interests and concerns.

When you can, personalize

Mass emails help you reach many people at once, but they can also feel impersonal. It’s much easier to appeal to buyers if you tailor the message to their unique situation.

Use the Open Home Pro notes feature to jot down helpful reminders about each lead you collect at your open house. That way, the next time you get ready to email that canine-loving couple, you’ll remember to include information on the nearby dog park or your favorite pet-friendly shops.

Be patient

Since early stage buyers are just starting to dip their toes into the homebuying process, it stands to reason that it will take a few weeks before they are ready and able to move forward with finding that dream home. Luckily, many first-time homebuyers have similar questions and concerns. Once you have prepared the materials to address their needs, those items can be used repeatedly and will continue to be relevant for a significant amount of time.

Targeting these shoppers can be a strategic advantage for agents looking to grow their client base since many Realtors prefer to pursue buyers who are ready to make the purchase today. Putting in a little bit of time can not only make you their number one choice, it can also get you referred to their friends and families — who might be further along on the house-hunting quest.

*Source: National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

Kaitlin Williams

Kaitlin Williams is a writer and editor covering trends, technology, and marketing in the real estate industry. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.