Have you noticed the TV commercials for Carvana, the newest way to shop for a car? It amazes most of us that someone would buy a car sight-unseen, but they’re doing it. They totally shop online, then they get the car delivered to them, or they can pick it up at a really amazing “car vending machine.” It’s glass and you can see the cars as they come down to be dispensed.
No, it’s definitely not a trend that we’ll see in buying homes, but is there a home buyer service or suite of services we can supply that is similar? The facts bear out that home buyers, just like car buyers, want to eliminate the hassles of locating the right home. They would like to avoid some of the steps. Sure, they can do searches online, repeat the searches waiting for new listings, then contact you and go see homes. What if they want the process to be less of a hassle though?
The idea is to make the home search as easy as possible on the buyer(s), but to also have them trust the process to get them into the best homes that meet their criteria.
Know Their Criteria
You can’t make this work unless you know what your buyer clients want, down to the last detail. You’ll only know this if you ask them, and this is the most important part. You will need to develop questions and an easy format to get the answers, and you want to get as much detail as possible.
Niche & Details
First, if you tend to specialize in niche markets, start with the one you work in the most. For example, assume you specialize in first-time home buyers, so you’ll want to work with requirements and needs for this group first. Actually, this is one of the more detail-intensive niches, as they need more information and help than other buyer types.
Develop the Questions
This is going to take a while, some research, and a number of tries before you get it right, but it’s critical that you do. The only way this will work and provide value that your buyers will appreciate and refer to others is to cover every important detail about what they want in a home, why they want it, and what they can afford. This includes their priorities, as well as what they’re willing to give up for other amenities.
Get help if you need it, as crafting questions that get the answers you want is as much art as science. If you craft ambiguous questions, you’ll get answers that are not helpful. Most of them will be easy to come up with, like:
- favorite neighborhoods
- price range
- bedrooms, baths, garage, etc.
- yard size, location (cul de sac, dead-end street, etc.)
- nearby area amenities desired (shopping, entertainment, parks, green areas, etc.)
- schools importance
- crime stats importance
- etc, etc, etc. You’ll come up with many, so ask them all.
You’re going to need to put these questions into a form that can be filled out online easily. Luckily, you can use Google Forms free for this. You have several formats, such as text or multiple choice. Multiple choice is a great format, as it is easy for them to answer and you control the answer choices to fit your MLS search input.
You market this on your website as a concierge service to make finding the perfect home as easy as possible. You don’t want them to stop halfway, though there is one benefit in this approach if they do. You offer the Concierge Needs Questionnaire on the site, and they give you their contact information to have it emailed to them ready to fill in. So, you have your lead information even if they don’t send it back.
You want to make it clear that your job is to get as much information as possible so that you can locate the very best homes that meet their needs and save them the searching. Are buyers really “liars?” Perhaps they’ll shade a few answers, especially price range, but you can work with that. You want people who want help expert help in their search process.