The primary goal of a buyer’s real estate agent is to match-make buyers to houses they will love. Of course, a good match isn’t just about the house. Your buyers will also become part of the local neighborhood and the area will become the environment that surrounds their home. Even if the house is perfect, your buyers will likely begin asking questions about the area, and you need to be ready to answer. How good are the schools? What’s the distance to downtown? Does the neighborhood come with any special rules or policies?
When your buyers ask these questions, you need to know the answers off the top of your head. Home choices are made from the heart and in that moment, buyers need to know if it’s safe to fall in love with a house. They want to know if they’ll fall in love with the neighborhood as well. Being able to answer these questions quickly and knowledgeably can make a home sale as buyers become confident in a property. This is why you need to know the following details about an area before showing each and every property:
- Commute Distance
- HOA Considerations
- Local Parks
- Local Attractions
- House and Rental Prices
- Trash Day
- Unique Local Policies
- Required Disclosures
Be the Source of the Source
Before we begin, the best tip we can give you is to be the “source of the source”, not the direct source of information. What this means is that you should know the source (websites, organizations, etc.) of any information that your clients can look up. That way, they can get the detailed facts themselves, and you’re not liable for anything that might have changed or been misunderstood.
1. Nearby Schools and Education Quality
One of the first things most buyers will ask about is the quality of the schools. For parents, part of their dream home is being close to good schools that will benefit their children. Ideally, they’d like a home close enough that their children can walk or bike safely, but quality of the schools matters the most.
Before you show a house, take the time to look up the nearby schools and learn their names. This information will be noted in the MLS listing. Find out how good the nearest schools are based on both local and national averages. Buyers want reassurance that their children will have access to a good education if they choose a particular home.
Recommend that your clients co to the CCSD website to invest the quality of the schools for themselves.
2. Commute Time to Downtown
For the adult residents, one of the biggest concerns is commute-time. Even if buyers don’t realize this is important to them, mentioning that a home is only 15 minutes from downtown can be a surprisingly powerful selling point. Many people are compromising on longer commutes to live in the suburbs so any home that is closer to downtown than it feels has an underestimated point in its favor.
Knowing how long the commute-to-downtown will be is easy. Simply look up the route from the home address to the center of downtown in Google Maps. For bonus insight, be sure to look it up during rush-hour when traffic delays are included in the calculation.
3. HOA Status and Policies
If the property you are showing is inside an HOA, your buyers need to know. Some buyers will love this, some won’t. But buying an HOA home is a profound additional investment. Buyers will become neighborhood association members. They will be expected to pay dues and will be subject to the HOA’s policies and, potentially, their fines. So when your buyers ask if the home is in an HOA and, if so, what that will be like, you need to have the answers ready.
Start by getting to know the local HOAs as best you can as a non-member. Learn their policies, look into any related news reports or lawsuits, and find out what the dues are. Ask the seller of HOA homes for greater insights and, ideally, a copy of their CC&Rs. Many HOAs are hands-off and pleasant to live in, but you want to help buyers find the right HOA neighborhood to match their lifestyle and homeowner preferences.
4. Nearby Parks and Bike Paths
For buyers who love being outdoors or bicycle as well as drive, knowing the local parks will be essential. Be able to rattle off one to three parks near the property and the local natural attractions that make the parks appealing. Some buyers are looking for a neighborhood that is friendly for bicycling. Some are looking for a nearby park with a great playground for the kids. Some want a local green space to play with their dog.
So brush up on the location and amenities of any nearby parks. If your buyers ask, you want to have a quick and friendly answer about how close the nearest park is and the enjoyable features it has to offer.
5. Prominent Local Attractions
Local attractions are a great perk for most new homeowners, whatever that attraction might be. Most neighborhoods and cities have a few special attractions they are proud of. A home might be only a few minutes from a great local theme park, a legendary local restaurant, or a waterfront where the whole community goes to swim and boat during the summer.
Do a little light research on the area to find out what is considered a prominent local attraction and mention these to your clients. You never know what buyers will be delighted by or even eager to live near. Local attractions also make a great addition to your conversation about the selling points of a house and neighborhood.
6. Neighborhood Average Home Prices and Rental Rates
On the serious side, you will also want to know the average prices for homes in the area, both for buying and renting. Buyers may be thinking about flipping in the near or distant future. Or they may be considering the possibility of renting the home. Knowing the average selling price of homes in the neighborhood will tell buyers about how the current home rate compares and their potential for increasing the home’s value. While knowing the average local rental rate will tell buyers how much potential the current property might have as a rental if they decide to go that direction.
7. Trash Day
Every neighborhood has a few special days and rituals, trash day being the most universal. In fact, trash day can vary from street to street, not just area to area. You can get some serious insider knowledge cred for knowing which day is trash day, if there’s a special bulk trash day during the year, and where the closets blue post box might be. These little details define the minute day-to-day life of residents should your clients choose to buy a particular property.
8. Any Special Laws or Conditions
Consider where your buyers are from and if they have owned a home in the area before. If your state, city, or a particular neighborhood has rules that are not nationally universal, it’s worthwhile to share these conditions. If, for example, rental or short-term rental is not permitted in an area, buyers need to know this. Make sure you are informed and inform your buyers about any unique homeowner conditions for the area or neighborhood of each property you show.
9. Required Disclosures
In your state, there are likely also a few things you are required to disclose to new buyers. In Southern Nevada, this includes known defects, liens, and any other important information that would be considered due-diligence for your buyer clients. As the buyer’s agent, be sure you know and share everything that should be considered, especially facts that might make your buyers think twice.
As a real estate agent, you want to help buyers find a house that perfectly suits their lifestyle. That includes a neighborhood they’ll love in addition to the perfect house. Being able to answer these questions with knowledgeable facts can help buyers either confidently make a decision or choose another house based on factors that truly matter to them. Either way, you’ll have helped your clients make a more complete, informed, and rewarding final decision about which home to buy.
If you or someone you know is interested in a career in real estate, consider enrolling in the Century 21 Real Estate School. Learn the best ways to sell, the information to have on-hand, and what is best to say or not say. Contact us today to learn more!