May 2, 2010

So What Happens Now?

Remember Dick Clark before Ryan Seacrest?

Last Friday night was kind of like December 31, 1999. Back then, I sat there watching the ball drop in NY's Times Square and wondered what would the new millennium bring? Remember all the fear and worry? Did you know anyone who loaded up on duct tape, bottled water and batteries?

As we know now, there wasn't much of a change in how we did things, unless you count no one ever deciding what to call the first decade of the 2000's? (The O's? The Zeroes? The Aughts?)

But when the clock struck midnight last Friday, April 30th, the landscape of today's real estate market may have seen a drastic change...or will it?

The Home Buyer Tax Credit certainly created a surge of buyer activity in markets all across the country but will that same energy and enthusiasm be sustained into the late spring and summer markets or will the housing market become a desolate setting for buyers and sellers, similar to the old western films with tumbleweeds floating down the streets?

What Have I Done?

How will you handle the potential Buyer's Remorse that may come from some of your last minute contract writers? Will you be prepared to counsel clients who went into contract on a home that may not close before the deadline of June 30th? What about those clients who decided to jump in the game too late and didn't find the right home?

One of the first things you need to remind yourself of, today and every day for that matter, is the same message that my good buddy Alec Hagerty always reminds his classes - "We (Realtors) handle the process, the clients make the decisions."

My guess is no one who is reading this forced anyone to buy (or make an offer to buy) anything. You worked you tails off over the last few weeks and months to accommodate any and all of the customers and clients you may have met to get them exactly what they thought they wanted. But what was it they wanted?

$8,000 or a New Home?

If you happen to find any of your clients getting that bitter taste of Buyer's Remorse in the throats, it might be a great time to remind them of why they purchased a new home in the first place. Was it so they had more room for their growing family? A location closer to work, school or the church where they worship? Perhaps they just realized that they needed a pace that offered safety, security and a potential for some long term investment income?

Perhaps they have a great need for something that the $8,000 credit will allow them to do? Travel or educational opportunities or savings for future needs could have a huge benefit as well.

If they jumped at the government's carrot of $8,000 just to "get mine like they got theirs," then maybe "remorse" isn't the right word for what they feel.

Dot Your i's and Cross Your t's

If you put anyone into contract in the last few weeks, the best thing you can do now to prevent any scary moments for your clients is to make sure the contract gets to the closing table as smoothly as possible. Constant contact with not only your client but their lender, the co-op agent, the title company and anyone else involved will ease any fears or frustrations that may occur.

Be sure to reach out to any of your clients who might have closed recently to see how they're doing and if there is any issues or concerns you can help them with. Trust me, even if you fear contacting some of your clients may uncover a laundry list of issues, it's not going to make those issues go away if you don't call. Plus, it gives you another opportunity to provide them with truly remarkable service and help them "solve problems." (Hello...future referrals?)

What's Next?

Just like life went on on January 1, 2000, I sincerely expect houses to continue to be bought and sold daily throughout every price range and market segment the country. The question is, what will you do to put yourself in front of those people who will need assistance? Sure, some buyers will sit on the sidelines saying it's not fair that they didn't get the $8,000 tax credit but ask the questions needed to find out why they are buying a house in the first place.

Perhaps finding a Seller who is taking advantage of the Coldwell Banker Buyer Bonus Sales Event would be a great place to start?

However you decide to approach these next few weeks and months just may determine the success you enjoy in 2010. Will you go out and find the business that is going to happen, or will you wait for the phone to ring?

If you choose the latter, you better run out to Wal-Mart and stock up on duct tape and bottled water.