Everything Old is New Again
I have been working with a couple in their 60's who are looking to move out of the city. Their neighborhood is changing (not really for the better) and they would also prefer a newer home with some nice upgrades. We will also be listing their existing home sometime soon.
I have been on a few outings with them to look at houses, and I realized something interesting the other day: working with buyers who have been out of the market for an extended period of time (in this case, over 35 years) is very similar to working with first-time buyers. In fact, when I was speaking with Adam Waldman about writing a post on this topic, he pointed out that even buyers who haven't bought in six or seven years are in much the same boat.
The questions that I have answered seem very rudimentary to me, but I would imagine that just about everything has changed since their last purchase. I am guessing that the contracts were far shorter in 1970, since so many of the paragraphs probably resulted from various lawsuits over the years. In fact, every time I attend a closing it seems like the stack of papers to sign gets a big taller for this very reason:
"This affidavit states that the lender did not inspect the property for evidence of squatters. This one talks about the fact that the lender is not responsible if there is a nuclear waste dump or an ancient Indian burial ground under the home. This one says that if zombies attack and break holes into the roof or windows, your homeowner's insurance will not cover this.".....and so on.
Talking about financing probably seemed to them like I was speaking another language entirely, so I have been trying to take things slow. I looked over the good faith estimate provided by the lender they are working with, and it seemed a bit high to me, but they didn't know this or have any basis for comparison.
HOA fees, negotiations, contingencies, and basically everything else in the process were completely new to my clients.
"What happens after the offer is made?"
"How long do they take to respond?"
"How much earnest money is needed?"
"What is an option period and how does that work?"
All of these questions came up the other while we were writing up the offer. I just thought it was an interesting comparison, and something to keep in mind when working with buyers who haven't been through the process for awhile.
Our job is to educate and facilitate when working with our clients. For good or ill, we are sometimes called upon to educate other agents, lenders, and even outside family members during the sales process, but we do it because we are professionals. We need to guide our clients through the various issues that they will face, rather than assuming that this is something that they already know.
When dealing with older clients or with clients who have been "out of the game" for an extended period of time, you will do well to remember whom you are speaking to, lest you scare them off with your real estate "jargon". Keep up the good work!