Realtors are hearing this question a lot lately. When asked “Is it a good time to buy a home?”, many Realtors make the mistake of answering yes automatically. It is important to remember that your role is that of a trusted advisor, not a decision-maker. No matter what market conditions prevail the answer should be “It depends.” Why? Because every client is different, their circumstances and risk tolerances vary. What might be the right time for one client may not be for another.
It is better to ask your clients a few questions and guide them to the right answer. First, if they are renting ask them what would be more expensive, renting or buying? Rents have gone up dramatically in the past few years and it may make sense to buy, or it may be that your client needs to save more so that they can have a more comfortable mortgage payment.
Next, ask them how long they intend to live in their home? If they are intending to live in their next home for 7 or more years, market volatility is less of an issue. They will have time to recover if the market goes down.
Finally, ask them what is their greatest anxiety about buying a home? Many buyers fear buying a home because they worry that prices are rising too precipitously and may crash. This is an important question for your clients. How risk-averse are they? If they had to sell unexpectedly at a loss, ask them how they would feel about that? The other side of the coin is how would they feel if the market continued to climb and they missed out on the opportunity to build their wealth?
Being a good Realtor is about asking the right questions and knowing your clients. Remember that you are an advisor and not the decision-maker. This is the hallmark of delivering good service. When clients are guided to the decision that is right for them, they are more likely to be satisfied and to use and recommend you in the future.