Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we spoke with Samantha Maxie-Jones, a Realtor and investor specialist at Robyn Jones Homes, who shared her tips for working with out of town clients.
As if purchasing a home isn’t stressful enough, as Realtors we may have clients who have to complete the process from a different city, state or even country. Here are a few of the tips that I use to make the process smoother for everyone:
5. Invest in equipment to take pictures/videos – As we all know, the pictures on the MLS listings can be misleading. I always offer photography/video services to my clients. Not only does this give them a better feel for the layout of the home, but it also gives them an opportunity to see defects or other issues that may not have been visible on the MLS pictures. Once pictures are uploaded, I then use Dropbox to easily upload the pictures and from there I can send clients a link to pictures/videos of the property.
4. Know ways to save yourself and your buyer’s time – Instead of fighting with overnight mail and deadlines that approach very quickly, ask the title company if there is a way to wire funds for the earnest money. This will save your buyer the time and effort that it takes to go out and overnight the funds to the title company. Also, be sure to notify the title company that your client is out of state and ask about mobile notary options.
3. Be accessible to your client as much as possible – It is easy for a client to feel as if they are on the back burner when you have to constantly put them on hold, ignore calls or delay responding to emails due to face to face clients. My out of state clients are just as important to me as my local clients, and I go out of my way to make sure they know it. I like to set aside a pre-determined time to speak with my clients daily to answer questions that they may have. This ensures that you do not have to put them off to when you are working with other clients. It also lets your clients know that their concerns are just as important to you as anyone else’s.
2. Make sure your client understands the process…before it begins – Answering contract questions can waste valuable time when you are submitting an offer. Take the time to have a few phone calls with your client before you begin searching for homes. During these calls I explain the home buying process step by step. I also inform my clients of potential problems that we may arise such as multiple offers, inspections problems, etc. Once I explain the process, I then email my clients a mock contract. This helps them to feel more comfortable when the actual contract arrives. Since time is of the essence, it is important to answer as many questions as possible beforehand. A mock contract will give the buyer a feel for the process, so when it is time to put in an offer they will not be so overwhelmed and will be able to respond quickly.
1. Move expeditiously – As mentioned, time is of the essence in most real estate matters. You as an agent have to be prepared to move quickly when a new property becomes available in order to give your out of state client the best chance at obtaining a property. It is important to scan through MLS listing as often as possible, and to be prepared to move as soon as you receive the green light from your client. I’ve invested in a mobile office setup so I can run my business completely from my vehicle. My laptop, mobile hotspot, digital camera and AC converter are just a few tools that I cannot live without.
Samantha Jones specializes in residential sales, leasing and investments. Prior to beginning a career in real estate, Samantha obtained an undergraduate degree in hospitality management and tourism, as well as a Master of Education from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Her background in hospitality, combined with her dazzling personality, assist her in providing each of her clients with a unique and personalized encounter.