​Even straightforward real estate deals can be complicated by last-minute delays. From contract to closing, buyers aren’t always prepared for the mishaps that keep their fingers from closing over the keys. It’s not always easy to have difficult conversations with clients, but real estate agents who tackle the tough talks head-on are the ones most likely to get ahead.

Always Prepare Your Clients 

You can’t predict everything that could happen, but it helps to give clients a general run-down of the common hiccups:

  • The lender rejects the offer at the last moment.
  • The title investigator discovers an ex-spouse is contesting the ownership of the property.
  • The home inspection may uncover a termite infestation.
  • The appraisal may be far lower than the offer.
  • The contingency requests were not fulfilled according to the purchase agreement.
  • There’s a discrepancy in the instrument survey.
  • The seller makes a mistake on the paperwork.

Homebuyers aren’t likely to be shocked by the ‘what if’ conversation. It’s not necessarily difficult to come to these conclusions if you think them through. The point is more to explain it all rationally, so they’re not blindsided later. Buying a home is not usually a routine habit for anyone, so mentally preparing your clients is crucial.

Put Yourself in Their Corner 

Real estate agents should feel like they’re on a team with their clients (and vice versa). When you’re having the ‘what if’ conversation, you’re there to talk solutions — not problems. Talk options and go over the general pros and cons of each one. You don’t have to overwhelm your buyers with complex contingency plans, but you can emphasize how your experience has helped you prepare for the worst. Buying a home is stressful even under the best of circumstances. Give your buyers some confidence that you’ll keep fighting for them.

Open Your Ears 

Don’t let your clients know that their offer has been rejected over a voicemail or casually mention that the title investigator was called away on a family emergency. Give buyers a chance to process the information and express their feelings. If they need more time to think it over, make sure to follow-up. As you’re listening to your clients, make sure you’re responding to what they say. People in sales often have a tendency to gloss over client concerns, and there’s no easier way to erode the relationship.

Delays during escrow aren’t merely frustrating for the buyer, they can be financially devastating. Buyers may have to set back their moving date by weeks or even months. Insure My Closing covers the unexpected expenses that arise during the closing process. It’s just another tool agents can give buyers to give them a little more confidence (even in the face of trouble).