How to Get Buyers Who Want to Work with You (and Pay You!) Even If the Way Buyers’ Agents Get Paid Changes
Being a buyers’ agent is a total crap shoot, yet the vast majority of agents find themselves constantly rolling the dice, hoping to get paid.
Right now you’re probably thinking this is going to be a bash piece trying to tell you it’s stupid to work with buyers, and how you should concentrate on finding listings instead. But it’s quite the opposite actually. This is an article hoping you will continue to work with buyers as we move into the possibly erupting, evolving future of buyer agency… and get paid handsomely to do it!
The reason so many people in the industry preach working with sellers is because you can work with a lot more of them at a time, they typically take less actual work and time, and you have much higher odds that your time and effort will end up in a closing.
On the other hand, you can only work with so many buyers at a time, they take tons of time and effort, and there’s usually no guarantee that you’ll get paid, or how much you’ll even make if you do.
And now, due to recent lawsuits, how you get paid as a buyers’ agent might be changing entirely! If it wasn’t easy being a buyers’ agent before, it’s starting to sound like it’s going to get even more difficult in the near future…
…or is it possibly the best thing that could’ve happened for you as a buyers’ agent?!
It’s Business as Usual for Most Agents
When the news about the verdict in the first commission lawsuit hit, it seemed like every agent was talking about it, and were concerned about how it would impact the future of buyers’ agents. It raised a lot of questions, such as:
- Will the industry be forced to change how they get paid for working with buyers, or will the industry change on its own?
- Will buyers just start going straight to listing agents if they have to pay their own buyer’s agent?
- Will commission amounts be lower if buyers have to pay agents directly?
- Will agents just be required to give more detailed explanations to sellers about how and why they should offer buyer commissions, and things will proceed as they have been but with more disclosures to sign?
- Given the choice, will some sellers offer commission to buyers’ agents, while others will not?
The problem is, there aren’t any answers to those questions yet, and probably won’t be for years to come, because the verdict will be appealed, and nobody knows how it’ll ultimately play out. In many ways, there’s nothing buyers’ agents really can do to change how they do business right now. Nor do they have to.
Which is probably why the concern and chatter amongst agents seems to be dying down, even as more and more copycat lawsuits are being filed across the US. It seems that, at least for now, any threat to the existence of buyers’ agents or how they get paid, is far enough away for agents to put it in the back of their mind and go about business as usual.
Buyers Might Not Realize How Crucial Agents Are
No matter how (or if) things change in terms of how buyers’ agents are compensated, there’s no arguing that they’re crucial, and should stand the test of time and any changes that occur.
Some people minimize their role to glorified door openers, and merely a means to get into the houses a buyer self-selects by doing their own property search online. But, as agents know, they provide many more services that often go underappreciated, such as:
- Upfront education and consultations to help prepare them for the process of buying a house.
- Making sure clients don’t overlook a house they may like, even if they are able to search property listings on their own.
- Showing them as many properties as they need to see, in order for them to make the best decision.
- Helping them hone in on their best options, and make the best decision by getting to know them and giving them insight and guidance based upon their experience working with other buyers.
- Acting as an objective third party in what can be an emotional and personal process.
- Analyzing the market and data to help them determine how much to offer for a property.
- Crafting and writing their offers.
- Reviewing documents and disclosures, and any relevant due diligence the buyer would likely never know to do on their own.
- Using their experience and negotiating skills to get them the best deal possible on the house they decide to buy.
- Coordinating with many other related professionals involved with the transaction, and making sure everyone is getting their job done in a timely and accurate manner.
- Helping them figure out what to ask for, and what not to ask for, based upon the home inspection report, and then negotiating to get as many things repaired, replaced, or credited as possible.
- Keeping the deal together when someone or something threatens to kill it.
- Making sure their clients are prepared to close on time, and if there are issues, helping to resolve them in a timely manner.
- Being a resource for their client even beyond the closing, and are living in their new home.
That’s a fairly exhaustive list, but any agent reading this could probably add several other things to it and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration. So it’s not that buyers’ agents don’t serve a purpose or deserve to get paid, but it might be something buyers need to be educated about and understand more thoroughly — especially if they’re potentially going to be asked to pay their agent more directly for their services in the future.
This Is an Opportunity for Some Buyers Agents
Before the 1980’s, the role of buyers’ agents wasn’t quite so dedicated or defined as it is today. While many buyers thought their buyers’ agent was representing their interests, oftentimes they were actually looking out for the best interests of the seller, even if they weren’t the listing agent. Fortunately, the role of buyers’ agent changed and evolved, and by the 1990’s buyers could rest assured that they had someone looking out for their interests if they chose to work with a buyers’ agent.
That doesn’t sound like too long ago when you think about how crazy it is that they didn’t have that kind of protection until then, but it’s still a few decades, and today’s buyers may not even know or appreciate how different things were back then. In other words, they might take buyers’ agents for granted, particularly if they’re choosing between paying for the services of one or not.
Heck, even the ones who have a full understanding and appreciation of what a buyers’ agent brings to the table may question whether it makes sense (or if they can even afford to) hire their own agent, if things drastically change in terms of how their agent gets paid.
If the way commissions are paid to buyers’ agents changes, and buyers are more focused on how you get paid, and that they may be responsible for you getting paid, here are a few things they might decide to do instead:
- Just go directly to the listing agent and forgo having their own independent representation.
- Attempt to negotiate ridiculously low commission rates with their agent.
- Choose to work with the buyers’ agent that agrees to charge them the lowest commission, as opposed to the agent who will do the best job.
- Have unrealistic expectations of their buyers’ agent because they want to feel they’re getting what they paid for.
But it might not come to that…
Perhaps nothing will change, or the changes won’t be that drastic. And if they do, it’s still some time before it happens, so why worry about it, right?
Well, that’s one way to approach it. And probably the approach most agents will take.
But that’s where the opportunity lies for some buyers’ agents…
The trick is to take the time you have now and not squander it waiting for things to unfold. Build your value with past clients, current clients, and prospects now, so that they not only insist upon hiring you for your services (and pay you for it), but also become advocates for you, and refer other clients to you as well.
The best way to do that is by educating buyers, and establishing the value you bring to the table. Make them appreciate what a buyers’ agent can do for them, and want you to be involved with their home buying process! Doing so will help you justify why you get paid, and how much you get paid, whether the way you get paid changes drastically or not!
And a great way to do that is by creating truly informative buyer guides that buyers will actually read, and even pass along to a friend or family member who’s thinking about buying a house.
Have a Library of Hyper-Specific How-to Guides to Offer Buyers
The problem with most buyer guides agents use is that they’re often surface level, and pretty boring and dry. They’re also often a one-size-fits-all guide for buyers in general, but not specific to the type of buyer they are.
While a general buyers’ guide is great, you also want to drill down to specific types of buyers in order to appeal to more people. The more something speaks to a specific situation someone is in, the more likely they are to want the information.
For example, here are some ideas for a library of guides you might want to create and have to offer different types of buyers:
- A broad buyers’ guide that applies to any buyer. But instead of making it boring and filled with general information, dive deep into things most agents would never think to share with them.
- One for people considering buying a FSBO. This might sound like a silly thing to help a buyer do, but the reality is that type of buyer will likely end up buying a house on the open market anyway, and even if they do, if you write the booklet well, they’ll realize they could certainly use your help even if they do buy a FSBO!
- An objective guide that helps them figure out if renting makes more sense than owning. Give them solid thoughts that help them make up their own mind about what makes sense for their life and personal circumstances. This is a great way to help renters get into the right mindset, and nurture them into home buyers, without them feeling like you’re trying to convince them to buy a house.
- A guide about the importance of hiring an agent when buying new construction. Many buyers think they have to work with the builder or their rep directly, and others just think it’ll get them a better deal. Use this guide to show them why having their own agent is important, and make sure they know to have you with them the first time they even visit a model home.
- One for relocation buyers. If buying a home locally is complex and stressful, think about how thankful someone considering making a move across the country would be for the help in understanding the process, which is much more involved and difficult. Help them weigh the pros and cons of a potential relo package offered by their employer, and that they have the right to choose their own agent.
- A guide for first-time investors. Investors have to start somewhere, and if you help them when they’re just getting started, you could have a client who buys multiple properties per year as they grow their portfolio of properties.
- One about the potential mistakes buyers make by going to open houses. It’s easy to lose a sale because a buyer doesn’t know better and just makes an offer through the listing agent, or whatever agent happened to be sitting at an open house. Give them information that’ll make them want to avoid going to open houses, or at least have you by their side when they do go.
Just looking at that list as an agent makes you realize how much depth of knowledge a buyers’ agent has to offer! Imagine how it’ll impact buyers.
It’ll certainly take some time to create all of those different types of guides, so pick one of the niches you’d prefer to work with, or that has the most potential in your area, and start with that one! Then add another. Over time you’ll have a library of guides to offer that will attract many types of buyers, and help to mold them into ideal clients who appreciate your expertise, want your assistance, and will be willing to pay you for it even if they have to pay you directly, while other buyers’ agents just hope the potential changes won’t affect them.
If you need some tips on how to create your own how-to guide, this Hubspot article is a pretty good soup-to-nuts explanation.
But if you’d rather just skip to dessert, we can save you a ton of time and effort for less than it’d cost you to buy enough coffee to fuel your writing campaign. Check out our Inner Circle membership, where we have 20 Branded Booklet how-to guides already written for you, including a version of every single one of those guides suggested above!
You can literally have all of these guides ready to offer buyers within a few minutes, by just entering your own personal information and branding so it looks like you actually wrote them. Or you can also edit every one of them to your liking, but they’re written in a fun, interesting, conversational tone that buyers will enjoy reading, so the chances are you won’t even want to.
The membership will also give you access to tons of other marketing content you can add your own branding to, like:
- Our signature Lighter Side memes, and exclusive ones only available to our members
- Witty postcards
- Over 1,500 articles you can use to entertain or build credibility and authority, with new ones published each week
- Hundreds of email and letter templates
- Access to our members-only Facebook group where some of the nicest, coolest agents in the business share marketing tips, including how they have used the Branded Booklets themselves
No matter which way you choose to go, just make sure you get started soon. Don’t waste the time you have between now and whenever the dust settles from the commission lawsuits. Take control of how buyers perceive you, and value your expertise and service. Do that and it won’t matter if things change drastically or not!