How To Talk to First-Time Home Buyers When They’re Afraid to Buy
April 23, 2023

How To Talk to First-Time Home Buyers When They’re Afraid to Buy

Buying a home for the first time can be scary, and sometimes first-time buyers inadvertently sabotage themselves. How can you help them move past this fear? 

If you have been working with buyers for a while, you have probably had a first-time buyer who was a little hesitant. Or maybe they were flat-out terrified! We get it; buying your first house can be nerve-wracking, but how do you reassure those first-timers? 

The Scenario 

Your first-time home buyers are excited when they first start looking, but as time goes on, they start offering way under the listing price or getting hyper-focused on what repairs they would have to make. They start seeing the negative rather than the potential. They ask lots of questions but don’t seem to listen to the answers, so you start to wonder if they are actually serious about buying. 

Where the Buyer’s Commitment Lies 

These buyers aren’t committed to a house; they are committed to getting a steal of a deal. You cannot be committed to buying and committed to getting a deal at the same time, and this is why these buyers end up sabotaging themselves. 

If you are in a hot seller’s market and you know that the listing price is the starting price and the buyers are offering a considerably lower price than the asking price, they will not be getting the house. They know it, and you know it, and they know that you know it, so why would they do it? 

Related reading: The 3 Phases of Buyer Readiness and What It Means for You 

The Truth About Self-Sabotage  

First-time homebuyers often end up sabotaging their own efforts because they are afraid. This is a very normal thing for first-time homebuyers, who are excited at the idea of becoming homeowners only to realize that getting into the market means spending a lot of money. They become afraid of all the ways they think they might lose out or things that might go wrong. They then become committed to getting a deal with the belief that if they can get a house for cheap, then if the market crashes or the house needs a lot of repairs, they don’t feel like they will take the hit quite so hard.  

What Does This Mean for the Buyers? 

While your buyers are busy trying to get a deal on a house, the prices are going to keep going up, because even in our current economy, home price trends are still on the rise. What will happen eventually is that, in 2 or 3 years, they are going to wish they had bought now because all they will be able to afford is a shack. Every day that passes with them sabotaging themselves is another day their buying power shrinks. This means the type of house they are going to end up in will be less and less of a house. 

Related reading: Forbes – Three Ways To Manage Your Home-Buying Anxiety 

“Tough Love” Dialogue for Fearful First-Time Buyers 

When you sit down with your buyers to address this, you can use this dialogue: 

“I want to have a tough-love conversation with you, and that is that either you need to get committed to buying a house, or I can’t help you. Now, I’m not saying this because it’s about me, because it’s not. This is about you. I’m fine whether you buy a house or not, because I have my own house and a roof over my head, so I’m fine. But, as a professional in the real estate industry, I’m telling you what I’m seeing, and what I’m seeing is that you’re so afraid to buy a house that you’re sabotaging yourself to make it NOT happen. So, I’ve been enabling it up to this point because I needed you to see what you were doing. You’re never going to buy a house, and it’s going to cost you. In 2 years, you still won’t be in a house, and you’ll be upset with yourself, so I can’t enable you anymore. So, one of two things is going to happen: one, I’ll let you go, and you can work with another agent. I hope you don’t choose that, because that is only going to prolong your situation. You either won’t be in a home, or you will be in a small home that you hate because it’s less than what you could have gotten. Now, the second option is this: I’ll continue to work with you. I’m going to find you a house today, and we’re not offering anything less than the asking price. We’ll look at homes in the price range you can afford because that’s the type of market we’re in. So, you tell me which option you want to take. Do you want to go buy a house today, or do you want to find another agent and drag this out even more? It’s up to you, and I’m fine either way. I won’t take it personally, but I’m not going to enable this anymore because it’s hurting you in the long run.” 

Phew! That’s a long dialogue, but it will make your point while giving your buyers the option of how they want to proceed. As an added bonus, you can share the following with your buyers: 

“Mr. and Mrs. Hunna Hunna, I want you to know how much I care about you and what happens to you. I have a real estate coach, and I waited two hours on a call to ask my coach how to best help you. He’s a best-selling author who’s been in real estate for 35 years, and I asked him about you because I want to help you.” 

Related reading: Using a Real Estate Buyer Presentation That Gets You Hired 

Ways You Can Help Them Move Past Their Fear 

Now that you have had “The Talk” with your nervous first-time buyers, it’s time to help them through their fear. You can help them become mentally prepared for this life change through the following ways:  

  1. Explaining the home-buying process and showing them the local real estate market, mortgage rates, and the details on a specific property can help first-time buyers feel more informed and prepared. 
  2. Talking to trusted friends or family members who have gone through the home-buying process previously can provide reassurance and valuable insights for their own home-buying journey. 
  3. Attend home buyer education programs that provide information and resources to help first-time buyers navigate the process, including information about Payment Assistance Programs. 
  4. If they haven’t already, get pre-approved for a mortgage and check their credit score. Obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage can give first-time buyers a better idea of what they can afford as a mortgage payment and make an offer on a home they know is within their budget. 
  5. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the entire home purchase process, help your first-time buyers to break it down into smaller, manageable steps to make it feel less paralyzing. 

Purchasing a home for the first time can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, especially for those feeling fearful or unsure. However, you have a number of strategies and resources available to help ease the process and get past the fear. By helping your buyers clarify what they are really committed to, whether it’s getting a house for cheap or getting into a home, even the most fearful first-time buyers can successfully navigate the complex process of purchasing a home and achieve their dream of homeownership once they see past their fears. 

Related reading: – Terrified to Buy a Home? Your Top Fears Debunked 

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