Heading into the spring buying season, practitioners want home buyers to be more realistic and organized.
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Home buyers need to be ready for the spring market, which is likely to see home prices continue to escalate amid stiff competition among consumers for slim inventory options. More than half of real estate professionals say that “managing client expectations” is a top challenge, according to a new survey of more than 500 practitioners released by software company Adobe.

Survey respondents say the top way to make a real estate transaction go more smoothly is to help buyers be more realistic about property prices. That may mean getting them to become more in tune with comparable sales. Agents reported the following aspects as key to a smooth home purchase for buyers:

  • Be realistic about property prices: 49%
  • Be communicative and responsive: 38%
  • Understand the complexities of the buying and selling process: 37%
  • Understand the current market: 34%
  • Be transparent about financial capabilities: 34%

“The current housing market is characterized by high demand and limited inventory, making finding a property that aligns with your specific criteria challenging,” the study says. “This means it’s essential to clearly understand your requirements, have all your documents handy, and work with a [real estate professional] who can help you navigate the competitive landscape.”

Aside from higher home prices, mortgage rates are inching higher, too. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has been holding in the mid- to high-6% range in recent weeks, but the latest inflation data could push borrowing costs above 7%, housing analysts say.

Home buyers are looking to real estate agents to educate them about everything from market realities to documentation and paperwork. to finding the home, closing on it, and preparing for the expenses of homeownership beyond (e.g., homeowner insurance fees, utilities, etc.). Sixty-one percent of buyers say their agent’s assistance was indispensable in understanding the real estate process, including the home search, closing and preparing for homeownership expenses, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2024 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report.

Get Your Documents in Order

One in four real estate pros say their clients have “no” or “very little” understanding of the importance of administrative documents and contracts in a real estate transaction—and that “frequently” causes challenges in a transaction, Adobe’s survey finds. What’s more, nearly half of agents say their clients have experienced financial loss or unexpected expenses due to neglecting documents in some way. This also may delay or stall a transaction, the survey says. The top administrative tasks home buyers most often overlook, according to the survey, include:

  • Financial obligations, including fees and closing costs: 58%
  • Terms and conditions related to contingencies: 57%
  • Timelines and deadlines for various stages of the transaction: 48%

Real estate pros can play a pivotal role in educating clients about preparing for the transaction, such as gathering W-2 forms, recent paystubs and two to four months of recent bank statements for mortgage approval. Real estate pros recommend that home buyers also take the following steps:

  • Review all documents thoroughly.
  • Ensure all paperwork is completed accurately and promptly.
  • Organize and compile all necessary documents in advance.
  • Seek clarification on any terms or clauses that are unclear.
  • Consult with legal or financial professionals.