5 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

We’ve all seen it before: a client who’s so excited about buying his or her first home that they’re making classic mistakes.

As a Realtor®, it’s your job to help them do the right thing. The good news? You can do that while building their loyalty and earning their respect – and it’s probably easier than you think.

First, let’s cover the newbie mistakes:First Time Homebuyer Mistakes- Benchmark Realty

First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

  • Buying too much house. Actually, it’s not really too much house; it’s buying more than they can afford afford (just because they’re approved for a certain loan amount doesn’t mean they can really afford it). Your clients need a serious budget before they can start serious house shopping.
  • Forgetting about additional fees. Many first-time homebuyers don’t think about HOA fees, utility costs that go up over time (especially when appliances get old) and maintenance costs.
  • Ignoring the need for a home inspection. We all know that big things that go unchecked will seriously affect the value of a home—like mold in the crawl space—but many first-time homebuyers might assume everything is as it seems. Unless your buyer is a licensed contractor, insist they hire a licensed home inspector to look at the systems of the property.
  • Believing that foreclosures are always the best deal. Yes, they’re sometimes less expensive to purchase; at the same time, renovations and unexpected repairs can cost far more than the home itself. Since most foreclosures are sold “as is” this is critical to remember.
  • Rushing. Sure, it’s exciting – but it’s unequivocally one of the worst things to rush into.

You’re an experienced Realtor®. You already know all of this, so what does it mean for you?

Positioning Yourself to Do Business

Many agents don’t go out of the way to educate their clients. That’s where you can really set yourself apart. Let’s face it: people have a desire to do business with smart, caring people. (As an aside, that’s part of what makes Benchmark Realty special.)

We recommend building an information packet that covers all five of these mistakes. People love a take-away! Make sure it’s branded by putting your logo and contact information on the top of each page. Include:

  • A budget worksheet
  • A worksheet that includes possible additional expenses
  • An information sheet on home inspections with at least 5 local inspectors’ contact information
  • An information sheet on foreclosures
  • A step-by-step guide that illustrates the whole process for first-time homebuyers

Naturally, branding is incredibly important. Your logo, Facebook URL and Twitter handle need dedicated space, as do your web address, phone number and email address. (Don’t forget that the company name and phone number must appear in all advertising.)

Making Sure You Have an Edge

At Benchmark Realty, it’s our mission to make sure our agents have the tools they need to build successful real estate careers. We embrace the Total Freedom concept and give our agents 100 percent commission from day one.

If you’d like to talk about becoming a Benchmark Realty agent, call us at (615)371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’ll set up a meeting so you can discover how you can take control of your real estate career with Benchmark Realty.

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Older Baby Boomers and Real Estate

With all the buzz in the media about the Millennial generation, it is pretty easy to forget that people who were born between 1946 and 1954 make up 15 percent of the country’s total homebuyers and 22 percent of all sellers across the nation.

That means two of every 10 of your clients are likely to be “older” Baby Boomers, and understanding what resonates with that generation can help ensure that you’re showing them the right homes for the right reasons – and that you’re marketing their homes in the most effective ways.Baby Boomers and Real Estate- Benchmark Realty

Baby Boomers and Real Estate Statistics

This year, Baby Boomers are somewhere between the ages of 60 and 68. Statistics suggest that 16 percent of them purchased a multi-generational home, and most of them purchase a home that’s strikingly similar to their previous home.

Considering that 91 percent of the buyers in this age group are repeat homebuyers, and that they’re often motivated by retirement, you can strategize and plan ahead to make sure their needs are being met.

Showing Baby Boomers the Right Homes

When your clients are telling you what they want, make sure you listen: this group is accustomed to coming right out and saying what they mean, according to MSN, and at the top of the list? A fantastic, modern kitchen. Workshops and hobby studios are also among the most-requested spaces among the older Baby Boomer set.

Marketing a Baby Boomer’s Home

Let’s face it: some of us are not quite as up-to-par with the Internet and social media as we should be – but for most homes, they function as an extremely effective marketing tool. Unfortunately, you may have to convince Baby Boomer clients that you’re doing them justice by advertising their home on Facebook, Pinterest and other online gathering places, according to Andrea Lekushoff, the founder and president of Broad Reach Communications.

Want to Learn More?

Every Benchmark Realtor is invited to—but isn’t required to attend—our monthly Mastermind Meetings, where we have an information-packed hour with tips for improving your business, legal issues and so much more. Want to check it out? We hold Mastermind Meetings at 10 a.m. on the first Monday of every month at the 50Forward Martin Center on Heritage Way in Brentwood, TN.

Give us a call at (615)371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’ll be happy to talk about your future career with Benchmark Realty, and we’ll keep it all confidential.

8 Safety Tips for Realtors®

As a Realtor®, you’re probably a “people-person.” You’re probably friendly, positive and pleasant to be around (at least after a cup or two of coffee, that is), so it might not cross your mind to take safety precautions when you’re out and about – but security experts say that real estate is a high-risk job.


Because we’re exposed to danger every day.

September is National Realtor® Safety Month, so let’s dive right in.Safety Tips for Realtors- Benchmark Realty

8 Safety Tips for Realtors®

As Realtors®, we meet a lot of strangers. We drive people we don’t know to empty houses. We put our phone numbers and pictures everywhere.

If we weren’t selling houses, everybody would think we’re crazy.

We’ve put together a list of 13 safety tips for Realtors®. Are you missing any of these essential protection strategies while you’re doing your job?

1. Meet new clients in your office and ask for identification before you head out. You can get a Prospect Identification Form from Realtor.org, which also asks for a photocopy of the client’s ID. Most people won’t bat an eye at a minor security procedure like this.

2. Show smart. Don’t show properties after dark, and while you’re inside, stay out of closets, basements and attics. Let the potential buyers explore these areas alone; they’ll be fine.

3. Advertise security. When you’re holding an open house, add something to your advertisement that lets people know they need to bring ID in order to see the property.

4. Keep your personal information personal. Don’t use your home number or tell clients where you live; it can be extremely dangerous if that information falls into a predator’s hands.

5. Don’t be a chauffeur. It’s almost always best to drive to homes separately rather than riding with people you don’t know. If you must take one car, make sure you drive. When you get to the property, park on the street, not in the driveway – it’s easier to leave quickly if you don’t have to back out.

6. Tell someone where you are at all times. Whether you’re closing up an open house early or you’re driving all over Nashville showing six different homes, make sure that somebody knows where you are when you change locations.

7. Leave your laptop, your purse and your other valuables in the trunk of your car. Keep your cell phone in your pocket, though, and make sure you can make emergency calls on it with the touch of a button.

8. Follow your instincts. If something feels wrong, it really might be – so make an excuse to leave and head back to a safe location. Don’t be afraid to call the police if you need to. Remember that police officers would rather answer a false call than evaluate a crime scene.

Most people are good people with good intentions, but it only takes one encounter with the wrong type of person for the unthinkable to happen. Make sure you’re safe and that you let other agents know what they can do to protect themselves, as well.

Ready to Talk About a Career with Benchmark?

At Benchmark Realty, we want the best for our agents. Our Total Freedom concept and the fact that our agents enjoy 100 percent commission from day one are a testament to that. If you’d like to discuss your potential for becoming one of the quickly growing number of Benchmark Realtors, call us at (615)371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’ll be happy to set up a confidential meeting so you can learn more.

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Focus Tips for Realtors®


Focus Tips for Realtors - Benchmark Realty, Tennessee's Best Real Estate CompanyAs a Realtor®, you’re pulled in a million different directions every day. If you’re like most of us, you have a home office (or, in some of our cases, a “home cubicle” that consists of a computer in the corner of the most heavily trafficked room in the house). It’s not easy to stay focused on what you need to get done, but with a few tips, you can make yourself more productive and more effective at what you do best.

4 Focus Tips for Realtors®

Distractions come at you a mile a minute. There’s always something that needs your attention, and it’s easy to get derailed. We’ve put together four tried-and-true tips for staying focused that apply to Realtors®, and we’d love for you to share your suggestions, too.

Realtor® Focus Tip #1: Prioritize

It’s no secret that we put family first at Benchmark Realty. When your priorities are in order – and we’re not talking about whom to call back first and which listings need the most immediate attention – focusing on your career becomes that much easier.

Naturally, prioritizing work-related tasks is also essential. Experts suggest that making a list of five “must-do” things in the morning can help you stay on-task and have a more productive day.

Realtor® Focus Tip #2: Make Time for Breaks

Don’t sit at your desk all day. While it might seem like that’s the only way to get things done, you’ll actually accomplish more if you get up and take periodic breaks. 

“People lose focus because they try to focus too hard for too long,” says Dr. John F. Murray, author of The Mental Performance Index.

Whether you watch the news for a half-hour, read a chapter of the latest-and-greatest from your favorite author, or go for a light jog, you’ll be able to clear your head and regroup after a little break.

Realtor® Focus Tip #3: Knock Out the Tough Stuff Early

It seems like it would make sense to save difficult or time-consuming tasks until later in the day, when you’re all warmed up from the morning’s busy work.

It’s not.

“An hour into doing your work, you’ve got a lot less capacity than (at the beginning),” says David Rock, co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work.

That means starting the day with things that require creativity and lots of brain power and wrapping it up by scheduling appointments, dropping off mailers at the post office, or catching up on paperwork.

Realtor® Focus Tip #4: Work in Blocks

Instead of working until something’s done, try working on it for a specific block of time. You might find that you’ll accomplish things more quickly if you’re trying to beat a deadline. If you don’t finish, that’s okay; pick it up again later. 

In many cases, it’s a good idea to block off your time at the beginning of each day (or sooner, if you can plan that far ahead) because you’ll know what’s in store over the next several hours.

Let’s Talk About Your Focus

If you’re becoming distracted and you’ve tried all of these things, maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe you’re ready to move to the next level in real estate – and at Benchmark Realty, we’ll support you every step of the way with our monthly Mastermind Meetings, extensive agent training and so much more.

Ready to explore your options with Benchmark Realty? Call us at (615)371-1544 or fill out the form below. We’ll set up a confidential meeting where you can ask questions and learn about whether a career with Benchmark Realty is right for you.

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