Ah, the excitement. A potential new client walks into the office when you’re on the floor and says he wants to buy a house.
Although it’s tempting to think you’ve got an easy sale coming your way, make sure you qualify him first. Gently qualifying a buyer will let you know how serious and how able this one actually is.
These questions will help you figure out what kind of a buyer you’re dealing with – a real one or a Looky-Lou.
You ask them if they are working with another agent so you can avoid getting into trouble with that agent and more if they are. Often times the buyer simply doesn’t understand how agency works and you do everyone a big favor if you explain it to them.
Here the question you really want answered is two-fold. Who is the decision maker and who must be involved in the transaction. In our example a man came into the office alone. Even if a husband and wife had walked through the door, it’s good business to make sure they are the only ones involved. For all you know, until you ask, her mother may be the real decision maker.
This question will help you figure out if they are serious about buying soon or sometime down the road. In fact, you can even ask, “when do you expect to move?” or some additional question so you get real clarity on their timing. Their timing will inform your effort, now and later.
Asking what they expect from you may well give you insights into their thinking patterns. They will tell you what they expect and you can decide if it’s reasonable and something you’re willing to work with. It’s surprising how often issues of availability come up with this question. You’ll probably have the opportunity to set some firm boundaries.
With this question you’re hoping to get a sense of how much or how little the potential buyer actually knows about the process. Their attitude about what they know and don’t know will also tell you quite a bit.
Don’t be afraid to ask the dreaded question about their price range. You need to know and if they don’t want to tell you, then pass on them as clients. If they’re truly new to the market they may need some education about mortgages, monthly payments, etc. By all means be generous with your explanations, but ultimately you need to know what they can afford.
There are only two ways a person can buy real estate – with cash or with a mortgage or some other form of financing. Most people finance, although cash sales are certainly possible. You can help them get prequalified and it’s a great idea – you and they need to know if they are bankable.
Everyone has some idea of what kind of real estate they’re planning on buying. The more details you can get here, the better. Listen too for anything you suspect is unsaid, and ask about that. In more than a few cases the client only thinks they know what they want. As an excellent listener you may be able to figure out what the truly want and watch their faces light up when you show them exactly that.
What other questions do you ask prospective buyers? Share them in comments.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.