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  • John Henderson

Qualifying Buyers


1:42 Minute Read.

Ever get the feeling your buyer will never make an offer on a house? Buying a home is a process. And every agent needs a simple plan to move clients forward in that progression. Here are 4 great questions to ask buyers to determine whether they are really in the market to purchase a home or just shopping around.

“Have you talked to a mortgage lender yet?”

Ability - Connecting with a lender is the first step in the process of buying a home. If they don’t have a lender yet, point them to a few. If they are already working with a lender, get the lender’s contact information. A good lender will offer several loan products and knows which loan is the best fit for your buyer’s needs. Don’t hesitate to ask for a pre-qualification letter or have a conversation with their lender before showing homes. It makes no sense to show homes without knowing a client’s ability and budget.

“What are 3 things a home MUST have before you’d consider looking at it?”

Desire – Get the list of their desired amenities. Make certain you know what they’re looking for. That includes the area of town, school district, number of bedrooms, baths, price range, and the monthly payment they plan to budget. Beyond a specific list of amenities, buyers are also looking for intangible qualities too. These are items that help define their life and interests. These include lifestyle, status, and affluence. By nature, people are always moving towards something or away from something. Not only do buyers have a list of what they want, they also have a list of what they don’t want. As agents, it’s our job to find the reason behind the reason. Ask questions. Learn their true motivation. Listening is the key to understanding a buyer’s desire.

“When would you like to be in your new home, and why?”

Timeframe - School calendars, new job, end date of lease, marriage or divorce are typical drivers of timeframes. If they can’t identify a reasonable timeframe, you may need to help manufacture one (i.e. “Have you ever told yourself that by the time you’re 25 you’d like to own a home?”) Also, it’s helpful to look over a calendar with your client to explain the impact of their timeframe. From their target move-in date you can backtrack, allowing for closing time, possession time, and average days on the market to help your client get a sense of the level of urgency.

“As you’ve looked around, what are your observations about the market?”

Reasonable Expectations – Because of the proliferation of DIY/HGTV reality TV shows and a strong seller’s market, we’re seeing a new breed of buyer. Some are quite unrealistic about the value of property and the quality of home they can afford. It’s your job to help educate them and give them a realistic framework for their expectations.

The take-away: If your client has these 4: ability, desire, timeframe and reasonable expectations, you can bet they’ll be buying a home soon. If not, you’ll need to develop them further or pass them on to someone else.

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