3 Important Questions You Should Ask Every Buyer
You’ve heard the old cliché that buyers are liars, right? It’s so well-known it was #1 on Inman News’ list of the top 50 real estate one-liners!
As a Realtor, there is nothing more frustrating than showing multiple homes to potential home buyers only to have them put the search on hold, decide to continue renting, only want to make “lowball” offers, or even worse — buy a home through another real estate agent.
Most if not all of you have probably experienced this in the past and you might be tempted to agree that home buyers can’t be trusted.
….But what if there was a way to weed out many of the seemingly untrustworthy buyers just by asking a few simple questions?
If you can ask them these three important questions right away, it will give you all the information you’ll need to decide if the potential home buyer is worth your time and energy.
Here are the three questions you should ask EVERY buyer before putting them in your car:
#1: What do you know about the [insert city] real estate market?
This innocent-sounding question will let you know if the potential home buyer is realistic about the current market. There is always a chance that they’ve been mislead by a family member or friend and think that they can get 10% off the asking price (when is it a strong seller’s market) or can find an abundance of foreclosures for next to nothing (not realizing that they would be competing with a half dozen cash investors). If you can give them a more accurate picture of the real estate market upfront, there won’t be any surprises when they are ready to make an offer on a home.
This important question will also let you know how much research they’ve done, if they’ve already been house hunting and/or talked or met with other real estate agents. A buyer who understands the market but hasn’t spoken with other agents is a MUCH better prospect than a buyer who has already toured a dozen homes with four different agents.
#2: What would happen if you didn’t buy a home?
It’s very common for a Realtor to ask, “Why do you want to buy a home or condo?” and, “How soon do you need to find your new home?” when first interviewing potential buyer clients. The answers to those questions will help you decide if the buyers need to start shopping asap or if you should just add them to a drip email campaign and follow up with them in the weeks to come.
Unfortunately, those traditional questions don’t give you the whole story.
Asking buyers what would happen if they didn’t buy a home tells you how many options they have. All else being equal, the more alternatives potential home buyers have to buying, the more likely it is you’ll lose them if the going gets tough.
#3: How can I best help you?
Many of the misunderstandings between agents and buyers can be traced to conflicting expectations. The buyers only wanted to use the Realtor to get into see one house, while the real estate agent was excited that this would be a long term relationship. Or another common situation is that the agent asks that the buyers get pre-qualified for a mortgage and the buyers feel too pressured so they decided to work with someone else.
By asking how you can best help the buyers, you are inviting them to share their initial expectations of you. First and foremost, this allows you to make an educated choice of whether or not to work with the buyers. Second, it prevents the kind of misunderstandings that drive buyers into the arms of another Realtor.
Buyers typically aren’t liars. However, they also don’t always share the complete truth unless you ask the right questions. Add the three questions above into your buyer interview, whether in-person or on the phone, and save yourself from working with prospects who are likely to waste your time.
If there are any other buyer best practices or questions you should ask every buyer, please let us know and we’d be happy to share with other agents!