The questions you need to ask to determine a serious buyer

November 8, 2020

From likely buyers who express their undying love for a property to those who are hell bent on pointing out everything wrong with it, how can agents determine who is a genuine prospect and who is just window shopping?

It’s a positive indication when prospective buyers know the right questions to ask an agent. They may ask whether the seller is flexible on the asking price or bring up general maintenance questions like what is the age of the roof or the condition of the heating/air conditioning systems? Serious buyers may also be curious about any previous renovations or additions and when these were completed. A potential buyer who is gathering important facts about your listing is more likely to make a genuine offer.

Don’t be fooled by declarations of love

The ones who fall in love with a property and are the most vocal are often the ones who won’t end up buying it.  It’s the ones who are pointing out the property’s faults and asking the difficult questions who are likely to be seriously considering it.  That’s because they’re actually thinking what it would mean to them if they bought it.

Work out what type of buyer they are

Confirm whether they are an investor or owner-occupier, so you can pass on the most relevant information about the property.  Then ask how long they have been looking.  This then highlights whether they are at the start of their research journey and less likely to act quickly.

Most buyers spend a lot of time researching online before they even go look at their first property, so it’s important to expand on this question to see what research they’ve done so far.

Length of house hunting efforts

The length of time a buyer has been looking for a new home can be a good indicator of their level of commitment to making an offer. Buyers who’ve just begun house hunting may let you know up front that they are not ready to move forward yet and are just getting a general feel for the lay-of-the-land.  

Here lies an opportunity to involve potential buyers in a discussion about their recent house hunting endeavours, including how many houses they’ve viewed and whether they’ve made offers on any of these places. If they haven’t been shopping for long, chances are they’re not ready to commit before looking at several more to compare their options.

Do they have finance? 

It’s important to understand the prospective buyer’s financial capability. Asking about their budget and whether they are pre-approved is a great place to start. Both signal that they are closer to the end of their search than the beginning.

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