HOW DO YOU "QUALIFY" YOUR BUYERS?....Or,...DO You Qualify Your Buyers?
Given the "no" answer that I have received from a number of agents it appears that there is woeful disregard for the act of qualifying a buyer. It surprises me completely that this important part of working as a real estate professional is overlooked or is not even a known CRUCIAL part of the interview of a buyer.
Today it seems that most agents do NOT qualify their buyers and in fact, they have no idea HOW to qualify them!
This post is written after I read one by Maria Morton: Showing Homes To Unqualified Buyers Just like Maria, I find that this is THE most important part of an interview of a potential buyer. Some agents feel it is too invasive; they feel embarrassed to ask these probing questions...That is too bad, because not only is it necessary, it is EXPECTED by any qualified buyer!
In my observations there is a danger in several ways in NOT qualifying a person who you will be working closely with. The most obvious one is the safety issue; the chances we take every day in the real estate profession include possible life-threatening encounters with someone that we know nothing about.
The next risk, and not as threatening personally but still a risk, is the "Time Waster", who has no regard for the work we do and no respect for our precious time. Not many, but some people just want to go into other peoples homes....and these Lookie Lous' will waste your time "Big Time" if you let them!
Taking all of this into consideration, and with Maria's post still fresh in my mind, I would like to give everyone here a list of the most important things we must ask a potential client/customer.
QUESTIONS YOU MUST ASK A POTENTIAL CLIENT/CUSTOMER:
- What do you do for a living?
- How long have you been looking?
- Have you bid on anything else?
- Have you tried to buy a house recently?
- If "yes" why did you not buy it?
- Will you be financing the house you buy?
- If "cash" is the answer, are you in a liquid financial position?
- If financing, how much will you be putting down and is it liquid?
- Are you pre-qualified for a loan to buy a house?
- If not, would you be willing to talk to a mortgage broker or bank to get pre-qualified?
- Do you know what your net-worth is? (This applies generally, to a high net worth purchase only)
- Can you substantiate any claim to net worth if a seller requires it?
NOTE: If these seem too invasive and if the potential client/customer baulks at answering any of these questions, you need to make note of the reaction..this reaction is crucial to identifying a potential problem--both for your safety and your valuable time! DON'T FALL INTO A TRAP BY NOT QUALIFYING A "BUYER"!
THESE ARE THE ACTIONS NEEDED BEFORE YOU LEAVE YOUR OFFICE WITH YOUR NEW CLIENT/CUSTOMER:
- Ask them if they are currently working with an agent other than you.
- If "yes", try to find out who and if the answer is I "was" working with another agent, ask why they are not still working with said agent.
- Do a Google search on the person you just interviewed. (Do this in private if you can find a place to do a search)
- If anything looks suspicious, put off working with them until you have time to do a back ground search.
- If you need a background search, there is a sight called "People Search" and for a few dollars, you can get the low-down on what is a possible problem with the individual.
Now, these may seem like probing questions and they are, but you need to take the stance of being the scrupulous individual you are if you want to get the respect you should get from a potential client/customer...
I always say that if the person knows you are REALLY interested and not just nosy, they are more apt to be forthcoming with the information you require.
The way you ask and what you ask will help them determine that you are a professional, not a snoop!
If they do not want to share any of this information with you, that is a sure sign that they are holding back needed information from you and you can choose whether or not you want to go forward.
THE WATCHFUL EYE OF QUALIFYING A BUYER IS A NECESSARY PART OF YOUR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS!
FOR YOUR SAFETY AND FOR YOUR SUCCESS IN THE PROCESS OF SELLING HOMES, YOU MUST ALWAYS QUALIFY A POTENTIAL CLIENT/CUSTOMER!
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY. The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
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