Buyers looking to hire a real estate agent’s services are sure to have a lot of questions, but as a real estate agent, you also have the responsibility to know and understand your client’s requirements in order to help them in their search for the ideal property. These questions, and their answers, can also help you in determining where you stand before entering into a working relationship with the prospective client, as well as judging whether he or she will be easy to work with – as experienced property agents will tell you, there are clients who are a pleasure to deal with, and there are clients who can be absolute nightmares.
#1 – Why are you looking to buy property?
This is the million-dollar question that will drive the rest of your conversation, so throw this out early and frame your subsequent questions around it. It will help you gain valuable insight into their position, and help you tailor your services to their situation.
#2 – What is your budget?
The ever-important question that follows #1, having a clear idea of your client’s budget will allow you to avoid wasting time and resources by narrowing down your search criteria.
#3 – Do you have a lender?
Once you have a budget to work with, it is vital to ask your client how they are going to finance their purchase. It’s a great way to filter the window shoppers from serious buyers. However, this might be a sensitive topic for some, so approach it as carefully and tactfully as possible.
#4 – Have you looked at other properties, or have any in mind?
This will also help you narrow down your options in the search for properties, as you will have an idea of what they are looking to buy. You can also gauge their level of real estate experience and knowledge of the property market.
#5 – Which are your preferred neighbourhoods/areas?
Getting your client to identify areas of interest will enable you to gather relevant information that your client needs or will find useful. You can also tell them about the pros and cons of each area, which clients will surely appreciate (and add to your credibility). Again, knowing which areas they are interested in will help you in your search and save time and effort.
#6 – Are you ready to buy and move in at a moment’s notice?
This question will help you to gauge your client’s readiness to move and get insight into their transaction timeline. The property market waits for no man, and you have to be certain that your client won’t hesitate if the perfect opportunity presents itself the very next day, or is willing to wait a bit longer and weigh their options.
#7 – Any must-haves for the property you want to buy?
Everybody has their own preferences and must-have items, therefore ask them upfront what are the things they need in a property. Some may want a house near to a school or train station, while others will insist on landed property instead of high-rise buildings.
#8 – How do you prefer to communicate?
As a real estate agent, you will need to keep in touch with your client, and this will help you lay the groundwork for their preferences, be it via phone calls, text, emails or face-to-face meetings. Most clients will appreciate an agent who is easily contacted, and provides timely updates and alerts.
#9 – Have you worked with other agents before? (+ How was it?)
If your client has positive experience with other property agents, you can expect a smoother working relationship; otherwise, you will have to learn from the mistakes of others and work harder to gain your client’s confidence and trust. If they are currently working with another real estate agent, you might want to avoid jumping into that boat altogether, in order to avoid conflict or violating any laws.
#10 – What is a deal-breaker for you?
This is fairly similar to #7, but perhaps slightly more important, as it can help you eliminate choices that otherwise seem to check all the correct boxes. No front garden? Only one parking lot? Fronting a busy road? Save time by knowing your client’s deal-breakers upfront.
#11 – What are your hobbies (or favourite pastime)?
This may be a rather personal question for some, but if the client seems open to more in-depth discussion, this is a good one to look into. For example, if your client loves outdoor activities with family, a place near to a country club or recreational park would be more suitable than one that is located within the city.