Any time that a potential homebuyer shows interest in your property, it can get your hopes up. Unfortunately, just because a buyer expresses interest does not mean that they are serious about making an offer. In fact, they may not be serious even if they do make an offer, especially if they make a lowball offer that’s borderline insulting.
The last thing you’ll want to do is waste your time on a buyer that isn’t serious, so be sure to use the following five tips to identify a homebuyer that’s actually interested in making a serious offer:
When a homebuyer can present a mortgage pre-approval letter to you, it means that not only are they serious about buying a new home, but that they are also financially capable of doing so. They have gone through the trouble to get pre-approved for a mortgage because their intent to invest in a new home is very real. Buyers without mortgage pre-approval may get so far as to submit a bid, but you’ll never know if they have the finances to actually pay for the house. You may think that you’re close to finalizing a sale only to have it collapse because the buyer is unable to secure a loan at the last minute.
Buyers who are serious know exactly what they want and what they are looking for. They will showcase this by asking good questions concerning your home. Some of the questions that you might hear from the more serious buyers include questions about property taxes, utility bills, your HVAC system, your roof, prior repair work, routine maintenance costs, insulation quality, past pest problems and more. These kinds of in-depth questions help better inform serious buyers as to whether they will want to make a bid. Buyers who aren’t serious about your home won’t have as many questions about it, often because they’re not sure what they’re looking for nor do they know what they should be asking about.
When talking to a buyer, ask them how long they’ve been looking. If they’ve only started the house hunting process, then odds are they’re probably not serious buyers. This is because most people aren’t quite sure what they are looking for yet when they first begin their search. Additionally, many buyers will want to get an idea of what’s out there before they begin getting really serious, which means that they’ll go to multiple showings without a real solid intention of making an offer. Of course, there are exceptions to this, which is why you won’t want to dismiss buyers who have just started their search right off the bat. However, buyers who have been searching for a new home for more than just a couple weeks are probably more aware of what’s on the market and will have a better idea of what they are looking for.
A motivated buyer will look at houses with their agent so that they can ask them questions as well as receive professional advice. They will also defer to the agent to ask you or your agent questions about the property. Buyers that show up on their own are often just “taking a look.” They are often without a real estate agent because they feel that their presence may put unwanted pressure on them to make an offer.
Buyers that make comments about how they could use various rooms in the house or where they could put certain pieces of furniture tend to be more serious. They are actually thinking ahead and imagining what it would be like to live there, which means that they are motivated to move to a new place. The fact that they have begun personalizing your house means that they’re likely to make an offer as well.
You’re going to be dealing with all kinds of different homebuyers when you put your house up on the market. Because you won’t want to spend too much time on buyers who aren’t serious about making an offer, it’s important that you learn how to identify buyers that are serious. This will also help keep your expectations in check when dealing with a buyer who isn’t serious but is feigning interest for one reason or another.