So it’s January and I am starting to see some movement again. People are looking towards the future and planning moves for the spring (once it gets a little warmer). Mixed in with clients who are serious about looking at buying a new home are the dreamers. These are the people who wish to move, but because of any number of personal issues, now is just not the right time for them.
Being a real estate agent, it is important to know who is serious and who will just spin your wheels. I have had some back to back situations recently where I began working with some people who were in no way able to seriously consider moving.
How do you know when a person is not a good client to take on? Below is a quick list of signs that might give you pause in deciding to work with someone.
1. The customer is unwilling or continuously puts off getting their pre-approval or credit report.
Serious buyers will make sure everything is in place before they begin to look. They know that if they find their dream home, they will want to put in an offer right away. The market is moving quickly. Homes won’t last until you have been pre-approved.
2. You only get an email or a phone number, but not both.
I have found that these are people who really just want some quick information, but aren’t serious about looking for a home.
3. The customer’s list of expectations in a home isn’t reasonable.
I have spoken with people who want a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home in an upscale neighborhood for less than half the price of what any home in that neighborhood would go for. I have also dealt with the people who think they can pick up a foreclosure at a rock bottom price in perfect move in condition.
4. There is no time line and they are incredibly vague,
They don’t know what they will do with their current residence, how much they are able/willing to spend and what area they are interested in looking at.
5. They are working with a realtor, their family is full of realtors or their friend is a realtor.
I have been surprised when during the course of a conversation, I am able to find out they already have a realtor. I will hear the excuses that the realtor is dragging their feet or they just want to look at this one property. If you have a realtor, I will not be able to help you.
I also get the customers who let me know how many realtors they know. They won’t say why they won’t work with them, but they tend to challenge what information you give them and after finding out about a specific question (how much their home is worth, or just wanting to check one property) they end up with the realtor they already know.
I was talking with one of the agents at work about the cycle of real estate. It seems that I will have a dry spell, then get a bunch of potential clients that fall into the above range and then finally get a group of serious buyers. The agent I spoke with put it this way, real estate is a numbers game. Expect to go through 12 customers before you hit on the serious buyer.
As someone who is used to traditional sales where each person lost is money lost, I have had to change my perspective. I can’t look at each interaction that falls through as money lost, but instead I must look at it as each lost person brings me closer to the serious client.
For anyone out there who is just starting out in real estate, I hope this information is not only helpful, but will help to take some of the pressure off of you. I would also like to mention that for every example above, there are clients that will pan out. The important thing is to be able to ask valuable questions and really pay attention to not only the words, but also the actions of the potential client. It doesn’t matter if they are serious or not, people will reveal themselves. The tips above just might move the process along faster for you.
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