What’s Your Budget?
The first hurdle that any home buyer needs to come to terms with is their budget. Buying a home is not cheap, and taking someone with a $250,000 budget to see a $700,000 home is a waste of your time and their time. It is also bad form, as you might be getting them excited for something that is not possible for them.
If they don’t know their budget, you can help guide them into the process to find out. Remember that discussing finances is very personal and awkward for some people, so be sure to tread lightly and don’t press them to answer questions that they are not comfortable with. Instead, guide them to come to the answer of what they can afford on their own so you can find the best home for their price range.
Also make sure they have bank approval, or are in the works, to get approved for a mortgage to help with a smooth buying process.
What Type of Home Do You Want?
If someone wants a 2,000 square foot single family home, don’t take them to check out 1,000 square foot condos. Make sure to ask all of the questions you have to so you are clear on what they want. Of course, there is a little learning as you go, but it is better to start with a reasonably good idea of what your client wants.
Ask about structure type (single family, condo, townhouses), amenities they are looking to have, if they want to avoid an HOA, how many bedrooms and bathrooms they want, if they care about extra rooms like offices, if they need a garage, and how big of a home in square feet they are looking for.
As you go on showings, the “must have” list and “no way” list might change a bit, but it is easier to start similar and adjust a little bit than to start with no information and learn everything as you go.
What Do You Care About Having Nearby?
When I looked for my last home, I wanted to be able to walk to restaurants, bars, and be within a short bike ride of downtown. Some families want to be in a suburb near a park. Others want to be far away from any neighbors.
Get a good idea of how walkable your client wants their home to be from nearby shops and businesses. If they want something with easy walking and biking access, bring a walk score report with you on each showing.
Do You Care About Local Schools?
Some people are single buyers with no kids in sight, others are families with toddlers going to school in the next couple of years. Talk your client through local school options before suggesting neighborhoods.
Sometimes you may be surprised when you ask a client about how much they care about local schools. Even a bachelor might be on the hunt for a spouse and family in the near future.
Make It about the Client
Remember, the client picked you because you match what they are looking for and they trust you to help them find what they are looking for. Put your own personal preferences aside and search out new showings based on their criteria. If you do a great job, referrals and repeat business are sure to follow.