Steve Stewart Seminars

Steve Stewart Seminars

From the creator or Buy From me, or Get Out of My Car! - 56 important buyer qualifying questions!

56 Important Buyer Qualifying Questions

The fastest way to buy a house is for the buyer to first sit with the REALTOR in the office and answer questions. The slowest way to buy a house is for the Realtor to pick up his/her car keys as soon as a buyer wants to look looking at property. Every 20 minutes invested in qualifying in the real estate office will save about an hour's worth of seeing property (that is, trial and error takes at least three times as long!)

Without even getting to financial qualifiers (where they work, how much they earn, what their debts are), here are 56 important qualifying questions to ask before ever getting the car to go see property. It never hurts you to have a printed checklist. But at a minimum, why not record these questions in your own voice onto a digital recorder or an audio tape and listen to them over and over in the car on any day you expect to have an initial meeting with a home buyer?

Urgency (at least 8 questions):

  • Why are you buying?
  • Why are you buying now?
  • How long have you been thinking about making a purchase?
  • How soon do you need to be in your new home?
  • What would happen if you couldn't make a decision in that much time?
  • Have you seen anything so far that you liked?
  • If you did, why didn't you buy it?
  • If by some chance that home were still available, would you like to see it again?

Time & Ability (at least 4 questions):

  • How much time do you have to look at property today?
  • Do you have any other appointments to look at property today?
  • [If so…] This is important - we may run over the time you have before that other appointment. Why don't you tell me who the other agent is and we'll call to let them know you might be late? Really, I don't mind….
  • If you found what you wanted today, are you in a position to proceed with making an offer on it?

Money (at least 8 questions):

  • How much cash do you have to work with?
  • Does that cash include your closing costs?
  • Suppose we found you the right home and it was pretty much everything you were hoping to find, but it was going to take another 10% more cash than you have now. Is there any point in showing it to you - knowing that - or should we sell that one to our other buyers?
  • What is the maximum house payment you can imagine paying?
  • Would that payment include your property taxes and insurance?
  • Again, suppose we found you the right home and it was as close as you were going to get to what you are hoping to find. But given your down payment, suppose the only way it was going to work is if you could come up with a monthly payment about 10% larger than the payment you just named for me. Is there any point in showing you that house - knowing the numbers you have in mind won't work - or should we sell your house to one of our other buyers?
  • [Please understand it makes no difference to me. I will work within whatever financial arrangements you lay out for me, and that's fine with me. I'm just thinking, wouldn't be a shame if I found your house and didn't even show it to you because I didn't think to ask if you were flexible anywhere. That's always your decision to make, not mine.]
  • Did you bring your checkbook with you?

Experience (at least 2 questions):

  • How many properties have you bought in the past?
  • Do you own any property now?

Property Questions (at least 22 questions):

  • What are all the things you will want in the home you are going to choose?
    • Number of bedrooms?
    • Number of bathrooms?
    • Square footage?
    • Age of the home?
    • Style or design of the home?
    • Size of the lot?
    • One story or two?
    • General location in town?
    • How important are school locations?
    • Are you familiar with the different school districts in this area?
    • Do you have any opinions about schools I should know about?
    • How important is your distance from the highway, downtown, workplace, etc?
    • How do you prefer to finance the purchase?
    • Have you spoken with a lender yet?
    • Do you have a lender in mind that you have decided to work with?
    • I'd like to put a lender in touch with you right away. He/She will ask you some questions about your work, your income and debts. It will only take about five minutes and he/she will be able to give you a quick idea of exactly what price range you should be looking in. May I give them your name?
    • If you are paying cash - where is the cash right now and how long will it take you to get your hands on it?
  • Which of those features could you do without if you had no choice?
  • I mean if you really had no choice?
  • I mean if you REALLY had no choice? I'll do the best that I can to get you as much of this as I can but I have to know what is more important to you than other things.

Specific pre-meeting qualifiers (at least 7 questions):

  • When we meet, please bring the measurements of the largest pieces of furniture in your house [couch and love seat, entertainment center, dining room table collapsed and fully extended, hutch & side bar, master bedroom bed, etc. How many times have you had a buyer unable to make a decision on a house because they didn't know if their couch would fit on one wall?]
  • Will you please bring your checkbook with you when you come in? If you don't like what you see, you don't have to buy it. But this market moves so fast that if you do see what you want, you need to be in a position to make a decision on the spot.
  • Does anyone else need to see the home you choose before you can make a decision? If so, how do we get them in the car with us?
  • Do you have our address?
  • May I give you directions?
  • By the way, why don't you give me your phone number just in case?
  • I will have this time set aside just for you. So if for any reason you aren't able to be here, would you please let me know that as soon as you do?

List Before Selling (at least 5 questions):

  • Will you need to sell something else in order to make this purchase? [Residence, a second home or rental property.]
  • Do you have that property on the market now?
  • Do you have a figure in mind for which you expect to sell it?
  • How did you arrive at that figure?
  • [If unlisted:] It is most likely that you will be in a much stronger negotiating position on your purchase if you at least have your present home on the market before you try to buy your next home. It's the difference between saying "I'll buy yours if I can sell mine first" or saying "I'll buy yours as soon as mine sells - and mine is already on the market." Do you see the difference? Since yours is not on the market now, why don't I at least come by to see yours first so we'll all know how to proceed?

© 2013. Steve Stewart Seminars


Steve Stewart is an international speaker and expert on the subject of real estate sales making 100+ presentations each year throughout North America and beyond. Best known for his signature presentation Buy From Me or Get Out of My Car, he can be contacted directly about scheduling a topic and presentation for your organization in 2013. For information, click on or email us.

This list of 56 buyer questions may easily be reprinted elsewhere with our permission. All we ask is that you acknowledge the copyright [© Steve Stewart Seminars, 2013], and if printed as a article in a periodical that includes photos of authors, one may be downloaded from this site.
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