Most of the time clients are unaware of their exact needs when it comes to buying a property. They know they want to buy a property but the specifications are missing. Driven by a vague idea of ‘checking out the market,’ they come in contact with a real estate agent. But the agent should ferret out what the client wants before he starts dealing with him otherwise it leads to wastage of time and resources. Besides, there is a needless conflict generated in the process, and the deal goes haywire with the client opting out mid-way.
When it comes to doing the groundwork, the agent has to deal with multiple clients and it is not possible to spend the whole day on site visits without knowing what the client has in mind. He should stop posing as an enigmatic buyer who should be interpreted by the sagacious agent. Instead of this trial and error way of finding out what kind of property he is looking for, quality agents schedule a meeting with potential buyers at their convenient time and place. But many buyers are not willing, not prepared to appear for such interviews.
They prefer to have email exchanges in the initial stages to share valuable information before setting out to see properties on a whirlwind tour conducted by agents keen to impress with a large portfolio of properties to offer. In order to stave off unpleasant situations that lead to loss of reputation and valuable time, it is necessary for an agent to have a buyer chalk out an outline of his essentials. To assist him in eliciting the requisite information, the agent should send him a questionnaire or chat with him online to seek answers to some key questions that enable him to form an idea of budget, space, and location preference.
Motivation to Buy
This question prompts buyers to disclose relevant information such as a pregnancy, a child leaving for college, or a job change. This information is highly important to know – to help guide clients toward a purchase. Some clients are looking for an additional source of income. For such buyers, it is an investment option and not a question of end-use. A prime commercial property for a good rental option or even a second home or vacation property that gives assured rental inflow and also yields high appreciation is the appropriate solution in this case. So the process should begin with a clear segregation of where the client wants to park his funds and the purpose of buying real estate.
Monthly Payment Amount
Just because a buyer can qualify for a big loan does not mean he is willing to buy a big property. Moreover, many clients do not have an idea of how much their monthly payment will be on that size of a property. An agent needs to know how much monthly payment the client can afford. Though it sounds uncomfortable as a question, it saves many subsequent hassles. Being frank about financial limitations is important at the outset. Once the agent gets a fair idea about budget and EMI potential, he can offer good options within that bracket.
Your Needs vs. Your Desires in a Home
Agents should ask buyers to make a list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘wants’ — and politely inform buyers that they may need to be willing to compromise on both. Once the buyer is ready to make areas of adjustments clear to his agent, he is able to get better property options from the agent.
Understanding of the Costs Along With Property Purchase
Most buyers are aware that they have to shell out a down payment. But some are jolted to know the listing of additional costs like legal fees, maintenance charges, service tax, generator and parking charges, stamp duty and registration fees in case of purchase. Clients prefer properties that offer concessions on these additional charges. They also want agents to reduce their commission depending on the property type. The agent should prepare the buyer for costs so that he can switch his property choice if he wants to save money. Also, the agent is expected to secure the best deal by getting discount on the basic sale price. In case the agent is not able to negotiate and bring down the rate to satisfy the client, he should know what the client has in mind so that he can offer a categorical refusal or suggest options where he can manage further reduction on behalf of the client.
Plan to Self-Occupy the Property for Long-term or Another Investment Option
Buyers are not only considered about how auspicious the property is going to be but also increasingly worried about its growth potential. An agent can offer estimates based on past growth rates, socioeconomic valuation of data in the particular area but all predictions about long-term performance are subject to risks. Since agents are limited in what they can say or not say about many issues, the agent should consult or refer local resources to provide correct information about safety, hospitals, schools, transport facilities, basic infrastructure and the possibility of development in that zone. Again, development is not guaranteed but indicative. So the agent should know from the client whether he needs property in a growing commercial belt or in a quiet township with lots of greenery around, in a high-rise or in a low-rise complex.
Buy Property or Looking at Another Investment Product
Some buyers seek advice from financial consultants who often suggest stock market as the best place to invest. At a later stage, clients come up with the shocking decision not to buy property. In such cases, agents are dumped and they do not get paid at all. So it is important to form an idea of not only what type of property he is keen to buy but also to know whether he has made up his mind to buy property and nothing else. Having as much information as possible is crucial. The key is not being afraid to ask difficult questions even though clients do not provide satisfactory answers to all.
Being equipped with vital information about client needs always helps the real estate agent to serve his client better.