Questions for Prequalifying Buyers

Each year, about 1.2 million new households are formed, each representing a potential homebuyer, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you really want to tap this long-term potential, you have to understand today's buyers and pick your clients carefully.

Every salesperson has war stories about indecisive, demanding, disloyal, or financially irresponsible clients. They've learned firsthand how important it is to prequalify buyers. Real estate sales guru Walter Sanford of Sanford Systems in Kankakee, Ill., asks buyers to fill out a detailed questionnaire to determine their motivation before signing a contract.

  1. How long have you been looking?
  2. Are you working with another salesperson or broker? If so, who?
  3. How many are in your family? Do you have school-age children?
  4. Do you rent or own your current home? Rent amount?
  5. Must you sell your home or complete a lease period before buying? How long is the lease?
  6. How soon do you need to move?
  7. If we find the right property, are you prepared to make a decision now?
  8. What is your price range?
  9. Do you have a budget for monthly payments?
  10. Has a lender prequalified you for a loan? If so, for how much?
  11. What’s the name of the lender that prequalified you?
  12. How much cash do you want to use for the purchase?
  13. Is there a particular location you prefer?
  14. How many bedrooms do you need? Square feet? Units?
  15. Do you have a particular style of home in mind?
  16. Will anyone else be helping you make the buying decision?
  17. What special requirements do you need in a property?
  18. Where are you employed?
  19. Where is your spouse employed?
  20. If I give you 100 percent of my time, will you buy your property from me?
  21. What times are best for you to view properties?
  22. How do you like to communicate—by phone, fax, mail, or e-mail?
  23. What's the best time to reach you? At what number?
  24. Have you purchased a home before?
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