The following questions should take place at your Buyer Consultation. We feel that it is imperative to hold a Buyer Consultation, for every buyer client you work with. It is only through the vetting process and Q&A of some sort of buyer consult, can you hope to gain the necessary knowledge of your client in order to truly act as a Fiduciary on their behalf.
Why Ask Why? Well, in our business, the answer to this question will give you insights into your client’s true motivation and desires. The answers to these questions of, “Why”, if you listen to them, will tell you everything you need to know about what is driving your client’s decisions. Conversely, failure to ask, “Why” could land you in the hot seat. Let me give the “Classic” Example. Buyer Ralph tells you that he wants a 4-bedroom home and you never ask him “Why”. It is only after working with Ralph for 8 weeks that you discover he does not need a 4-bedroom home. He really needed a 3-bedroom home with an office. Ralph was simply under the impression that he needed to say “4 Bedroom” to get him that office. All this time, you have been excluding the 3-bedroom + office homes from the search, because you were under the false impression that Ralph needed 4 bedrooms. Did Ralph “lie”? No. The agent just failed to ask “Why” when Ralph stated he needed a 4-bedroom home.
2. “What are your Wants and what are your Needs?”
In other words, what MUST this home/property have for it to be an option for you and how does that deviate from what you would consider a bonus, but optional? It is critical for us, as fiduciaries to our clients, that we have a clear understanding of what they want, what they need, and where the two intersect.
3. “What would you consider your ideal monthly mortgage payment to be?”
The follow up questions to this primary query, are just as important. It is vital to understand your client’s budget and comfort level with regards to their payment. I always have told my buyers that the only way I can wind up the “Bad Guy” is if they over pay and that it was critical that we were looking at homes which they could afford. It is also vital to follow this question up with, “Have you spoken to a lender and gotten approved for that mortgage amount?”. If the answer is “Yes”, then “Great! Would you mind giving me their contact information so that I may introduce myself and get the working relationship off on the right foot?”. If the answer is “No”, then “No problem! Would you like some references to local experts which I have worked with in the past?”.
4. “What are your most favorite and least favorite aspects of your current home?”
This question can give you valuable insights into your buyer’s primary motivation(s) for making a move, wants, needs, and even many of the “Why’s” behind what they tell you they desire. It will start the conversation about lot location and layout, finish quality, construction type, amenities, and much more.
5. “What are your expectations for me, your realtor?”
We must have the guts to ask this question and listen to the answer. Not only listen to the answer, but note the response and ensure that we match or exceed the client’s expectation for our services. Most the buyers you work with have specific expectations for you. Do you know what they are? Are you meeting them? Only one way to find out.
- Conduct a buyer consultation, each time, every time
- Go beyond the “Surface” desires to extract true motivation
- Ask investigative questions and discover the lifestyle-driven needs which drive consumer behavior