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7 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Buyer Leads

Posted by Emily Murray

May 2, 2017 6:15:00 AM

Example questions to ask your real estate buyer leads

"I'm ready to buy a home!" These words are music to any REALTOR's ears. An instant smile materializes, your heart briefly skips a beat and suddenly the clouds part! Sadly, that excitement can be dashed as any of the following killjoy phrases are uttered next:

"I have terrible credit, can I still buy a home?"
"I want a real steal but don't have much saved up."
"I need to close on a house by next week."
"I'm in no rush, just want to see as many homes as possible before I decide."

Did your sails just deflate a little?

The good news is that YOU have the ability to recognize and qualify your leads before you invest all that time and effort. All it takes is a little investigating and a knack for asking the right questions.

We've compiled 7 of our favorite qualifying questions to ask your real estate buyer leads. These will help you differentiate between the renter with an unrealistic dream, the casual looker, and the buyer who is primed and ready to find their dream home.

RELATED: We also have a shareable version of this quiz! Download it for free and add it to your social channels and website. Download our FREE home buyer quiz. 

Download Your Buyer Lead Quiz

Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Buyer Leads

1. Do you plan to be in your home for 5+ years?

If the answer is YES:
This is what you want to hear! According to the "Five Year Rule," a homebuyer should plan on living in their home for at least 5 years or they will likely take a financial hit. That's because not only are closing costs high, but mortgage interest rates are typically at their peak within the first 5 years.

If the answer is NO:
Depending on the financial stability of the buyer lead, they may want to hold off and rent until they can commit to a longer period of time.

2. Do you have good credit?

If the answer is YES:
Excellent! Things run much smoother for the home buyer with good credit.

If the answer is NO:
While there are options for "subprime" borrowers (clients securing a mortgage with poor credit), there are fewer choices since the mortgage crisis of 2007/2008. Recommending that your client spend a few years renting and repairing their credit is often the right choice.

3. Is it important that you purchase a home soon?

If the answer is YES:
This is a good sign. Buyer motivation is extremely important to gauge when weighing the time and effort you'll invest versus the likelihood that the client will purchase a home.

If the answer is NO:
Just because your lead isn't in a huge rush, it's not the end of the world. This gives you a chance to build trust, learn more about their home buying needs and remain in contact as they continue to rent in the meantime. This frees up your time to dedicate to those who are truly ready to buy.

4. Have you researched costs?

If the answer is YES:
Most motivated home buyers have already begun researching costs.

If the answer is NO:
If your lead hasn't started researching costs, this is a potential red flag indicating that they aren't all that motivated. Take this time to build rapport and educate your clients. Once they make the decision to seriously start looking at homes, you'll be the agent who comes to mind.

5. Are you approved for a mortgage?

If the answer is YES:
When your lead is preapproved for a mortgage, you're assured that they have the financial freedom to fall in love with homes within their price range. You're overcoming one potential hurdle before you ever get to it. In fact, most agents won't show homes to home buyers who aren't preapproved.

If the answer is NO:
"Why not?" should be your follow up question. This may be a sign their credit isn't too great (despite how they answered the previous question) or perhaps their motivation is low to find a home in the near future. Probing a bit deeper will give you more insight and help you decide whether or not the lead is a warm one.

6. Do you have 20% saved up for a down payment?

If the answer is YES:
Having 20% of their target home cost saved up means that if they haven't yet been applied for a mortgage, they stand a good chance of being approved. Most banks require at least 20% down.

If the answer is NO:
It's okay to recommend that the client take some time to save while renting. In the long run, it will benefit you both! There are also other mortgage options that do not require 20% down. If the buyer is motivated, those are options definitely worth exploring. 

7. Do you have other financial obligations?

If the answer is YES:
If your lead is currently purchasing many other high ticket items (car, college education etc.) it could negatively impact their ability to purchase a home. It's not a deal breaker, as the funds may be there, but it's certainly a question worth asking.

If the answer is NO:
Typically buyers who aren't financially stressed about other obligations are more motivated, and better qualified, buyers.

What's Next?

If you have a lead who is ready to buy, great, start showing them homes! If you have a lead who needs more time, no problem, stay in touch until they are completely ready to start their home search!

Whether you discover that your lead is ready to buy or needs to rent a bit longer, investing the time to ask more questions will result in a favorable outcome for both parties.

Download our complimentary Buyer Lead Quiz today!


Download Your Buyer Lead Quiz 

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