By Jacque Parker - Director of House Search Australia
How to get inside a buyer’s head to get the best results.
As buyers’ agents, one of our most important roles is to understand what purchasers really want. We need to be able to get inside a buyer’s head in order to be able to achieve the best outcome for them as their advocate.
This can be extremely challenging at times because unlike vendors, who are predominantly motivated by the one goal of selling their home for the best price possible, buyers are influenced by so much more.
This includes, but is certainly not limited to, price, location, property features, street position, aspect/views, rental return, potential for improvements, land size, neighbourhood vibe and more.
The importance of getting it right cannot be underestimated and it is paramount that we spend sufficient time talking to and researching with our buyers before commencing searches on their behalf.
So how do you work out what buyers want?
At House Search Australia we follow a specific quantifying checklist when potential clients first make contact. We are very choosy about who we take on, as we don’t want to waste selling agents’ or vendors’ time trying to attain the impossible or unrealistic. We have a reputation for being able to assist buyers in achieving their goals, with a success rate of finding a property for 98 per cent of our buyers since we opened our doors in 2005, so we must be doing something right!
Here are our top six questions that we ask of buyers to ensure they are ready to buy, are realistic in their requirements and committed to the process.
1. Are you financed?
Unless we have a cash buyer, we require evidence of finance approval or pre-approval before we begin a search. This is also in the best interests of being able to move quickly should the right property arise early in the search period.
2. Have you bought residential property before?
Seasoned purchasers are very different to first homebuyers, for example, and knowing the level of experience of the purchaser allows us to cater to them accordingly, in terms of provision of information and the education process throughout the search.
3. How long have you been searching? Why do you think you haven’t found anything suitable yet?
The response to this enables us to clarify if a buyer is being realistic or not. A recent example was an investor who had been searching for five years and had only made one offer during that period. She had inspected over 300 properties but hadn’t been able to make a decision, due to unrealistically high standards for her budget. Needless to say, we declined to take her on.
4. What are your expectations of our services?
Ensuring we are all on the same page allows for a smoother process and a clearer understanding of what is involved in the search for a property. As most buyers are using our services for the first time, it is vital that we all understand the role of both the BA and the client in achieving the most satisfactory outcome.
5. What are your property criteria?
Completion of a detailed property wish list upfront is essential for us to establish if a client has a sufficient budget for what they want. It is also the most important component of the search. Working with buyers to modify accordingly and be flexible with wants versus needs is an integral part of establishing the most suitable brief that is workable in the current market.
6. Who are the decision makers?
We prefer to establish upfront who will be making the final purchasing decision, as sometimes there can be more than one or two parties involved.
The power of influence of one relative or friend (or in some cases associated colleagues) cannot be underestimated and we need to know who that is likely to be, and their role in the purchasing process. We all need to be on the same page.
This article was first published in the February 2013 edition of the REINSW Real Estate Journal.