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Do You Qualify Your Buyers Like This?

One of the biggest mistakes new and struggling agents make is they spend too much time pursuing low quality leads. They believe that working with any prospect is better than no prospect at all.

Problem is, unqualified prospects rarely turn into income-producing clients. Nothing is more frustrating than investing large amounts of time, money, and energy with buyers who ultimately flake-out on you, get cold feet or end up working with another agent.

The secret to maximizing your income per hour practicing real estate is to “qualify” each buyer lead that comes across your desk before spending your valuable time with them. And the ONE item you want to qualify is...

Their True Motivation to Buy

How do you understand buyer motivation? By simply asking the right questions, then close your mouth and listen carefully.

Here are 7 “motivation-detective” questions you can use to screen buyer leads (some of them will work for sellers too). They can be used as a “phone script”, in person or even by email...

1. Why Are You Thinking of Buying?

Determine their legitimate reasons for buying: Move-up, empty nester, retiring, first time home buyer, investment, relocation, job change, lost job, etc. It also gives you an early indication if they'll be a good client or a “time-waster.”

Also look for the “common connection” with the caller (kids go to same school, go to same civic organization or church). When you find something in common, or discover specific needs, communicate how you share the same interest, or have a specialty in what they need.

Your goal with this question is to begin building a relationship. While they're talking about their life situation, identify a bridge to your unique you can help them with their problems. As the conversation progresses, you can use this information to convert them to an appointment, that is, if you conclude the lead is a motivated buyer.

2. What Type of Property Are You Looking For?

This question identifies multiple things at once that you may not realize at first glance. If you ask this question and the response is that the potential buyer is looking to invest in a foreclosure...

  • You can identify in your mind where you might look for foreclosures in your market area and how long it might take...
  • You can identify how you might be able to help them (if your expertise is right for them)...
  • And you can identify if they are realistic in their desires.

For instance, an unrealistic buyer may want to buy a foreclosure that needs some repair work to get a better price, but doesn't have any extra money to do the repairs. You're job is to identify any disconnect that could lead to you wasting your time.

You'll end up frustrating them (and make yourself look foolish) if you show them homes that require no repair work but are out of their price range. Or, just as bad, showing them homes they can afford but that need immediate repairs (for which they don't have money).

Don't worry about getting every last detail of their search criteria now. You'll get more information from them if you meet in person. Your critical objective is to see if they are motivated, realistic and a good client that provides a paycheck and not the run-around.

3. How Soon Do You Want To Be In Your New Property?

If it doesn't come up in the discussion from the last two questions, ask this qualifying question to determine the time frame of the potential buyer.

You can also ask, “How Long Have You Been Looking?” If they've only been searching for a couple months and don't have an urgent reason for moving, they're probably not motivated enough to commit your most precious asset: your time.

If the prospect doesn't want to move soon (generally in the next six months), you're wasting your time meeting with them in person. You can still put them on your contact database, give them market updates, and send them your regular monthly newsletter... keeping in touch and developing a RELATIONSHIP with them until they're ready to buy.

Wait to meet in person at a later date once their time frame is less than six months.

4. Have You Bought A Property In The Past?

You're trying to gauge if they are familiar with the home buying process. Understanding how knowledgeable they are will allow you to better communicate your value in helping them in their search.

You may already know the answer to this question from prior discussion with the prospective buyer. This is a golden opportunity to highlight common problems and frustrations with the home buying process and to present your unique solution.

If they've bought a home in the past where the process seemed overwhelming and they didn't think they got a great deal...Inform them of your buyer process that will find the perfect home for them, at the right price, and without the common hassles they've had in the past.

5. Have You Been Pre-Approved?

Notice this question doesn't say, “have you met with a lender?” or “have you been pre-qualified?”

It asks about “approval.” Why? Because when your clients are pre-approved, you know 1) they're serious about buying, 2) you know how much money they're able to spend, and 3) they're ready to buy NOW.

Chances are they are not approved, so you need to get them approved before moving forward. The best way to motivate buyers to go through the approval process is to say,

Mr. and Mrs. Buyer, sellers like to know they're dealing with a true buyer, not a tire kicker. When you actually get pre-approved, you not only demonstrate that you're serious, but you're seen as serious as a CASH BUYER in the eyes of the seller. This gives you a much stronger negotiating position and will ultimately save you a lot of money and time. Here are the names of (1 to 3) mortgage sources that can help you in the process. Let's call them right now and get the process started.

6. Are You Working With Another Agent?

You don't work for free! Ask this question above early in the conversation to determine if you should even continue...
  • If the person is working with another agent, you can ask them if they've signed an “exclusive” Buyer Broker Agreement.
  • If they already signed an agreement with another agent, ask them why they've called you instead, and then explain that their agent would be better to answer questions.
  • If they are unsatisfied with their current agent or their agreement with another agent is ending, investigate how you can help them.
  • If they are NOT working with another agent, continue directly to the next question.

7. When Can We Meet To Discuss Your Property Search?

Notice the question was not, “can we meet...?”, but “WHEN can we meet?” Why? Because the latter question leaves little room for a “no” answer.

This is the ultimate way to determine how serious the buyer is in the search, because if they don't want to meet in person in the next week, they're not ready to buy and will waste your time.

Here's a tip: try to meet in your office if possible. This way you will have control and can present your services, make copies of documents, and have their full attention.

Your time is valuable. Guard it like Fort Knox. Properly qualifying buyers is one of the quickest ways to reduce the number of hours you work, get your commissions faster, and maximize your income per hour.

Flip video camera

Could you use this cool Video Camcorder in Your Business?
Share Your Best STUFF!

Real estate can be a tough, lonely business. Even top agents need a continuous flow of guidance, support and new ideas to keep going strong. When you share your best stuff with our community, everyone wins!

AND…remember, each month we hold a drawing to award one amazing FLIP video camcorder to an agent who submits an idea we use. So submit your best prospecting, marketing, horror story, or other real estate idea that makes you more successful, and you'll automatically become eligible to WIN a BRAND NEW FLIP video camcorder. Be sure to include an example if you have one! Click Here

Ben Franklin's Secret to Productivity

Benjamin Franklin advised to “make your list for the next day on the night before leaving work.”

Agent Sundii C. Jones understands this secret to effective time management. Each night she makes a prioritized list of things to be done for the next day, and then doesn't let anything distract her from completing this list early the next morning.

Prioritizing your tasks and getting them done early is a huge step toward accomplishing your goals.

Successful agents control their time and limit or eliminate distractions from themselves and others. Use this secret to plan each day's task list and reach your goals this year...

Here's Sundii's description...

“Doing the FIRST things FIRST! I love getting to know people on a deeper level. When I say "how are you today"? I mean it! But.....sometimes it backfires.

People want to tell you how they are doing when you didn't ask, or don't have time to listen to personal issues.

How do you balance?

I make a list of things as they come up through out the day. If they are things that don't get taken care of that day they go on the top of the list for the next day. At night I go over the list and number them in priority.

The following morning BEFORE anyone else gets in or the phone starts ringing, I complete my list at a break neck, marathon pace. By 10am I'm ready for everyone else knowing the most important things for the day are completed!”

QuickTip: A Closing Gift That Keeps Knocking

“For every home I close, I purchase a personalized door-knocker for the new owner, which includes their name and the year they purchased the home. I have found this to be a conversational piece as people visit the new home and it gives the new owners an opportunity to mention me and my services.”

Look Who's Now the Proud Owner of a
Brand New FLIP Video Camera!!

Flip video camera winners

Why is agent Bob Collard smiling these days? Because he just won a brand new FLIP video camcorder! You can see his idea, “These Signs Make Your Phone Ring With Buyers” in issue 1145. Congratulations Bob!

Want to get your very own FLIP camera? It's easy. Just submit your very best marketing or success strategy (or QuickTip or Horror Story) by Clicking Here. Then, about every month we select the ideas we used in the last few issues and throw'em into a hat where the winner is selected randomly. The better your idea (examples help!), the more likely we'll use it, and the greater your chances of winning – just like Bob here.

3 Tips For Finding A Dream Home Fast

“Buying a home is a very important decision in your life. Buyers consider financing, the location, the homes value, and what their criteria might be. However, it is during this buying phase that many people make the most common mistakes that not only leads to buyer's remorse but can easily be avoided.

  1. A longer search doesn't always work. Many buyers start the home buying process with the belief it is going to take a long time, but this may not be the case. Sometimes buyers find their "dream home" within the first few weeks of searching (some even sooner!) but they will pass on this home and continue to look. The reason for this is because many people often think that the more time and effort they spend finding a home, the more perfect this home will be.

  2. Trust the knowledge of a Buyer Broker. Although purchasing a home is a major investment in the buyer's life, the buyer if properly assisted by a Buyer Broker should trust their agent's advice. Buyer Brokers know what other properties are available and passing up on a perfectly great home because it seemed "too easy" can be a bad decision.

  3. Don't be hung up on a small price difference. Even though it is a large financial investment, buyers should not hold out on price if they have found their "dream home." Buyers often think that they are spending too much money. However, if you really do the proper research, they may find that the home is the right price. Backing out of a deal because of a small price difference can be a big mistake.

Remember, when looking for your "dream home," make sure to really investigate the surrounding location. Check out the area at night, the weekends, and even during rush hour. This way you know the home and the location is exactly what you were looking for.”

Horror Story: The Value of Pre-Approval

“My first year as a Realtor® I found 'Mary' or she found me! She came to me 'pre-qualified' and ready to find a home. Her price range was in the low 70's, which by itself isn't too big a problem in our area if you want a fixer upper. She didn't.

Long story short, we looked at probably 30 properties or more over a 6 month period. She always found something wrong with the home (well duh look at the price!). I finally managed to find her the house almost of her dreams.

It was one bedroom smaller than she wanted but was in great condition and in a decent area. The owner had already moved away and was anxious to sell. He accepted her offer and low and behold she couldn't get financing! It seems she had a foreclosure on her record from a divorce! Lesson here, pre-qualifying doesn't cut it. Get 'Pre-Approval.' Then you won't waste time and money on your own 'Mary' like I did.”

Issue #1147