How to Recognize a Serious Buyer When Selling Your Home

When selling your home yourself, you’ll have to actively look for potential buyers and communicate with them. You’ll have to be available to answer phone calls and emails and to provide more details about the home.

Interacting with the vast majority of potential buyers will seem like a waste a time. Even so, it’s important to be helpful and available so you don’t miss out on a potential sale. It only takes one buyer to make it happen.

Learn to recognize a buyer who is genuinely interested and willing to make a serious offer.

A few simple questions will go a long way toward getting a better idea of what the buyer is after and how serious they really are:

1. How long have they been looking for a property?

Someone just getting started might not be ready to make an offer. A buyer who has been looking in earnest for two or three months will have a very good idea of what they want.

2. How many other homes have they already looked at?

The higher the number they have looked at often means they are seriously looking and know exactly what they’re looking for.  The more time spent pounding the pavement shows they intend to make a purchase.

3. Have they made any offers on other properties?

This is a sign that they know what they want and what they can afford. Many different factors can lead to a rejected offer, so it shouldn’t be a mark against them.

4. Find out what you can about their finances.

Be tactful. A prequalified buyer with a letter from their bank stating as such is golden. You know they can close the sale because their bank says so.

You can also tell if a potential buyer is serious or not by the questions they ask. Asking for a detailed layout of the home, more pictures, or details of improvements you’ve made are all good signs of someone who knows what they want. If they hint about renovations they’re planning, even better.

Schedule a showing or invite specific buyers to a private open house. Pay attention to their behavior while they are in your home. A serious buyer will pay attention to details without being petty. Anyone who’s biggest concern is the color of the paint or carpet isn’t serious about buying.

An offer alone doesn’t always mean that a buyer is serious. If the bid is well below your asking price, they are probably an investor or they may be someone who is not ready to buy. If you receive many offers well below asking price though, you may be overpriced. Make sure you’re being a serious seller!

You will learn to understand if a buyer is serious or not by the questions they ask, their demeanor, and if they are eager and interested in seeing the property. A serious buyer will also have their finances in order. They will usually make an offer shortly after seeing the property if they decide that it corresponds to what they want.

While it can certainly be a very emotional experience, selling your home can also be exciting. Keep your mind on your end goals and your path of moving forward, and the kinks will work themselves out.

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