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4 questions to ask your potential buyer

Before you make an appointment with potential buyers who want to visit your home, we recommend you ask them a few questions. You’ll be able to find out if they’re serious about buying and whether your home suits their needs.

That way, you’ll avoid any misunderstandings that could waste their time and yours.

1. Could you give me your contact information?

Martin Desfossés, a real estate coach at DuProprio, says people can’t say no to this question. Sellers have the right to know who they’re dealing with. For instance, having a potential buyer’s contact information lets you confirm the time of the visit. That way, you can avoid preparing your home for a no-show.

Real estate brokers have an obligation to identify themselves and tell you their intentions. If you’ve decided to maintain control of the transaction and don’t want a broker to visit, you can let them know right away.

2. Have you looked at our listing?

Your listing contains a lot of information about your property. When potential buyers take a look, they’ll quickly know if the home suits their needs and if the asking price seems reasonable. If they haven’t seen the listing, give them as much information as possible about the property before meeting them for a visit. 

If the number of rooms or size isn’t right, it’s not a good sign. But if the property seems to be the right fit, arrange a meeting and encourage them to look at your listing on DuProprio. They can check everything you’ve told them and call back if they’re no longer interested.

3. What’s the preferred occupancy date?

By asking this simple question, you’ll find out whether an agreement with the potential buyer is possible or likely to get complicated. By identifying both of your needs from the outset, you’ll avoid ending up in a deadlock when it comes to finalizing the offer to purchase.

Let’s take the following example: The buyer has to leave his or her current home by July 1 and wants to take possession during the summer. You, on the other hand, are going to buy a new house that won’t be ready until November. This is going to cause problems! One of you would have to find a temporary residence, which is far from being an ideal situation.

4. Are you a homeowner?

If the answer is yes, you’ll know the buyer can probably afford your home. Then ask if their property is on the market, has been sold or will be listed soon. You basically want to know if the buyer needs to sell before buying your home. If this is the case, their offer to purchase will be conditional on the sale of this property. And you’ll need to allow time for this.

Ask first-time buyers if they have a mortgage prequalification or have started the prequalification process. That way, you’ll know if they can afford your property. You’ll also find out if they’re serious about buying. However, if a buyer doesn’t have a prequalification letter from a bank, it doesn't mean they can’t afford to buy. You could still accept an offer. But the buyer will have to provide a mortgage approval letter within the timeframe specified in the offer to purchase.

Satisfied with the answers to your questions? Then arrange a meeting and see what comes of the visit.