Expect buyers to ask these pointless questions

"Why are they moving," buyers invariably want to know.

When I accompany a buyer to see a property or overhear others at an open house, I know I can count on the same two questions being asked.

First, what’s the square footage?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, not only will any broker worth his or her salt equivocate for fear of being sued should the number be wrong, but. . . it doesn’t matter.

Okay, it has some, albeit limited, relevance in comparing different properties.  However, let’s recall that no two properties are identical, so subjective adjustments inevitably have to be made.

My issue is with buyers who have some number in their heads about the amount of square footage that they need.  They seem oblivious to how well an apartment fits their needs and seem to focus instead on the amount of square footage.

While I understand the fixation on square footage, I don’t get why the second question is so important:

Why are they moving?

Among the range of responses they are like to receive are these:

  • They’re relocating;
  • They’re downsizing;
  • They. . .  want to. . .  are about to. . .  did. . .  have another baby (pick one);
  • They’re going. . .  downtown. . .  uptown. . .  closer to. . .  work. . .  family. . . private schools.

I think it’s pretty unlikely that a seller’s listing broker will suggest any of the following:

  • They can’t stand the neighbors;
  • The place is too inconvenient;
  • The doorman is a pervert;
  • It’s too noisy.

You get my drift: I can’t conceive of a response that provides even a scintilla of useful information.

So, help me here, why ask?

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

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