Real estate agents have to be a nosy bunch

Your secrets are safe. (Flickr photo by Capitan Giona)

Both sellers and buyers are bound to think real estate agents are nosy, even rude.  But we need insights into their plans, requirements and motivation to serve them best.

At a first meeting, sellers can pretty well assume that a broker will want to know at least the following:

  1. Reason for selling
  2. Amount of time lived in the home
  3. Whether leaving the area or perhaps just upgrading or downsizing
  4. Timetable
  5. Experience or familiarity with the real estate sales process
  6. Any improvements made to the residence
  7. Favorite characteristics of the place
  8. Defects that must be disclosed
  9. Neighborhood favorites
  10. Communication preferences

I always like to find out what first attracted the seller to their home.  I also think it advisable to ask what their hopes are for a sold price.

Asking about the price gives me the opportunity to talk about the market in general and, if warranted, provide a reality check.

One of my last questions will be whether they have met with or plan to meet with other brokers.  If they already have done so, allow me to confess my hope that sellers can talk about the competition’s various pluses and minuses so I can toot my own horn with specificity.

As for buyers, there’s a big difference in the level of conversation about the process depending on whether the buyer is a first-timer.  That said, brokers will want to understand the following:

  1. Knowledge of buying process
  2. Why they want to move
  3. Where they want to live
  4. Absolute minimum size
  5. Features they seek in a new home
  6. Which of those features they could live without
  7. Timetable
  8. Availability to visit open houses
  9. Internet competence
  10. Communication preferences

Important as responses are to those issues, the single most critical — and most intrusive — one has to do with financial resources.

Will the buyer require financing?  If so, many questions must then be answered:

Does the buyer have a mortgage pre-approval?  With what lender?  For how much money?  Where will the deposit and downpayment come from?

It’s not that we brokers want to pry.  It’s that we must so that neither broker nor client wastes time, effort and money.

And the best news: We are bound to confidentiality.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

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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
Web site

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