Sometimes the best ideas are sooo simple . . . and sometimes they seem so obvious. I am frequently amazed that, somehow, I managed to miss them. I get the ‘Big Duh’ reaction.
That happened a few minutes ago. I was reading a brief article in Inman News by Alisha Alway Braatz about working with buyers. I’d give you a link, but it was premium content and requires a subscription – one that I have – to view. (Parenthetically, I think it’s well worth the cash to become a premium member. Inman is far and away the best source of information for the real estate industry today.)
Ms. Braatz mentioned that she had a downloadable Buyer Questionnaire PDF on her website and she asks buyers to get it and complete it before their first face-to-face meeting. The questions aren’t magical: they are the kinds of things you’d likely ask during the meeting. Things like: why are you planning a move? How long have you been looking? Are you working with other agents? Do you need to sell your current house before you can make a move? If you found the perfect house today, is there any reason you couldn’t proceed with a purchase? What are the five most important features you are seeking? What areas are you considering and why? Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage? And so on.
The point about the questionnaire is this: it sets a tone for your meeting and subsequent relationship. You take this house hunting business seriously and you go at it with a plan. That is so different from you competition. You’re setting the stage for a loyalty commitment by taking leadership before you even meet this prospective buyer. And also: this may be the first time your buyer(s) have really focused on what they’re trying to accomplish. There may be features and issues in the home buying process that, until now, they haven’t talked about.
The questionnaire Ms. Braatz uses is 3 pages long. That might be a bit much. Might be. I’m sure they are all great questions that will provide clarity and direction. I just worry a little about overwhelming buyer prospects by making the task look bigger than it needs to be. But there’s only one way to test that: do it.
So, Robbie, Tony: if we come up with a standard questionnaire that all of our brokers could use, is there a way we could store it online and make it available on all our broker websites?
And Jack Bailey: What do you think of this idea? If you like it, I can think of nobody better able to put this kind of questionnaire together: are you up for that?