15 Questions You Should Always Ask Prospective Sellers Right Off The Bat

Published May 31, 2017 by Real Estate Leads

Extensive series of a Caucasian Real Estate Agent and African-American Couple in front of a home.Here are Real Estate Leads, we’re pretty darn reliable when it comes to generating buyer and seller leads for realtors. We make it so that you have an opportunity to turn those leads into clients. What you do with that opportunity, well that’s up to you, your expertise and your ability to accommodate these prospective clients in just the right way.

Most of you will agree that even ‘qualified’ leads need to be established even more thoroughly before you begin to invest your precious time and energy with a potential client. With that understood, we’ve spoken to many experienced realtors across the country and come to a consensus on 15 questions you should be asking these individuals to determine explicitly that they are homeowners who are legitimately looking to sell in the near future.

The focus with these questions is not just in trying to find out the details of the house and how much the sellers want for it. Rather, they establish parameters to find out how motivated they are and how willing they are to sell the house at a price that reflects what the market will realistically bear.

Before we get started, remember to ask open-ended questions. Listen intently and for as long as necessary, and let them do the majority of the talking

  1. Who am I speaking with?

You need to know who you are speaking to. Once that’s established you can call them by their name throughout the conversation to help build a rapport. Of course, it’s helpful to make sure they know your name first and another advisable tip is to mention it again when it’s natural to do so in the conversation.

  1. What is the address of the house you want to sell?

This one may be regarded as a little off track, but it’a actually quite important. It can be challenging to analyze a deal when you don’t know the exact address – whether that’s for Google Street View or any other prerogative. On rare occasions sellers will be hesitant to give you their street and address. This isn’t necessarily a ‘red flag’ but most realtors will agree that more often than not it indicates that they’re not entirely serious about selling their house.

  1. How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the home feature?

This question is obviously very straightforward. Do be sure though that when they tell you 3 bathrooms, that it is not really 2.5 or that a 5th bedroom is not a garage conversion or something.

  1. Does the home also feature a garage, basement, or pool?

Any such feature will, as you know, add to the sale value quite considerably. Also ask about conversions, finished basements, studios, and whether pools are in ground or above ground.

  1. If you were going to list your home with a realtor, are there any repairs and / or updating that would be needed in your opinion?

This question is not as prying as some of you may think. Many times if you just ask the seller what repairs it needs, they will just think of things that are broken or some way damaged. More often than not they do not think about the fact that the house is considerably outdated. In such instances, the idea is to have them realize that the house may be in good shape, but may also require a lot of updating and polishing.

  1. Why are you selling the house?

The big one. It goes without saying that this one requires some time and a great deal of open-ended questions and a whole lot of patient listening. This is where the motivation usually becomes apparent. Sometimes the seller will be hesitant and will only tell you they are moving. It’s perfectly alright to ask them why they are moving, and if they don’t want to answer that question that’s perfectly fine

  1. How much is owed on the house?

Some people are afraid to ask this question for fear the seller will not appreciate it. In their mind, it is like asking what hand they are holding at the poker table. That’s not it at all really. I just want to know if they owe too much for me to be able to buy the house. I don’t want to waste my time going to meet with them if there is no way I would be able to buy the house for what I would need to buy it for. The way to approach this question, is to just ask it like you did the question about how many bedrooms the house has. Don’t make a big deal out of it and they won’t. It’s rare that someone doesn’t tell me how much is owed. If they don’t, they are not likely motivated enough anyway.

  1. Is the house behind on payments?

The way this question is specifically worded is very much intentional with this one. We’re not asking, “Are you behind on the payments?” That would be overly nosy and inquisitive. Framing the question this way makes it a lot easier for people to be comfortable telling you the exact state of the home’s ownership to date. Of course, it also goes along the same lines as asking how much is owed and should be treated the same way.

  1. Is there an asking price you have in mind?

More specifically, what you’re gauging here is whether or not their asking price is in line with what comparable homes in the area are selling for. The realtors we spoke to related that the majority of the time it will NOT be. Now of course, the asking price is just the price they are hoping to get for the home, and often even they do not expect to get it. Still, this question gives you a good idea of the what type of client mindset you’ll be working with.

  1. How did you arrive at that original asking price?

This answer can vary immensely, but it nearly always gives you more of their motivation for selling. Take especial note here. Is there price in line with what similar homes in the area have been selling for? Is it much less, and if so that might indicate an over eagerness to move the home (which can be both opportunity and detriment from your perspective). Is it much more, which will of course indicate that the seller is not aware of current market values or is merely speculating on the value of the home.

  1. How soon are you hoping to close a deal with a buyer?

This is another motivation building question. If there is some urgency to it for them they will think about that while answering this question and will let you know that really just want it off their hands. If that’s the case, make it a priority to meet with these sellers ASAP!

  1. When can I come by to take a look at the house?

If your seller is motivated, then schedule an appointment with them at their earliest convenience. Do not say you will call them back to set up an appointment. In that instance, your seller may take you lackadaisical attitude as a put-off and take the initiative to reach out to another realtor on their own. Keep in mind that most sellers will only talk with 1-3 house buyers when calling investors to buy their house. You need to be one of those people.

  1. How did you hear about me?

Any good realtor worth his or her salt puts a lot of value into where their marketing dollars are best spent. This is valuable feedback to be sure! You can use the FREE lead manager/deal analyzer to keep track of your leads and marketing.

  1. What is the best way to contact you?

Last but certainly not least on our list here today. You really need to know how to contact the seller again. These days the majority of us take calls on handheld mobile devices with call display, but still – be sure you get that number and be even more sure by asking them if that’s the number where they would prefer to be contacted.

Feel free to add or subtract from this list of preliminary questions based on your own preliminary deductions about the client, and as always it’s extremely important to be courteous, polite, and especially accommodating at all times. Sign up for Real Estate Leads here and receive qualified online-generated buyer and seller leads for realtors delivered to you exclusively for your protected region of the country.

It’s a dynamite way to grow your real estate business, and you’ll be joining a large host of similarly minded realtors who are already on board.