As a seller, it’s important to find out as much as you can about potential buyers before entering into negotiations. By qualifying buyers ahead of time, you can avoid wasting time and energy on buyers who are not serious about purchasing your home.
It also helps to establish a process when it comes to qualifying potential buyers. This way, you can easily compare and contrast different buyers to see who is the best fit for your home. It can also save you time and effort instead of winging it with each individual buyer.
The steps below outline a general process you can use to qualify potential buyers when selling your house:
Table of Contents
Draw Up an Application Form
Consider this your first filter, so make sure the application form is thorough. It should ask for basic information like name, contact information, and employment history. You can also include questions about their current living situation, their reasons for wanting to buy a house, and their expected timeline for purchasing.
You can make the form as long or as short as you like, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with. You may even want to consult with a specialist from a Colorado Springs property management company to see what they recommend including on the form.
It’s also a smart idea to have a real estate lawyer look over the form to make sure it’s in accordance with your state’s laws. Have the application form available online, plus print out copies to keep on hand.
Conduct a Phone Screening
Once you’ve received applications from interested buyers, it’s time to start winnowing down the field. Begin by conducting a phone screening with each potential buyer. This is a brief conversation – usually about 15 minutes – where you can ask them questions about their application and get a better sense of who they are.
Some things you may want to ask during the phone screening include:
- Why are they interested in purchasing a house at this time?
- What is their employment situation like?
- Do they have any pets?
- How many people would be living in the house?
- What is their estimated budget for a house?
- Do they have a mortgage pre-approval?
- Have they been through the home buying process before?
Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions during the phone screening. This is your chance to get to know the potential buyer and see if they would be a good fit for your home.
If everything goes well during the phone screening, you can move on to the next step: scheduling a showing.
Schedule a Showing
Now it’s time to show the house! When scheduling a showing, make sure to pick a date and time that works for both you and the potential buyer. It’s also a good idea to have someone else present during the showing – like a friend or family member – for safety reasons.
During the showing, answer any questions the potential buyer has about the house honestly. They may also ask about your motivation for selling, so be prepared to talk about that as well.
Perform Due Diligence
You can never be too careful when it comes to choosing who to sell your home to. After the showing, it’s important to perform due diligence on the potential buyer. This includes running a background check and checking their financial history. Check the following as well:
- Employment History: Verify that the potential buyer is employed by checking with their employer. You can also ask for pay stubs or tax returns as proof of employment.
- Credit Score: A good credit score is an indicator that the potential buyer will be able to pay their mortgage on time.
- Background Check: Run a criminal background check on the potential buyer to make sure they don’t have any red flags in the past.
You’ll also want to look them up online to see if there’s anything else you should know about them. A simple Google search can turn up a lot of information, as is searching for their name on various social media platforms. You may be surprised at how much you can learn about someone online.
Mistakes to Avoid When Qualifying Potential Home Buyers
Qualifying potential home buyers is a crucial step in the selling process, but it’s also one that can be fraught with peril. Avoid making these mistakes when qualifying buyers, and you’ll be in good shape.
- Not asking for proof of employment
- Skipping the credit check
- Relying on verbal assurances
- Entertaining everyone who shows interest
- Forgetting about background checks
Remember, once you sign those papers, there’s no going back. So the more careful you are when qualifying potential home buyers, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Selling your home is more than just getting as much money as you can upfront. You want to make sure you’re selling to the right person – someone who will be able to follow through on their promise to buy your home and take good care of it.
Because of this, the process of qualifying potential home buyers may seem daunting, but it’s important to take your time and be thorough. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road.