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5 ways to handle tricky homebuyers

Most homebuyers are reasonable people. Of course, there are the odd unreasonable ones… Find out how to handle tricky buyers and ensure your sale goes through without dispute. Buying property is a big deal. It’s one of the most expensive acquisitions many people will ever make. So it’s only...

When selling your own home, you can deal with dozens of enquiries. And while this is generally a good thing, many of these enquiries will come from people with no genuine interest in buying. Maybe they’re selling property themselves and researching competition. Perhaps they’re property hobbyists or curious neighbours having a sticky beak. And the problem with these types of enquiries is they deflect your time and energy from the real buyers.

So, what are the major telltale signs of a genuine buyer?

They leave a digital footprint

If you’re selling your own home, your first point of contact with buyers is likely to be online. A genuine buyer will probably track your property from the first source they see it (maybe Facebook or Realestate.com.au) to a follow up enquiry by, for example, email. The longer their digital footprint (the more places you can see they’ve viewed or enquired about your property), the more interested they are in buying it.

They ask questions

Genuine buyers will want to know specific details about the condition of your home, the contract terms, whether renovations have been completed etc. Maybe your settlement terms don’t suit them, or they plan to extend and want to know of any building restrictions.

This is especially true if you’re holding open inspections as part of your selling process. Open inspections can attract dozens of viewers so you want to spot the genuine buyers early. And here’s a little tip, the people wandering through your property without raising a single question are probably just having a sticky beak.

They’ve arranged finance

Buyers aren’t in a true position to buy if they haven’t organised their finance. And the thing is, banks these days have tighter lending criteria making approval times and processes lengthier and more complicated. Buyers with their finance in place are ready and able to buy without delays, so if you find yourself torn between the two, you’ll know where to focus your attentions.

Overly negative

You know the tactic – you’ve probably even tried it yourself a few times when buying. You love a property, but naturally, you’re keen to secure it for the lowest price so you point out all its flaws to gain the upper hand during negotiations. The plain truth is, if a buyer isn’t interested, they won’t waste time pointing out flaws - they’ll quickly move onto the next property.

They’ll view more than once

For most buyers, buying property is one of the biggest financial transactions they’ll ever make. It’s not a decision they take lightly. And while some buyers are able to make snappy decisions on the spot, most buyers will want to view your property more than once before they can give it serious consideration.

They bring back up

When they do book another viewing, they often bring a friend or relative for a second opinion. Sometimes, they simply can’t contain their enthusiasm and want to show off their new find. Or, they have some genuine concerns they need trusted advice about. Some buyers even take the step of bringing along a buyer’s advocate; a licensed real estate professional hired to source and buy property. Whatever their reasons, bringing back up generally points to one thing – they’re keen.

They put an offer in writing

The thing about verbal offers is they tend to be unreliable and half-hearted. Buyers deciding between a few properties and not wanting to risk losing out may put in a few offers at the same time. If a buyer is truly committed to your property, they’ll give you an offer in writing.

It’s no longer about contract requests

When a buyer asks for a copy of your contract, it shifts them up a notch in terms of their level of interest, but it’s no longer a sure thing. Only a small percent of people requesting contracts these days turn out to be genuine buyers. There are many reasons buyers might request a contract - curiosity, convenience and to use as a comparison against other properties. Unfortunately, even if you get a stack of contract requests, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get an offer.

In a nutshell

When it comes to selling property, time is precious. Buyers can be fickle. And if you focus too much energy on the tyre kickers, it can make your sales process more time consuming and exhausting.

Of course, there are times when you focus your energy on the keenest buyer and the sale still falls through. We are all human, after all, and there is such a thing as buyer’s remorse - otherwise known as cold feet.

But if you pay close enough attention to your buyers’ behaviors, odds are you’ll quickly be able to filter out the tyre kickers from the ones with a genuine interest.

Has a buyer ever wasted your time before? How did they affect the sale of your property? What did you do about it?

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