As a real estate professional, there are certain questions at the beginning of any client relationship that must be addressed right off the bat. Not only does this allow you to get to know your clients and identify their real estate needs, but it also enables you to provide the best possible service to them. Some professionals have a standard, introductory questionnaire that they fill out while asking their clients pertinent questions about their real estate goals. Others maintain a detailed file on each client that they can quickly and conveniently review as needed. Regardless of what your personal system may be for client organization and satisfaction, here are six universal questions that every real estate professional must determine when meeting with a new prospect:
1. Is your goal to upgrade, downsize or remain stable? One of the most important questions, this will help when prospecting potential homes for your buyers as well give you insight into their real estate goals. Are they moving up the ladder and/or expanding their family? Are they "empty nesters" seeking less upkeep and maintenance? Or are they simply relocating into a comparable home?
2. What are your short term and long term real estate goals? This will help you determine how long they plan to stay in their new home. Perhaps their career requires frequent relocation or they are hoping to turn a quick profit. Conversely, maybe they're seeking a home to settle into for a while or are investing in a property as a long-term rental.
3. Which is more important, when it comes to your transaction - Price or promptness? Of course both are equal parts essential, but this will give you good insight as to their urgency. Does their situation mean that they need to find something suitable quickly, or are they looking forward to taking their time with the sale and/or purchase? If buying, is their budget firm or are they willing to pay a bit more for something that meets all of their criteria of an ideal property? If selling, do they have some room to haggle on the sale price or are they unwilling to budge?
4. What have you liked and disliked about real estate professionals that you've done business with in the past? Without letting them delve too deeply into specifics, this is a good general question to ask. It will allow them to set their expectations in the beginning as well as give you some understanding into what they may appreciate and what they dislike.
5. If selling, what are your home's greatest strengths and weaknesses? By having your client consider their home as a potential buyer, it will help prepare them for questions or concerns that a real potential buyer may have down the line. Typically, homeowners are usually aware of the good, marketable characteristics of their property as well as what may be a deterrent for some. This will also give you early insight into any potential issues with the home.
6. If buying, what are the most important characteristics in a home for you? Again, there are likely many characteristics, such as location, price and condition, that are all equally important for the buyer to take into consideration - However, knowing what the imperative "must-haves" are will better aid you in prospecting and scouting potential homes for your client. Are they willing to sway on price if it means being in a specific location? Are they open to a few different areas so long as the home is in move-in condition and priced below a certain figure?
As you can see, there are a handful of important questions to ask your clients at your first meeting. This will help you gauge their wants and needs, so that you can assist them in the most seamless real estate transaction possible. As a longtime Real Estate Virtual Assistant team, we know that there are many different types of situations and transactions and that clients are oftentimes as unique as the industry itself! However, proactivity is key in any business and our team looks forward to helping our clients throughout the United States with their Real Estate Virtual Assistant needs.