Pre-qualifying buyers is an important element of making sure a buyer is serious. None of us want to waste our time with buyers who aren’t pre-qualified, because we aren’t sure if they will even be able to buy a home they pick out.
Worse than that, of course, are people who know they are looking out of their league, much like someone that asks to test drive a Maserati when they have nowhere near the funds to buy it. Did you know I’ve actually seen lists of low-cost date ideas that suggest you should go to an expensive open house just for fun?
Unfortunately, buyers aren’t always interested in respecting our time and business. If we want them to pre-qualify before showings, we need to explain it terms that matter to the buyer. Start with requiring a pre-qualification before you show homes, and explain why in these three ways.
A Pre-Qualification Is Required for Agent Safety
We’ve all heard the horror stories, so share them with your potential lookey-loos. Spare no detail to express the gravity of the situation. Explain that you require a pre-qualification in order to assure your own safety.
You can let them know that a pre-qualification isn’t just about money, it’s about identifying the person who’s browsing with enough detail that should anything go wrong, they will quickly be found. Tell them that potential criminals would never agree to a pre-qualification, and that it’s a major deterrent.
Point out that you know a lender who can help them get pre-qualified and it will take 20 minutes. If they refuse, apologetically and respectfully let them know there will be no showings.
A Pre-Qualification Ensures We Find the Right Home
Let buyers know that it’s not uncommon for someone to be wrong about the mortgage they qualify for. Focus this one on the positive – they may be able to afford more home than they think!! Explain that the pre-qualification policy ensures that you help the buyer look in the best neighborhoods. And by the way, you know someone who can help them out in 15 minutes. Would Tuesday or Wednesday work best?
By going into detail about some amazing listings you know about just above their price-point, you can get them salivating about a home they may be able to view – if they pre-qualify. As an added bonus, it encourages the buyer to think about a bigger home in a better neighborhood, which benefits you as well as them and their family.
Explain that you want to honor their time by showing them the best homes in the best areas, and you can only do that with a pre-qualification letter.
A Pre-Qualification Ensures a Quicker Offer Acceptance
Many sellers won’t be quick to accept a non-qualified offer. In a multiple offer situation, this will generally mean that your buyer will get skipped in favor of a different offer. It can also mean that a seller won’t accept as much of a drop on the price, because they aren’t motivated to work with your buyer.
When you explain these realities to a potential buyer, you can express that pre-qualification in their best interest. You are in a better buying position, especially for sellers who want to avoid specific types of financing. Or, if your buyer plans to use a non-conventional loan, let them know that a pre-qualification will help that financing be more readily accepted.
There’s a finesse to describing this in a way that is respectful and uplifting to the buyer, and I find that a “I’m just telling you the reality of how it is,” attitude is the best approach. They will trust you when they know you’ll give them the whole story.
In the end, Realtors® need to insist on pre-qualification before they show homes. It protects your time, helps protect your safety, ensures that you show a buyer appropriate homes, and ensures a quicker offer acceptance. When you describe your pre-qualification requirement in a way that makes sense to the buyer and appeals to their self-interest, you’ll have much less trouble getting them to agree.
How do you explain pre-qualification to your buyers? Share in the comments!