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Real Estate Buyer's Agents: The Art of Asking the Right Questions and LISTENING

Real Estate Agent with Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 228209

Real Estate Buyer's Agents: The Art of Asking the Right Questions and LISTENING

In the world of real estate, every interaction and piece of feedback can be a golden nugget of insight. Take, for example, a recent scenario where the showing feedback from an agent was blunt - "Buyer don’t know what she wants!" Grammar aside, this agent’s statement opens up a valuable conversation about the role of a buyer's agent. The retort from my client was spot on: "Client needs an agent that can ask the right questions to help her find what she wants."

Feedback Received on an UBER clean property that shows very nicely... 

Feedback above sent to my client's daughter in a text (who happened to be with her at the time). Just to be clear, I had just received an Offer on the property and was waiting on feedback from the agent who had shown tonight - just to be sure her client didn't have any interest too.

This exchange underscores a fundamental truth in real estate: a good buyer's agent is not just a guide, but a translator of dreams into reality. It's about digging deeper - beyond the surface-level desires - to unearth what the buyer truly seeks in a home. Let's explore how…

Ask the Right Questions

The cornerstone of any successful buyer-agent relationship is communication. Asking the right questions involves more than just ticking boxes for the number of bedrooms or proximity to schools. It's about understanding the lifestyle, future plans, and the nonnegotiables that may not be immediately apparent. Does the buyer envision entertaining (hosting large gatherings)? Is a home office a sanctuary for creativity or a hub for a bustling business? These nuanced details can make a big difference in how a buyer’s agent focuses in the search process for his/her clients.

Actively Listen 

Listening, truly listening, is an art form that the best agents master. It's about hearing what is not only said but, also what is unsaid; it’s about picking up on hesitations, and reading between the lines of wish lists. Active listening enables an agent to align with his/her client's vision and adjust the course as the client's needs evolve during the search.

Empower the Buyer

Education is empowerment. A knowledgeable agent demystifies the buying process, from understanding market trends to navigating the complexities of offers and negotiations. This empowerment helps buyers make informed decisions with confidence, reducing stress and building trust.

Patience and Persistence

The perfect property is likely not going to be the first one you visit, or possibly even the fifth…or tenth one. Patience is a virtue in real estate, both for agents and buyers. Persistence in searching, coupled with strategic adjustments based on feedback and evolving preferences, often leads to the moment when a buyer walks into a property and just knows it's the right one.

In the scenario mentioned, the underlying message is clear: a buyer's journey is as unique as their dreams. As agents, our role is to be the compass that navigates this journey with empathy, skill, and unwavering support. By asking the right questions, actively listening, empowering our clients and demonstrating patience and persistence, we don't just find properties; we find homes.  

Remember, the best property for a buyer is one that resonates with their heart, not just their list of requirements. Let's be the agents who make that connection happen.

In real estate, every day is an opportunity to turn dreams into addresses. Let's embrace that gift we are given being in this profession, with the professionalism, positivity and passion that makes this journey rewarding for everyone involved. 

© Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | Savvy + Company | SavvyBroker@me.com |  Real Estate Buyer's Agents: The Art of Asking the Right Questions and LISTENING

Comments (14)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Debe - asking questions is good.  Better questions can lead to a connection.  And that can make a big difference in real estate.  As to the issue of feedback - I think that can be problematic at times.  It definitely is a bigger discussion.  That said, it can be a start for something.  

Feb 23, 2024 08:57 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, it truly does make a world of difference, Michael Jacobs. As for the feedback - sellers expect it and having sold homes myself over the years, I understand the 'anticipation' for the feedback. Sellers feel they have opened up their homes to allow the buyers to tour - the least they can do is provide a little feedback - heck, even a sentence is gratifying when you're a seller!

Feb 24, 2024 10:10 AM
Michael Jacobs

Debe Maxwell, CRS - I understand that too.  Setting seller (and buyer) expectations is so important.  While feedback can sometimes be informative, it is mandatory or even useful.  It's almost like a drive by comment we read on AR.  It's overpriced or needs updating, blah - blah - blah.  

And then there are agents who think they are protecting their clients' interests by not sharing too much.  It is difficult to be a buyer, seller or even a practitioner --- it's not something that comes through on reality television.  But we certainly experience seeing it "all" in everyday life.  

Feb 25, 2024 02:43 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Great message not only does the buyer's agent need to listen to the client but should do the same with the listing agent.... when the listing agent shares something with the buyer's agent that should be beneficial to potentially getting the property for the buyer, Endre

Feb 23, 2024 09:59 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, and don't even get me started on the agent conversations, Endre Barath, Jr.! Why on EARTH do they not pass along our conversations?

Feb 24, 2024 10:10 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

It's difficult to even get feedback these days, so I am very appreciative when I get solid feedback from an agent who has shown one of my listings!

Feb 24, 2024 04:45 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Right?! Anything will do - just a short sentence makes the sellers feel so much better, Brian England!

Feb 24, 2024 10:12 AM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Asking the right questions and listening to the answers is key. Sometimes an agent might find out the buyer just isn't really ready to purchase.

Feb 24, 2024 05:00 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I think that's one of THE most important things we do, Kat Palmiotti. I do see why some clients stray from their agents as a result of poor communication.

Feb 24, 2024 10:13 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Debe. Until you learn to ask the right questions you are unable to chart a path. And, once you do ask the right questions you must develop your listening skills. There is always room for improvement in both categories. Enjoy your day.

Feb 24, 2024 05:13 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

BINGO, Wayne Martin - both require constant tweaking as the world around us is constantly changing. 

Feb 24, 2024 10:16 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Debe,

This is so funny! Asking the right questions and probing until one has a clear picture of a buyers wants, needs and desires is so important to help them find a home. Sometimes they may not know exactly what they want but finding a community they feel comfortable with and can see themselves living in is beneficial. We have to help them make a connection with a community and a home...it's like a puzzle...all the pieces have to fit!

Feb 24, 2024 05:16 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You are SO right, Dorie Dillard Austin TX! I agree that narrowing it down to neighborhoods is critical. Most agents just do a general search and hope that one hits in the top choice(s) of neighborhoods. It's extremely confusing to our clients when we do that 'general' thing!!

Feb 24, 2024 10:18 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Debe,
Asking questions is critical. After each showing, I would ask buyers what they liked about a property and what they didn't. That helped me hone in on what they really wanted for additional showings. Listening saves a lot of time looking at properties that just won't be acceptable.

Feb 24, 2024 05:19 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Me too, Carol Williams!! I have them rank them 0 to 10 and make lots of notes on each MLS print-out. Pros/Cons, etc. and we also name the house...it's a 'fun' thing for them to do and an easy way to remember what house they're talking about later too! 

I recently took old clients out to find a home for their daughter. They asked me if I had seen that the "Cinderella House" had just sold again in their neighborhood!! Of COURSE I remembered that house and don't currently have a client looking in their neighborhood and hadn't seen that. Had I seen it, I would have sent the wife a text to ask her if she remembered!! LOL

Feb 24, 2024 10:22 AM
Carol Williams

Debe Maxwell, CRS 
Naming the house reminds me of Home Town, the show with Ben and Erin Napier. Do you watch that show?

Feb 25, 2024 05:08 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

Thanks for sharing, make it a great Saturday and enjoy your


Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Feb 24, 2024 05:29 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Thank you and have a great weekend, Bill Salvatore - East Valley.

Feb 24, 2024 10:22 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

And that agent puts if forward as though they could do very little to help. In a market this tight asking questions is the only way to help.  

Feb 24, 2024 06:44 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

And, as you noted, there are other things that she could have done to avoid getting in this situation, Ed Silva, 203-206-0754.

Feb 24, 2024 10:23 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Debe, for sharing your experience and advice.

I posted this blog on X.

Feb 24, 2024 08:22 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

You're welcome and thank YOU for sharing on X, Roy Kelley.

Feb 24, 2024 10:23 AM
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hello Debe Maxwell, CRS, this is a funny one. I don't pay that much attention to the feedback, some make no sense at all and this fits into that category. This agent didn't ask fact-finding questions, and will hopefully find out after showing dozens of homes. Congratulations on the well deserved feature!

Feb 24, 2024 09:37 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

SO true, Beth Atalay but, sometimes just a short comment helps make the sellers feel better about having left their home so the buyer can tour. Sometimes the feedback is helpful to me when I'm shared that we should reduce the price and the seller sees that someone else says that the price is too high in the feedback.

Feb 24, 2024 10:25 AM
Beth Atalay

Debe Maxwell, CRS, I completely agree, an honest feedback does help the sellers in a great way, but them, there are those like the one you received.

Feb 24, 2024 10:39 AM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse Advisor

In most cases, I can break through that barrier when a buyer doesn't know what they want but it will still depend on where the buyer is in the process. Last year i received a buyer lead, I was asking the right questions- but it was clear that this buyer wasn't interested in answering my questions, instead insisting he will know it when he sees it. That's fine, but not someone I can invest my time with. 

Feb 24, 2024 12:35 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

Oh, that's an excellent point, Adam Feinberg! The entire reason we ask the questions we do is to streamline the process for them. They're wasting their time (and ours) when they just look "willy-nilly" at properties, hoping to find the right one! 

Feb 25, 2024 07:18 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Debe the first 4 very short answers to the questions above says a lot to me.  Maybe the problem is the Buyers don't know what they want, but that the agent isn't listening to what they want.

Feb 24, 2024 01:19 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

I agree and I thought it was quite observant of my client to notice that too, George Souto!

Feb 25, 2024 07:19 PM
J Perrin Cornell
Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate - Wenatchee, WA

Too many agents aretrying to sell rather than listening to motivation, family, dreams etc FORD. Check it out 

Feb 25, 2024 06:10 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS

YES! You're spot-on, J Perrin Cornell! FORDing definitely works when home shopping too!

Feb 25, 2024 07:19 PM