Six Questions to Help Determine Seller Motivation

Six Questions to Help Determine Seller Motivation

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In Mexico, it is considered impolite to rush a business transaction. You sit down with a buyer or seller and first ask about their health and then you ask about their family. It is just rude not to observe this custom. In the U.S. we don’t want to waste time. We want to get to the bottom line quickly.  Wasting too much time on one deal can directly cause you to miss out on a future opportunity. When you as a homeowner call a real estate investor or agent asking about selling your house, they will want to qualify you right away. They want to know if you are a serious seller or a time waster. Here are six questions to help determine seller motivation

Every homeowner has some idea of what they want to do prior to talking with you. When you approach a homeowner, you want to pull this information out in a clear, concise way and find out quickly if a homeowner is only lukewarm about selling or serious. Asking the right questions and listening to the answers can help you avoid wasting your most valuable business commodity-time. Here are six questions you should ask to help discover seller motivation.

What Are Your Goals for The Transaction? 

Regardless of how you ask them it is important that you leave the conversation with enough information to let you know where you stand. The first important question you need to ask is what their goals are for the transaction. Every seller is motivated by something unique to them. Some want to sell because they are facing foreclosure, others want to sell for the highest amount, still others just inherited a house and want to settle the estate. Whatever the reason is you need to find it out in the initial conversation.

Why Are You Considering Selling at This Time?

The goals and the motivation are usually one in the same however that is not always the case. Why is a seller thinking about selling right now? There are many sellers who simply want to kick the tires without ever moving forward. If you ask them why, they will tell you if there are facing a foreclosure, a relocation, divorce or some other time sensitive event. Knowing why they want to sell gives you some insight on their motivation, and that gives you a better idea of whether they are really serious about selling.

What Are Your Total Mortgages and Amounts? 

For whatever reason, many homeowners aren’t on top of their mortgage situation and total amounts owed. As you try to establish what the homeowner owes it is important that you ask for all information on every mortgage or item on title. A homeowner may not recognize a home equity line of credit as a mortgage but it needs to be factored into the total amount owed.

What Is the Estimated Home Value?

It is ok to come right out and ask them what their home is worth. The follow up question should be what is that value based on. They may have done some work a few years ago or simply saw a home for sale the next street over. If their value is out of whack you can show them supporting documenting closer to your number. Without knowledge of what they are thinking you may waste time with a seller who has an unrealistic view of their home.

What Is Your Ideal Timeframe?

It is ok to ask the seller if they were given an offer they liked when they would want the transaction to happen. If their answer is not anytime soon you may need to adjust your thinking with the property.

What Is Your Best Case Scenario Sales Price?

What a homeowner thinks their home is worth may not be what they think it would sell for. I recall a time when I asked the homeowner this question and I got a price that was based on what they wanted as cash in hand after all mortgages were settled. Ask if they have a best-case scenario sales price. If their number is too high you may need to get them back to reality. If they have expectations of getting cash from the closing without equity you need tell them realistically what they should expect. The more information you have the easier it is to proceed.

These six questions you should ask in every new homeowner meeting. Once you discover seller motivation the rest of the transaction will fall into place.

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