Kirsty McLuckie on spotting serious viewers when selling a property


Having decluttered to within an inch of your life, roasted coffee, baked bread and artfully arranged floral displays – if you are keen to sell quickly, it is agonizing trying to determine which of your viewers is interested in submitting an offer.

A good estate agent will get feedback from them to help here, but there are ways to spot which potential buyers are serious – and which may have taken agin the moment they stepped through the door – during the viewing.

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Firstly, the time taken to do the tour is important. Tzana Webster, director of property sales at Watermans, says: “If a buyer lingers inside your property for an extended period of time, they probably like what they see.”

Image: Svitlana – stock.adobe.com

“Bear in mind that most people will have been on several viewings already, and will have developed a specific idea of ​​what works for them and what doesn’t. They won’t prolong their visit if the house doesn’t tick the right boxes.”

She estimates the average time for a promising viewing on a flat is 15 to 20 minutes, and for a house, 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size.

If someone is in and out of the sale property in the blink of an eye, it’s safe to assume that their interest remained unpiqued.

Behavior is another indicator. Webster asks: “Are they roaming around the house at a very calm pace? Do they keep going back into the same room multiple times? If so, they are likely to be tempted by what’s on offer.”

Also check for other non-verbal clues. Body language experts suggest that subtle indications, such as the subject rubbing their hands together or coming closer to you when you are talking, can point towards a buying intent.

It can be even more telling if a couple is touring your house, as they will be more than likely to be swapping non-verbal clues. If they smile and stand close to each other, they may be excited about what they have just seen.

Not all clues require such close scrutiny. Serious buyers ask about neighbors, local amenities, transport links, and nearby schools.

Asking about other offers is always a positive tell-tale sign. If young buyers ask to return with their parents, then that can be considered a thumbs up.

Slight criticisms can feel disheartening, but the reality is that people would not focus on minor details if they were not interested, they’d just move on.

Asking about move-in dates is another good sign, as when they see the right property, many people cannot wait until they are back outside to start making plans.

Not everyone has a poker face, so check the viewer’s demeanor as they leave – are they skipping down the path, punching the air?

Perhaps the best indicator is when viewers start imagining their lives and possessions in your home. While you may not get people measuring up for their grand piano on the first viewing, discussing whether their furniture will fit or if there is a possibility to knock-through means that they are envisioning life in your house.

And if you can get your kids to argue over bedrooms, you are definitely on the home straight.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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