How to identify between serious and non-serious buyers?

[] We list some of the signs that can help a real estate broker to identify genuine buyers from among the numerous home seekers who may inquire about a particular property

For a real estate agent, there is no data available nor is there any mechanism to know how many sales leads are serious buyers and how many are just ‘window shoppers’. “We work on luck by chance. At times, it so happens that throughout the month we spend time with around 50 potential buyers, only to find that they were not serious buyers. I do not really know how to assess who is a serious buyer and who is not. We have to serve with equal zeal to one and all and keep our fingers crossed,” says Gautam Pant, a broker.

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In many mature property markets of the world, where the broker can represent either the buyer or the seller, it is easier to differentiate between a serious buyer and a non-serious buyer. The reason is that a serious buyer comes after hiring an agent for the purpose of buying a house. This broker would shortlist the properties in that given market, negotiate on behalf of the buyer and do all the necessary paperwork. However, in India, where the same broker serves both, the buyers and the sellers, it is all the more challenging to ascertain who is a serious buyer. Most of the property seekers come through online leads, advertisement queries or walk-ins and the payment to the agent comes only when the deal is closed.

How to tell whether a buyer is serious

How to identify between serious and non-serious buyers?

The question, hence, is: Can there be a mechanism to spot the serious buyers, which could save time and effort for property agents? While a direct mechanism is not possible, some understanding of consumer psychology and the home buyers’ buying behavior, could definitely indicate who is a serious home buyer and who is not. In a country like India, asking for the buyer’s financial capability could be counter-productive, as well. Moreover, most of the home buyers do not come to the housing market with a pre-approved home loan, for the seller to assess his fiscal capacity. Furthermore, many buyers may also wish to make payments in cash.

A serious home buyer, however demanding or inquisitive, is an asset for a property agent. This is the kind of the buyer that takes a longer time but does not waste the time of the agent in the final cost and benefit analysis.

7 signs to identify a serious home buyer

Asking too many questions

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Dealing with a potential buyer who asks many questions, could be exhausting for the property agent. Getting into the details like ventilation in the property and for how much time one will get the sunlight in winters, might be time-consuming and taxing for the agent but is a clear indicator that the buyer has a genuine interest in the given property.

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Focus on livability

Genuine buyers are not just bothered about the given housing unit and the project but would also enquire about logistical challenges that define their livability in the property. Proximity to schools, hospitals, banks and ATMs, malls and transport connectivity might not be a property agent’s domain but this could clearly help to assess the interest level of the buyer.

Spending time at the site

A serious home buyer would definitely spend a good amount of time at the project site. It is often inconvenient for the agents, who have to serve multiple clients on that given day but it is advisable to spend an entire day with a potential buyer who has serious interest, rather than spending time with many others who may only be interested in taking a casual look at the property.

Visiting with one’s family

In India, a home purchase is, more often than not, a family decision. Serious home buyers, if not on the very first visit, generally come to the site with their families. A potential client with his/her family has far greater chances of buying the house than a visitor coming alone.

Analysis of hidden costs

A non-serious buyer may only inquire about the base selling price (BSP) and the overall amount being quoted for the given apartment. However, a serious client would get into the detailed break-up of the price quoted. He would also insist on asking whether there are any hidden charges or add-on financial liabilities with the house. He will go to the extent of calculating the monthly maintenance charges, club charges and other financial liabilities.

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Interior décor

Family discussions at the site, over where they could place television set or the sofa set, could indicate that the interest has reached the final level of negotiation.

Asking for value additions

Asking for additions like an air-conditioner (AC) or TV, might sound greedy on the part of the buyers. However, in today’s market, where the builders have to go the extra mile to attract home buyers, this is a positive indicator that could reflect that the deal is on the verge of closure.

In the final analysis, a broker must remember that the extra effort towards a client that rewards him in the end, is far more prudent than casual meetings with potential buyers who do not intend to proceed with the purchase.


How do you know a buyer is serious?

The best indicator that a home seeker intends to make a purchase, is when they have arranged for financing the property.

Does a property agent represent the buyer or seller?

In India, a property agent may represent both, the seller and the buyer and serves as a mediator between the two parties.

At what point can a buyer not pull out?

It is generally difficult for a buyer to pull out of a purchase, once the agreement has been signed.

(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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