Qualifying a buyer means much more than making sure they earn enough money to afford the monthly payment. Ever worked with a buyer, shown them several homes that were just like they described and they didn’t make an offer? Then in your follow up call they tell you they have purchased a different home with another broker. Devastating!! Then they tell you that the home they purchased had 4 bedrooms when they had insisted they only wanted 3. The home they purchased had a 2 car garage when they insisted they needed a 3 car garage. They purchased a home on a half acre when they told you they wanted a small yard. Confusing?
Many times the problem lies in the qualification. Not financial qualification but qualification of motivation and desire. When you ask them how many bedrooms they need, for instance, and they may say 4. Then you begin your search for 4 bedrooms. However, a better way to ask is, “How many SLEEPING rooms do you need?” People use bedrooms for other things than sleeping such as a sewing room, gym, office, den, etc. You may be really looking for a 3 bedroom with an office or den instead of a 4 bedroom. They tell you they want a 3 car garage. Ask them how many cars they will be parking in the garages. Seems like a stupid question but they may say, “We only have 2 cars and I want to use the 3rd space as a workshop.” You should then also search for homes with a 2 car garage that have a separate workshop.
I was once told about an agent who was working with a buyer from out of state. The buyer told the agent that he wanted a home with a small lot. After showing him several homes with a small lot (around 5,000 square feet. 7,500 square feet was a large lot in the area) the buyer inquired “Why are you showing me these homes on postage stamp sized yards?” As it turned out, he had just sold his home in another state which was on 30 acres! He was looking for a small lot around 3 acres.
Good, bad, nice, small are all descriptive adjectives that mean different things to different people. Don’t take what buyers tell you at face value. Qualify and question them about specifics and you may get a totally different picture of their wants and needs.