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Finding the best house buyers

How do you find the best house buyers? If your advertising is aimed at the right audience you should be attracting buyers looking for a home like yours. As well as finding out who is a serious potential buyer there is a more general need about being careful whom you invite into your home. Therefore you need to qualify potential buyers.

You want to sell your house quickly. So how do you identify the best house buyers - those that can meet your timetable and can afford your property?

Finding the best house buyers..means research

A bit of discipline and organisation is needed to find the best house buyers. This means doing your homework. Property professionals whether buying or selling will tend to use checklists and forms for this purpose. You should follow their lead and write out an ‘enquiry form’ to help you qualify potential buyers. This will allow you to weed out the timewasters from the best house buyers.

As your initial conversations with prospective house buyers will be on the phone some of these questions are aimed more at building rapport. Others may seem instrusive, almost embaressing. But never lose sight of your need to find the best house buyers. Remember house buyers expect these questions from mortgage brokers and estate agents. So a genuine buyer is unlikely to be put-off. Infact, you may well reassure them you're serious about selling your home!

Using a checklist to find the best house buyers

You don't need to slavishly follow our example below but your form should aim to cover the issues on our "best house buyers" checklist:

√ The type of property they are looking for
This is a good point in the conversation to ask them about how their house search is going and how many viewings they have done. This will give you a feel for what they are looking for better than if you’d asked the question directly. You can ask them what their ‘must haves’ are and what initial questions they have for you.

√ The kind of area they are looking to move to
If they don't live locally (most will) ask them what they know of the area. Then paint them a picture backed up by additional research if necessary. For example, a couple with no children selling a family home should do some additional research on local schools and their performance. This will also help you build empathy with your buyers.

√ Ask them where they heard about your house
If your marketing is using a number of techniques ask the potential buyer where they saw your advert or leaflet. This will give you an idea of what techniques are attracting buyers.

√ Their full contact details
You’ll want their full address as well as their home and work contact details. An email address is always helpful.

√ Their current situation
This is a critical area to explore when trying to weed out unsuitable buyers. You need to find out whether they have a home to sell and if so how far this sale has progressed. If they say their home is sold ask them to bring the relevant documentation relating to their house sale. Here 'best house buyer' means finding a buyer with circumstances which complement yours.

√ How quickly they want to move
Find out the nature of their chain, any external pressures such as school or job changes and get an idea of their timescales.

√ Their financial position and their budget
Normally a buyer is qualified by an estate agent and non cash buyers will have a relationship with a broker who may or may not be linked to their estate agent.You need to assess the financial situation of potential buyers. Otherwise you'll never find the best house buyers. This area is probably the most important to explore when selling your house quickly. It's also out of most people's exerience so we've devoted a whole section to it. And asked for specialist help so you can identify the best house buyers, familiar with both the financing of businesses and personal mortgages. We think this gives them an edge. Ho-hum-run-of-the-mill help is NOT what you need.

Identifying the best house buyers - money talks

This is where you need to be very professional in your dealings with house buyers. Think like a broker. Nikki MacEwan, who runs companies Think Commercial, and Mortgage and Insurance Solutions also recommends you don't shy away from money issues, ” Don’t be afraid to ask potential buyers about their financial situation. Most sellers feel anxious about this. But I promise that you will be saving yourself lots of wasted time and effort – the last thing you need if you’re looking for a quick house sale.”

So you're going to have to get comfortable with the idea of talking to buyers about their finances. There is just no way round it. Nikki recommends making a list of specific questions, and suggests the following as a starter:

√ Do you need to arrange a mortgage to buy my house?
If your prospective buyer needs to arrange a mortgage it need not mean a slow sale as lenders vary in how long they take to arrange the paperwork. It might be more important to find a chain free buyer.

√ Have you got a mortgage agreed in principle from your lender?
If your looking for a quick sale, and have advertised your property as such, then it can be a little dispiriting to find that your prospective buyers have not even started speaking to lenders. The best house buyers don't do this!

√ Who is your lender and how quickly can they turnaround the paperwork?
Also ask your prospective buyer how long it will be before their lender instructs a survey. Always ask to see proof of an approved mortgage by way of a letter from their mortgage company or from their mortgage adviser. Propective buyers may need to refer back to their mortgage broker for guidance on timing.

√ How much do they need to borrow?
If you can bring yourself to ask this question and your prospective buyer answers it truthfully, it can forewarn you of any potential problems i.e. if they need to borrow 100% of the value of your property. Why? Well if the lender’s valuer happens to disagree with your valuation, say it falls short by just £5,000, you know that there is no room for negotiation as the lender will only lend them 100% of the lender's valuation.

Where does that leave you? Well in these circumstances you would have two options: either you drop your price by £5,000 or tell your prospective buyers that they need to find £5,000 to make up the shortfall.

Beware of accepting an offer from someone who does not have finance approved. It can easily take up to two weeks to get approval depending on their circumstances. If you do, then you may find after two weeks they are unable to borrow the amount needed to buy your property. This means you have effectively wasted two weeks marketing time – unless you have continued to show your property to prospective buyers.

Other buyers are always wary of buying a house when a sale has fallen through as they often assume that something terrible must have come to light when the property was surveyed!

If you have any questions about a prospective buyer’s financial circumstances then do ask Nikki. Finding the best house buyers is something of a minefield - especially when good properties are in short supply (as is the case at the moment where we live). Nikki is happy to field your questions and won’t try to sell you a mortgage in the process! For example, if your buyer says they have a 100% mortgage from the Abbey National then Nikki could immediately confirm that the Abbey National doesn't offer this kind of mortgage. Nikki can be contacted on 01794 521 752.

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