Signs of a Serious Home Buyer

August 17, 2023
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It’s always exciting when offers roll in when your house is on the market. You put a whole bunch of work into making it something worth investing in before you listed it, and finally seeing the effort pay off is great. But how do you know when a home buyer is serious about their offer, and which ones are merely wandering into the realm of real estate without any real intention? You want to sell your house quickly, but you also want to be careful and make sure you’re not getting scammed. You might be wondering about the red flags that pop up, and how to recognize someone who’s serious in what they’re promising you. 

Consider these factors when vetting offers from potential, serious buyers.

A Realtor or a Real Estate Agent

Since you’ve already invested a lot of time into listing your house, you might already be aware of this, but reminders never hurt. The difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent lies in that Realtors are real estate agents who are actives member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which means you can trust that they are generally held to a higher standard of professionalism. Realtors and real estate agents are professionals in the industry who mediate communication between all parties.

If the other party doesn’t have a real estate agent themselves, that’s another detail worth considering. A home can be one of the biggest assets anyone in this country could buy or sell, and if a buyer, who generally does not have to pay the fee, does not get a real estate agent, it could be a big red flag that this person is not completely serious in their offer. They might just be putting their feet in the restless waters of the housing market, and be cruising through their beginning options before actually getting started. A serious buyer will have a serious market mentality.

The bottom line is to get a professional that you can trust, and who you know will have your best interests at heart when securing a deal.

Enthusiasm, or Lack Thereof

In this market, enthusiasm on the seller and buyer’s end is imperative. If there is a lack of transparency on their end, their offer, or if they’re too slow to keep you in the know, then that’s also a good indicator that they’re not completely serious about buying your home. Slowness can be a signal of a lack of enthusiasm. Your real estate professional can likely figure out through the prospective buyer’s willingness to talk to them about their offer how likely of a serious buyer they are or are not. 

Also, keep in mind if this is a singular person buying a family-sized home or something smaller. Generally, if a family is looking to move to a new place or invest in a new home, more than one person will visit the property. This can mean spouses or children often tag along, as prospective buyers and decision-makers. This is a good sign because it can mean that your house is a matter of serious consideration on their end, and they’re willing to make the trip back and forth to finalize their decision.

Enthusiasm can also be determined through the number of questions and the type of questions they are asking about the property. This can indicate that they are well in the buying process, and they’ll be more communicative and decisive with you, the seller. They’re looking at your home through their eyes, and visualizing their future experience in it, which implies genuine intent and can be a green flag to find in a prospective buyer.

Pricing and Finances

As the buyers begin to trickle in, consider the offers you receive. If you feel like you’re being seriously undercut on your price, there’s a good chance that the offer wasn’t serious. A serious home buyer will come to the table ready to negotiate realistically and make a strong offer you can’t refuse. It’s always your prerogative to converse with any prospective buyers, but the most motivated and interested buyers will not go too low with their first offers.

You might also discount an offer from a family that has more financial problems than you’re comfortable with, such as a low credit score, or an inability to prove that they can back up the financial decision they are making.

Proof for these things often involve pre-approval papers and documents that signal they have gone through thorough preparation. Most prospective buyers who are putting out legitimate offers will likely have their mortgage pre-approval papers ready. It is a document from the lender stating that the buyer has been qualified for the loan, implying that they are ready to pay whatever they are putting on the table. This signals a real offer, because the buyers already know that they can finance the decision they come to and have come to prove it to you.

Overall, recognizing honest intent in prospective buyers can be tricky, but it is never impossible. Look for the right indications of determination, and steer clear of wavering minds indicating a lack of preparation, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your house off the market as soon as possible. Good luck!


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