By Regina P. Brown
So you found the perfect sellers. They want a valuation of their house. They say they are moving in the next 6 months. Hooray! You’re jumping for joy. But wait… is this really the perfect seller after all? Hmmm…
Have you ever spent months working to get a listing, only to have them cancel after the first month because they decide not to move? How about a seller who insists on pricing the property far above market value, and wastes your time for 6 months? Or worse, a property that can’t close escrow due to a seller lien or other title issues? That’s really a sour deal for everyone and a huge waste of time. It’s time to start qualifying real estate leads to prevent this.
Whether you found the ideal seller from your Home Value Leads web site, met them in person at an event, or were referred to them by a friend, you need to evaluate the quality of your lead. Before you expend a lot of time and energy, it’s best to classify your lead in the correct category.
The 3 things you need to know about your home seller leads to effectively screen and sort them are:
- Motivation Level
- Qualified – property, title, and loan
- Commitment Level
Home Seller’s Motivation Level
Determine their motivation level. That is a circumstance or situation forcing them to move. How do you gauge their motivation? You can do it quickly and easily on the phone, before you even go to their house for a listing appointment. When you ask, “how soon do you need to move, is it quickly, or do they say, “we’re not in any hurry”? Then ask, “what will happen if you don’t sell the house within the next 3 months?” That will give you a lot of insight into qualifying your real estate leads.
Home Seller’s Qualifications
Research the property and figure out if it is qualified. For example, is it a short sale with an impossibly difficult bank? Are there obvious liens or title defects that will hinder a smooth closing? One time I pulled the property profile before a listing appointment and discovered that the HOA had already foreclosed on the house! That was disappointing. Also, research the owners. Is the name on title the same as the lead name? Or is the property in a spouse’s name, a family trust, or a corporation? A few minutes of research can save you from spinning your wheels for months. You should also determine what the plan to do when they sell. If they won’t qualify for a mortgage yet they refuse to live in a rental, then it may be a lost cause. Qualifying real estate leads can help prevent a ton of work that will lead nowhere.
Home Seller’s Commitment
Are they committed to working with a Realtor® or do they plan to FSBO in an attempt to save money? Do they believe in the concept of hiring the best professional for the job? Are they extreme bargain hunters who plan to hire the agent with the lowest compensation fee? Have they already selected their nephew to represent them, but just want to pump you for information (such as market stats and property value)? Qualifying real estate leads with the right questions can yield surprising answers.
Depending on the 3 criteria above, you can qualify real estate leads as “Hot”, “Warm”, or “Cold”. Putting them into the correct category helps you determine which leads to work on right now, which to keep on the back burner for later, and which to decline. It will also help to prioritize your time when you are working with multiple clients and dedicate the most time to those who are the most likely to transact.