The types of homebuyers and which are most important to you

BY KAREN LIBIN, KL REALTY

When you’re selling your house, all potential buyers are important. But I have discovered in my years of experience that all homebuyers are not equal; there are very different types. They are motivated in different ways and go about the buying process differently. Knowing this ahead of time may affect how you choose a Realtor to sell your home. And when you ultimately get to the offer stage, it may determine with whom you decide to go under contract. Roughly, I would classify homebuyers in three categories:

Very serious buyers—These are buyers that have to move. For instance, they may be moving here from out of town to start a new job. These buyers almost always hire a Realtor right away and want to buy a house and move within a tight timeframe, such as before school starts. They are super busy (selling their current home) and rely on their Realtor to comb the area and summarize the best possibilities. These buyers are motivated to close and are more likely to be amiable during negotiations; they want to check “Buy house” off their To Do list.

Pretty serious buyers—These are buyers who are actively looking for a new home and want to move, although they don’t have to do so. For instance, they have grown out of their current home and are itching for a bigger place. They are regularly combing the newspaper’s real estate section and the internet, and going to open houses. But they’re waiting for the perfect house.

They also may hire a Realtor early in the process especially one who has ties to a specific area and may know about properties before they go on the market. This is something that fairly often occurs in our still (relatively) small town: Realtor A will call Realtor B and say, “If a house like this comes up, call me. I have a potential buyer.” Thus before a Realtor B even puts a new client’s house on the market, he/she will first contact Realtor A and see where that goes. If it seems like sometimes houses change hands without a For Sale sign being planted in the yard, it’s because they do.

Casual buyers—These are buyers who don’t have an urgent need to move but may some day want to do so. These buyers have certain homes, streets or neighborhoods they’ve always admired. They may incidentally find a home by seeing the newspaper’s real estate section, a For Sale sign or an open house and decide to explore things further. Or, they may say to a realtor they’re worked with before, “If you ever hear about this house possibly going on the market, let me know.” These buyers are less motivated to close the deal; if something goes wrong in the offer contract process, the inspection or the inspection negotiation, they are less likely to try to work things out than “very serious buyers.”

As you would guess, “very serious buyers” and “pretty serious buyers” make up the vast majority of homebuyers and are the more motivated buyers, while “casual buyers” represent a smaller minority and are not as driven. However, in all cases having a Realtor with great negotiating skills and with connections to the area and other local Realtors is imperative — and your fastest way to adding “Sold” to your “For Sale” sign.

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