Homebuyer interest? Weeding out the looky-loos

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“Our sofa would fit perfectly there.” “How soon do they need to move?” “Would they include the patio furniture?”

While these comments and questions may sound like “buying signs” when people go through your house or are told to you by your agent, don’t get too excited. Realtor.com’s Jennifer O’Neill says, “If all those excited home buyer declarations like ‘This place is just perfect for us’ and ‘I have to have it!’ were binding, selling houses would be a breeze. But, as with everything in life, it’s not what people say, it’s what they do that really matters.”

Gushing buyers can often disappear without a peep. So O’Neill put together a few telling clues about non-serious buyers so that you won’t get your hopes up.

The first sign is that a buyer is flying solo — not represented by an agent. “Buyer’s agents come at no cost to the buyer, since the seller pays the buyer’s agent’s commission,” explains Virginia-based agent Daniel Bortz. Buyers who can’t be bothered to enlist free expert help may not be motivated enough to start putting papers in motion no matter how dramatically they fawn over your house.

The next hint a buyer is not serious is if he or she is at the very beginning of their house search. “Typical home buyers take three months to buy, so if a seller is entertaining interest from someone on Day 1 or Week 1 of her house hunt, chances aren’t good that she’s the one,” says O’Neill. No need to start gathering moving boxes just yet.

Open house interest? Consider open houses like speed dating — especially on weekends, because it’s also less likely that a seller will score an offer from a buyer at an open house. “Usually only half of home buyers visit open houses—and those who do may be trying to avoid too much attention by hiding in the herd,” says O’Neill, who says serious buyers tend to conduct their home search online, then request a private showing.

A huge red light is when a buyer offers no indication of having procured an pre-approval letter from their lender and says they want to make an offer. “Without one, there’s no indication to the seller that you can actually afford to purchase the home,” says Bortz.

“All hat, no cattle” “All sizzle, no steak. “Bait and stall.” Call it what you will but you can tell that a buyer is dragging their feet if they say they’re very interested in making an offer but it is taking days to actually submit one. When it’s taking awhile, chances are good that they’re also strongly considering making an offer on another property, weighing their options before they make the leap.

Of course, lowball offers are like bottom-feeders. While everyone wants to score a deal, if a buyer makes an unreasonably low offer, it’s a sure sign they’re not serious about the property, says Bortz — especially in today’s market.

Realtor, TBWS


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Brian Voytko

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The Mortgage Whiz

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Cell: 215-407-3832

Email: BVoytko@PRMG.net

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Brian Voytko

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Mortgage Advisor

NMLS: #437292

Cell: 215-407-3832


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