As a Realtor, you don’t get paid for showing properties or simply creating a listing. So, you want to make this part of your job as quick and easy as possible. Why should 20 properties when you could sell two and make a deal? Why list a property at an unrealistic price only to lose the listing to another agent down the road? By providing your potential buyers and sellers with a real estate survey, you can cut down on the hassle of showing properties and managing bad listings. In this blog, we’ll look at two types of real estate surveys: one for buyers, and one for sellers.
Questions to Ask Buyers on a Real Estate Survey
The most successful Realtors don’t take their clients to dozens of properties – who has time for that? It can also test the patience of a potential buyer and send them into the arms of another agent. So, it’s best to use a real estate survey to understand exactly what a potential buyer is looking for in order to strategically show properties. Personal and property questions to ask include the following.
1. Why are you buying a home?
This question may seem invasive, so always include the option of “prefer not to answer.” However, if the potential buyer does choose to answer, it can be one of your best real estate survey questions, uncovering important information, such as a relocation, job change, pregnancy, recent empty-nesters, etc. This insight can help you tailor your search to the buyer’s specific needs.
2. Have you bought a home before?
This question simply lets you know their experience with home buying so you can plan your time and gauge their expectations. First-time home buyers will undoubtedly have a lot more questions and need some hand-holding, while a seasoned buyer will understand the process much better.
3. Are you working with a lender or waiting to apply for a mortgage?
If the potential buyer is not pre-approved, you can recommend a lender that you have worked with before to make the process smoother. If they haven’t yet applied for a mortgage, you can begin discussing finances; you’ll need to ask about the income of the family unit and let them know that most banks grant a maximum of 80% of the property’s value. This way, you can more accurately calculate what real price they can afford.
4. What is the most you’re willing to pay per month?
This continues the financial conversation so that you can search for properties within their price range. Of course, all buyers are hoping to find a great deal, but they need to be realistic based on the area, size of the home, amenities, view, demand, etc. And remember, just because a potential buyer has been approved for $500K, doesn’t mean they’re willing to spend that much.
5. Have you researched any properties already?
Often, potential buyers will do some sleuthing on their own before they contact a Realtor. By asking this question, you can gain an understanding of what they’ve looked at and what may be in their price range (even if they’ve told you something different).
6. What are the must-haves and what are the nice-to-haves?
This is one of the most common types of real estate survey questions because it lets you knock some homes off your list right away. For example, they may need three bedrooms, whereas a pool might just be desirable.
7. Do you understand the added costs that come with a home purchase?
Down payments, earnest money, option fees, appraisal costs, home inspections, and property surveys can come as a shock to first-time buyers. This question allows you to prepare potential buyers for costs they may not have considered.
8. Are you willing to accept costs and restrictions pertaining to a homeowner’s association?
If a potential buyer isn’t willing to accept the sometimes hefty fees and often strict rules associated with an HOA, you can probably knock a lot of properties off your showing list.
9. Will you live in your new home long-term or is this an investment?
While many people see a house as a home, and that’s perfect. However, if your potential buyer is more interested in what it’ll be valued at in a few years when they go to sell it, you’ll want to refer them to resources that provide socio-economic and market valuation data.
10. Who will be living in the home?
Will there be kids? Then you’ll want to consider schools in the area. Will there be an aging parent or disabled person living at home? Then you may need to think about accessibility. Knowing these details will help you understand the space and services needed in the area, improving the client experience.
11. What is an absolute deal-breaker for you?
Sure, you’ve already asked what’s a must-have and what’s a nice-to-have. But this question, worded a little differently, is designed to really get them thinking to help you avoid wasting time showing deal-breaker houses. Worded this way, the potential buyer may state that “no backyard” is a deal-breaker, and so on.
12. What would you do if we found the right house today?
Is this potential buyer just testing the waters, or are they ready to buy tomorrow? This question helps you understand the range of possibilities that you might face to define the right strategy in each case.
Questions to Ask Sellers on a Real Estate Survey
The most successful real estate agents try to gain a good understanding of a seller’s property before deciding upon their selling strategy. This helps determine pricing, identify problems, and create an enticing listing that gets the home sold. To do this, the Realtor should ask some of the following real estate survey questions.
1. Why are you selling your home?
As with why buyers are buying, sellers may choose not to answer. However, if they do (and reasons could include job relocation, desire to upgrade/downgrade, life events such as a marriage or the birth of a child, a death in the family, retirement, and so on) you may get a better idea of their need for urgency and how much room there is for negotiation (i.e., willingness to accept a lower price).
2. Are you completely committed to selling the home?
This question is designed to uncover whether the seller is likely to back out or have second thoughts about selling their home – even if they get their asking price!
3. How many people are involved in the sales decision?
It’s important to understand how many people are involved in the decision to sell, to consider whether there could be roadblocks ahead. This is especially important when the sale is due to the dissolution of a relationship or marriage.
4. How long has the home been on the market?
The longer a house stays on the market, the harder it becomes to sell since the listing becomes “stale,” and potential buyers think there must be something inherently wrong with the property. Often, it’s simply priced too high. Understanding timing and the reasons can help you successfully relist it.
5. What was the previous selling price?
Knowing what the house has sold for in the past will help you understand if its value has gone up or down since the seller purchases it. It also lets you know if there’s room for negotiation. For example, if they bought it for a steal, they may be willing to come down on the asking price since they’ll still make a tidy profit. But, if the value has changed (or gone down), they may try to hold firm on their asking price.
6. What is included in the sale of the home?
Most fixtures (cabinets, faucets, etc.) are generally included in a sale. However, some items, such as lighting, window treatments, outdoor play equipment, appliances, and wall-mounted systems fall into a “gray area” so it’s important to understand if the seller plans to take things with them that a potential buyer would reasonably expect to be included. In many markets, the buyer will need to replace items considered to be basic fixtures.
7. Are there any area nuisances or problem neighbors?
Sellers may not be too forthcoming, as this could hurt their asking price, but it’s still worth asking. Do people speed down the street? Are local businesses noisy? What about crime, litter, and other disturbances? While it’s important to do your due diligence (including checking crime statistics and visiting the area in the evening when the entire environment can be different), this question should still be on your real estate survey.
8. Is the home damaged in any way or contain any hazards?
Disclosure statements will inform buyers about a home’s condition and help protect sellers from future legal action if problems are found. Sellers must make disclosures about such items as existing liens, lead-based paint, natural hazards (e.g., floodplain), termite problems, history of property-line disputes, and defects in major systems and/or appliances. However, what must be disclosed varies by state and even county, so ask point-blank and if you find out about problems you may be able to negotiate repair costs, etc.
9. What is the age of key home components?
Key components include heating and cooling systems, appliances, water heater, septic, plumbing, and electrical systems. Another big one is the roof: Newer ones could last 15-50 years, depending on the roofing material. For example, an asphalt roof is on the low end of that spectrum, so if it’s already 15 years old, it may be a large expense that needs to be replaced (or the price of the home would need to be reduced).
10. Has the home had any major repairs or renovations?
Normally, repairs and renovations boost a property’s value, but bad work happens, and poor plumbing jobs or mediocre construction can end up costing a lot of money. Also, be sure to ask who did the repairs and renovations – was it a licensed contractor or a DIY project?
11. When do you want to sell by?
You can beat around the bush (and some questions do that in case the seller isn’t forthcoming), but this question cuts to the chase.
12. What did you like most about this home?
Time to get a little personal! However, by understanding what made the seller fall in love with the home, you can learn some positive things (about the home itself, the location and surrounding area, or the neighborhood and community) that will help when listing it.
Real estate surveys with open-ended questions are a great way for Realtors to quickly learn what buyers are looking for and what sellers want. This makes you a more efficient and effective real estate agent, one who will certainly be making more deals and getting more referrals. Ready to create your real estate online market surveys? SurveyLegend is the solution! We offer beautifully-designed, secure, and responsive surveys online, and it’s free to get started!
Are you a Realtor who uses real estate surveys? Any important questions for buyers or sellers that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Real estate surveys help Realtors understand what buyers are looking for and what sellers are expecting. They can easily be sent out online and provide a lot of insight to help the Realtor make more informed decisions (and in turn, create happier clients).
Different types of surveys should be created for buyers and sellers, although there are many common themes to them (why do you want to buy vs. why do you want to sell, for example).
Real estate surveys help make Realtors more effective and efficient. They let them know what types of properties a buyer is looking for, saving time and money showing undesirable properties. They also let them know what a seller expects (timing and pricing) as well as the condition of the home.