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Getting To Know Your Buyer


If you haven’t wanted to insist that buyers come into the office before showing them property in the past, the incredible price of gas may encourage you to do it now. In order to provide good service it’s important to have an understanding of the client, their needs, to create a bond and a high level of trust. If you don’t sit down across the table, that’s pretty tough to do.

At dinner with friends the other night, of course the conversation turned to real estate – what else? A couple I didn’t know was describing how great it was that their agent had driven them around for two days. They were unfamiliar with the state that was going to be their new home and were excited that the agent had shown them the area. I asked if the agent had pre-interviewed them to find out what they were looking for before putting them in the car. Nope.

After spinning my wheels – literally – for a while I created this list. I add to it every time I talk to a new client and you can too.

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Scott P. Rogers

    May 20, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    > I add to it every time I talk to a new client…

    Very interesting — thanks for compiling (and sharing) this comprehensive list! A few thoughts/questions…

    Do you typically discuss these items face-to-face?

    Do you send them to the client by e-mail and ask them to respond?

    If you do it face to face, how long does such an “interview” take? 🙂

  2. Vicki Moore

    May 20, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I always have this conversation face-to-face. If they won’t come into the office I offer to refer them to another agent. That may sound harsh but experience has taught me that if they don’t have the time or won’t make the effort to sit down with me, the likelihood is high that they won’t buy with me either.

    I don’t send it in advance. I simply ask them to consider and discuss with each other what their likes and dislikes are and what they can and can’t live without. I’m still surprised how often couples don’t discuss their preferences beforehand.

    It typically takes an hour, depending on how many questions they have and how much conversation goes on. If that seems like a long time, I challenge you to try it. I think you’ll find that clients will appreciate it that you took the time to ask, will know that you’re thorough and who doesn’t like to talk about themself?

  3. Ken B.

    May 20, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Well done and very generous. I’ll pass your words of wisdom along.
    Thank you.
    Ken b.

  4. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 20, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Ken, if you look at the top of the document that Vicki has shared with us, the grey arrows at the top right allow you to print the document right from the blog. That way it can be distributed to anyone in your office! Otherwise, feel free to email this article to them.


    Vicki, have you emailed this to a relocating client from another city or country before arriving? If so, how was it received? (if not, why?)

  5. Vicki Moore

    May 20, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Lani – I have done that – a shortened version. I try to get them to go over it with me on the phone so at least I can get voice inflections and hesitations.

    Once I get people to sit down they think it’s great – getting them into the office is what separates the serious from the not.

  6. Luxury Homes For Sale

    May 21, 2008 at 2:07 am

    great strategy! great technique to get long with client..
    I’m just curious about the length of conversation?
    it may take time!
    by the way, it is still a nice post! Thanks for sharing..

  7. Jason

    May 21, 2008 at 4:01 am

    thanks for using the embed document feature Vicki, glad its helping out

  8. Mike Taylor

    May 21, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Vicki- Kudos to you for this strategy. Too often people just pile buyers in their cars at the drop of a hat with no pre-qualification at all. I think you are right $4 a gallon may have agent rethinking this idea. Good list. Thanks.

  9. Matthew Rathbun

    May 21, 2008 at 6:16 am

    ::applauding:: Can you come with me and help teach ABR? Well, done…

  10. Jim Duncan

    May 21, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Matthew – what does one learn in ABR classes that can’t be found online?

  11. Vicki Moore

    May 21, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Jim – You’re a trouble maker. Have to laugh at that one.

    Thanks Mike. Loan prequal isn’t the only prequal.

    Matthew – I just gave away my only secret. 🙂

  12. Benjamin Bach

    May 21, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Vicki, it only takes one 🙂

    I use a similar sheet for my initial consultation with an investor. It helps me figure out what they know, what they don’t know, and most importantly – what they think they know, but have no clue about (You can spot these easily – they start with “My Uncle Bob told me….”)

    [ If anyone wants the questionaire I use with investors when we initially meet, let me know. ]

  13. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Jim, are you tweaking me or Matthew? 🙂

    Oddly enough, the only thing that’s stopped me from getting my ABR is I don’t want to have to pay every year to be able to call myself one. I figure once I have it, I should have it.

    Yes, I’m a stubborn SOB for better or (likely) worse. Cheap too.

    I kinda laughed off the nice conference room my office has with the flat-panel TV and computer hookup. But it’s been a godsend … I’m routinely meeting clients here and vetting the lists long before we go out to see homes. Good way of confirming what they want and you usually can tell by their reaction how serious they really are.

  14. Vicki Moore

    May 21, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Benjamin – You’re so right. Those questions – and I’m sure yours too – tell me a lot about the person – maybe more than at first glance.

    Jonathan – You’re just too much. lol.

  15. Barry W Bevis

    July 2, 2008 at 8:42 am

    Had a need for a form like this today.
    They are in town buyers; but, he and his wife is on vacation for two weeks.
    He asked if there was anything they could work on while they were out of town.

    Thanks for Sharing!

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