The luxury housing market is booming with high prices and low demands, but that’s not stopping affluent buyers from investing in their second homes or investment properties. Affluent buyers are looking for more than just a real estate professional to find them a house. They’re looking for a trusted advisor and neighborhood expert to help them buy the most profitable luxury property for their investment needs.
Buying a home can be an extremely personal experience for some people, so it’s essential to ask the right questions during your initial meeting so you can manage their expectations better while providing the best customer service experience possible. Let’s jump right into the questions you should ask them.
1. Why Are You Buying and Why Now?
Perhaps the most basic and essential question to ask your buyers is why are they buying and why now? Regardless of what you know from research, data, or experience — this question will help you gauge their reasons for buying a home, their specific needs, and what they expect from you.
Do they have plans to live there full time, or are they looking for more of a second home/vacation home? Some buyers may also just be looking for an investment property that they can rent out to bring in some additional income. Regardless of their exact reasoning, finding out the “why” behind the purchase can help set the stage for real estate professionals as they begin searching for homes that meet the client’s criteria.
2. What’s Your Budget?
While it’s not exactly the most comfortable conversation to have, the reality is that you need to be sure that clients can realistically afford the homes they’re shopping for before starting the process. This is especially important in today’s market, where luxury homes sell for unprecedented amounts and much higher than their original asking price. As their trusted advisor, it’s best to present the reality of a volatile seller’s market and determine if the ROI is worth their investment.
Helping affluent clients figure out how much home they can afford means looking at other aspects of their finances. While real estate professionals are certainly not financial advisors, it is perfectly common and accepted for you to ask for a mortgage pre-approval letter during an initial meeting. This demonstrates that the buyers have been pre-approved for a mortgage and are serious about their intent to buy.
Alternatively, you can use research tools such as WealthEngine to qualify your potential buyers. This platform utilizes advanced machine learning and half a trillion data points to create wealth screening profiles. These profiles can, in turn, help luxury professionals ensure that a client’s finances are truly in order before proceeding with a large purchase.
Members of the Institute have exclusive access to The Institute’s Online Wealth Lookup (OWL), a simple interface to WealthEngine that provides a quick and easy way to do simple lookups right from our website. It’s a tool designed to help you assess the credibility of prospects and begin your qualifying process.
3. What’s Your Moving Timeframe?
The next important step is to determine your client’s move-in timeline. Those who urgently need to find a property due to job relocation or similar life circumstances might have fewer options. In contrast, buyers with a flexible timeline will have more opportunities to find properties that match their needs. Again, this is where asking the right questions can make all the difference in helping affluent buyers manage their expectations and avoid disappointment.
4. Are You Interested in Other Markets?
Out-of-market purchases are not uncommon, especially for affluent buyers looking for their second home or investment properties. Most of the time, buyers will immediately let you know their areas of interest. However, it’s also good practice to ask them about other markets and even present some lesser-known markets they haven’t considered. Always be prepared to support your suggestions with supporting data and market reports to show your credibility!
5. Are You Open to Building or a Fixer-Upper?
Despite the growing labor and raw material costs to build a house from scratch, it might be worth the investment if your buyers can’t find anything they like on the market. Alternatively, they can opt to buy an older home that needs some refurbishment, which might cut down their starting cost while also allowing them to customize their dream home.
Asking the Right Questions Helps You Serve Your Buyers
These are just a few essential questions to help you understand what your buyers are looking for in their next property purchase. Ultimately, your goal as a luxury real estate professional and trusted advisor is to provide clients with the best home buying experience. You may even be rewarded with a referral, but you’ll never know unless you ask!
Looking for more tips on managing the expectations of your affluent buyers? Join our community of over 6,000 luxury real estate professionals and industry experts to learn more about the ins and outs of working with the upper-tier. Members of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing gain access to benefits such as premier market reports, marketing content, and training to earn your designations and elevate your career. Learn more about members’ tools and resources here! Reach out to our team today to get started.