Flakes aren't welcome in any industry, but they're particularly problematic in real estate, where you don't get paid until close. In other words, instead of merely causing an annoyance and possibly wasting your time, flakes can actively cost you money.
Experienced real estate agents (a.k.a us!) know how to identify a flaky buyer. In today's blog post, we're sharing our secret flaky-identifiers in case one comes along trying to buy your property - now you can be as "In The Know" as we are!
Here are 10 signs that you might be wasting your time with a buyer.
They haven't been pre-approved
It seems obvious that if you need a mortgage to buy a house, and you don't have a pre-approval to get a mortgage loan, then you should get that pre-approval before you start shopping. What seems obvious, however, is not always. If you don't know what you can afford to buy, shopping is just window shopping.
They don't spend much time or seem involved when viewing properties
Even if a home is tiny, it should probably take longer than five to ten minutes to walk through, looking in every room, checking the drawers and cabinets and closets, and all of the other things that serious buyers do as a matter of course.
They don't seem to understand the local housing market
Typically if someone is thinking about buying a home, they'll spend some time looking up listings online, so they'll have some concept of what's considered a reasonable local listing price. If you can tell right away that a buyer has seriously unrealistic expectations for how much they can afford to spend -- or what kind of house is actually in their price range -- that's a good indicator that this buyer isn't going to get a mortgage loan or make an offer that you would accept.
There are financial warning signs
The buyer's base salary is just one part of that equation. If there is too much debt, no savings, bad credit -- or the buyer is starting off a career change in a new job market -- those could all negatively impact the buyer's ability to secure a mortgage loan.
They don't want to make a serious offer
If you have a buyer who's consistently submitting lowball offers and won't listen to advice to maybe get a little closer to asking price next time -- and you know it doesn't have anything to do with finances -- then you may have a flake on your hands.
In fact, they don't know what they want
A serious buyer is going to have a clear idea of what they're seeking in a home, from size to price to a location to any number of other variables and features.
They're not interested in moving quickly
Most buyers are operating on some kind of deadline. Maybe they have a job offer, their kids are changing schools, or perhaps it's as simple as their lease winding up. But in all those scenarios, buyers either want to move or they need to move, and they're going to be willing to move fast for the right home.
There's no sign at all they're making a move
If you're making conversation with a buyer and you discover that they regularly spend their weekends at estate sales picking up as much furniture as their home can hold -- and they haven't put that habit on pause -- or that they just splurged on a big-ticket item like a new car or a boat, then those are indications that the buyer isn't really thinking about moving.
But they aren't sure they want to stay in the area
If a buyer says in passing they're thinking about moving to a different state soon, that's a good cue to ask more questions about what they plan to do with their newly acquired home when (and if) that happens.
They don't seem excited -- or one buyer is noticeably more excited
If a buyer simply doesn't seem like they're all that enthused about owning a home, there might be something else going on that could interfere with the home sale.
Most buyers aren't flakes; they're just people who want to get into a home of their own. But the ones who are can cost time and money, so it's worth it to know how to recognize them and extract yourself from those relationships early. That's why you have us! With our combined expertise, the Chip Knows Luxury Team has you covered!