“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but that’s the way to bet.”
–Ecclesiastes (with an assist from Damon Runyon).
For the benefit of non-Realtors, here’s a “Top Ten” List of ways that Realtors know that a home Buyer is serious.
10. They’re represented by a good, experienced Realtor (vs. their part-time Realtor buddy . . . or no one).
9. They’ve been qualified by a lender, and know what their budget is.
8. They ask germane questions (“How old is the furnace?” “What work has the homeowner done to the house?”) vs. irrelevant ones (“where did the owner get their artwork?”).
7. The Buyer’s home search has “traction”: their home search progressively tightens around a specific location, style of home, and price point.
6. They adjust their schedule(s) to learn the market in a concentrated time period, and block out 2-3 hours, minimum, to see multiple homes per outing.
5. All ultimate decision makers are “on board” and present for showings (vs. partners who are reluctant and off playing golf — or shopping — while their significant other looks).
4. They set up a second showing to test their initial (positive) impressions, and to learn the house better.
3. They ask for and study all relevant Seller’s disclosures, municipal inspections, and Realtor marketing materials.
2. They take careful notes as their Realtor shows them properties.
1. They buy something.
Not every serious Buyer exhibits all 10 of the above signs, and more than a few actual Buyers display few or none of them (the vaunted “serendipitous Buyer” of Realtor urban legend, for one).
But . . . Damon Runyon’s quote is more accurate than not.
P.S.: One more sign (#11.) that the Buyer really is serious: their life circumstances — new job, baby, expiring lease, etc. — dictate a change in housing.