High Washout Factor

“Writing a check separates a commitment from a conversation.”

–Warren Buffett

One of the things good listing agents do is keep track of anyone the homeowner’s already aware of, who’s expressed interest in buying their home.

Even if such prospects ultimately decide not to do anything, the more early interest in the home, the better:  especially at a crowded Sunday open house, the “real” Buyers just see potential competition, not “nosy neighbors” or people who are “just looking.”

That said, my experience is that the vast majority of people on Sellers’ radar ultimately wash out, for one (or more) of three reasons:

One.  Below-market price.

Yes, they’d like to buy it — but at what price?

There’s a big gap between hypothetical interest expressed in an informal social context, and filling in a hard number on a Purchase Agreement.

Two.  Financial wherewithal.  

They may want to buy it, but can they afford to?

Assuming they’re not going to pay cash, that means getting a mortgage.

In turn, that means having sufficient income, good credit scores — and perhaps selling their current home, first.

Which leads to . . .

Three.  Timing.

Yes, they may want to buy it, at fair market value — but when?

If they have to sell their current house first, the timetable could be months (or longer).

Even if they’re financially good to go, hectic work schedules, upcoming travel, planning-intensive family occasions, and a million other things may intervene, delaying when they’re actually ready to do something.

Bottom line?

In my experience, perhaps 10% (or fewer) of the people who’ve expressed interest to the homeowner are actually ready, willing, and able to buy, now, at market prices.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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