As I work with clients – both buyers and sellers – I am sometimes struck by how intrusive I must sound on occasion. I ask about all sorts of things that wouldn’t be polite to ask an old friend, much less someone I’ve just met.
But the questions are necessary, and they are helpful – both to me and my clients.
Owning residential real estate involves every corner of a person’s life: love, birth, death, relationships, break-ups, hearts’ desires, irrational fears, holidays, habits, hobbies, rituals, regrets. And money – always, always money. The more I, as a realtor, know about all these things and how they influence decisions about buying and selling real estate, the better job I can do for my client.
I also ask agents on the other side of a transaction the same sort of questions. When I’m working with buyers, it helps to know what’s motivating a seller. Or if I’m working a listing, what motivates someone to make an offer. With this kind of information, I may be able to avoid a misstep, or offer an incentive – sometimes just a small thing – that helps get the deal done and makes everybody in the mix happy. So, I ask. I may not always get straight or complete answers, but it never hurts to try.
So, when you get yourself ready to buy or sell, also get yourself ready to tell your story – personal as well as financial – as completely and openly as possible. Be prepared to talk in detail about your financial situation, your reasons for selling or buying, situations you are facing that might slow things down or throw the process completely off the rails. A good realtor will hold the information in confidence and use it to help you get the result you need.
I hope you’ll be talking to me of course, but even if you’re talking to another realtor, let them ask the “intrusive” questions. Have the adult conversation. Know that your realtor is on your side, working to make it good for you.
And if your realtor doesn’t ask the questions, get another realtor.