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How crucial is it for your success as an agent to only work with qualified buyers? Considering that time is money, and factoring in how many hours you spend doing consultations and showings, I’d say very important.

It adds up quickly, right? Some real estate agents go for quantity over quality, but this approach often doesn’t produce the most profitable results.

Qualified buyers are committed to finding and securing a property. Why spend months with a large volume of buyers who may not be committed to purchasing a home when you can work with a few qualified buyers who are determined to achieve results?

At the end of the day, you’ll see the same success or more with fewer qualified buyers than a high number of buyers who are sitting on the fence. Plus, when you’re focused on higher quality clients, you’ll deliver higher quality service, which will lead to referrals and repeat business!

So, how do you qualify buyers? Below are key aspects for working with motivated buyers who will produce the best results:

Loan pre-approval comes first

Are they ready, willing and able? The very first step in determining if your potential client is a qualified buyer is to make sure they’ve been pre-approved by a reputable lender for a home loan.

The loan pre-approval benefits the client, as well. It’s highly educational and helps them truly understand what they can afford. No one wants to waste their time falling in love with homes that are not within their budget. They will thank you for offering trusted advice.

Pro tip: have your prospective client get pre-approved before your initial meeting or first tour of homes.

A successful consultation

It’s worth taking the time up front to sit down with your prospective homebuyer, preferably in your office, to discuss their goals, market conditions and how you’ll work together.

The initial meeting isn’t just about whether you’re a good fit for the client, but also whether they’re a good fit for you. Having that synergy between you and the client will allow the homebuying process to run smoothly and with the least amount of complications.

Commitment to buying a home

It’s better to have one serious and qualified client than to be running around showing properties to five unqualified ones. When it comes to real estate sales, aim for quality over quantity. A motivated buyer will be determined to buy a home within the next three to six months.

Carefully evaluate if finding and purchasing a property is truly a priority for your client. If they’re sitting on the fence or unwilling to spend the time looking at homes, it will take a lot more work to convince them to buy.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t work with on-the-fence buyers–having a pipeline is important, but it’s important to allocate your time appropriately.

It’s well worth the effort to qualify your leads in the beginning so you can figure out who really needs your help.

Focus on clients who are pre-approved for a home loan, willing to engage with you in an open, honest conversation about their needs, looking to buy in the near future, and ready to commit to working exclusively with you as their buyer’s agent.

I promise that you’ll be more successful in the long run!

Danielle Lazier, Senior Broker-Associate, Keller Williams San Francisco, is a top 10 San Francisco real estate agent. She is founder of SFhotlist.com, San Francisco’s first real estate blog.