Quickly sensing that a client is ready to make an offer can mean the difference between helping her nab the home of her dreams and letting the property slip through her fingers.
“With low inventory and multiple offers, we have to move quickly,” said Gloria Commiso, an agent at Hermosa Beach, California-based Keller Williams Beach Cities. “Also, buyers can get in their own way and pass on properties because they think they need to see more.”
That’s why real estate agents “really have to look for cues,” she said.
Some cues, such as if a client says “I can see myself living here,” are pretty obvious. But others — like a couple’s tendency to stand closer together — may only be visible to the trained eye.
Drawing on a recent conversation in Lab Coat Agents, Inman has compiled a list of seven signs that a buyer may be interested in writing an offer.
These cues shouldn’t encourage high-pressure selling, Commiso said. Rather, they should help agents “recognize buyer readiness so they can assist the buyers in writing an offer with a sense of urgency.”
1. Body language
Buyers who stand in one place and move their eyes back and forth tend to be thinking about pulling the trigger, said Lenox-Massachusetts-based agent Anne Meczywor. They’re often piecing together how their furniture could fit into the space they’re viewing.
“They also speak a little faster, and if there are two of them, they move closer together,” she added.
Couples also tend to get more “lovey-dovey,” holding hands, kissing or hugging, Commiso said.
Then there’s that ineffable vibe that buyers falling for a home can give off.
Katherine Adcock, a Mountain Lakes, New Jersey agent, said she’ll sense an “attitude shift.”
“I feel a sense of happiness and nerves exuding from them,” she said. “Sometimes they watch too much HGTV, so they sound like a script.”
2. Taking possession
Buyers who act like they are “taking possession” of a home often tend to be ready to bid, said Jacksonville, Florida-based agent Laurel Black. An example might be if a couple discussed the size of closets as if those closets were their own.
Camille Jasmin, a Los Angeles, California-based agent, said sitting on a sofa “as if they already lived there” is one cue.
Encouraging kids to pick a room in a house would be another, according to Raleigh, North Carolina-based Realtor Jennifer Tru.
Hanging out in the kitchen, talking about paint colors, lingering in a home and opening cabinets and drawers are other signs that buyers may be taking possession of a home.
3. Bringing up family get-togethers
Buyers who wonder aloud about how a home would accommodate family gatherings, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, tend to be ready to write an offer, agents say.
“Where are we going to put the Christmas tree?” is a statement that telegraphs interest, according to Laurelville, Ohio-based broker-owner Gina Warner.
4. Asking for certain information
Questions that buyers frequently ask when they’re falling for a home often involve the condition of the property, sales of comparable homes, neighborhood demographics, local rents, insurance costs, school quality, property tax information and community rules (if applicable), agents say.
5. Measuring space
That can mean breaking out a measuring tape, walking off rooms and checking out the attic and basement for storage space.
6. Picturing furniture
This is the “tell” that seems to be cited most often by agents. Buyers who begin to build a bond with a property may talk out loud about how their furniture could fit into various rooms, or they may simply place furniture in their heads — a mental process that behaviors such as darting eyes can signal.
7. Asking for a second look
This is an obvious indication of interest, but some agents may not take it as a cue to encourage a client to take action when that could serve a client’s best interest.