Finding the perfect home can be difficult; wrought with housing hurdles both obvious and unpredictable. You fall in love with a property, but things fall through and apart, and repeat;  you fall into the same routine again. And again, and it’s tough. But spare a little thought for those selling their home, too. It’s not all roses, blue skies and a big payday as a link in this part of the chain either. To assess the suitability and reliability of potential buyers, there are a number of enquiries a homeowner should make of those showing interest in their property. So, here are 8 IDEAL questions you should ask the buyer of your home before selling.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO VIEW THIS PROPERTY?

The property selling process is long and fraught, and enquiries you should be making are varied. To make the most out of these questions, they should be considered from a couple of different angles. First things first, you should receive those viewing your home not only as potential buyers, but also as providers of valuable feedback and advice. This advice can be used to enhance the reach and appeal of your property’s advertising strategy later down the line.

ARE THERE ANY IMPROVEMENTS YOU’D LIKE TO SEE?

Running with the theme of feedback, it’s also important once the property has been viewed by a potential buyer to ask if there are any improvements they’d like to see. It’s good to establish what is appealing and what is off putting about your home to interested parties, so you can enhance and accentuate the good characteristics of your place to future viewers. This question has another function of helping you identify what the potential buyer is looking for, and how you can meet their needs.

ARE YOU A FIRST TIME BUYER?

Not a make-or-break by any means, but a question which elicits a telling answer in how much admin there might be, how much invitiative you might have to take, and how many bumps in the road you can expect to face. Don’t judge if it is the potential buyer’s first house, but do anticipate the necessity for a little more patience.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS PROPERTY ALONE?

Are you cheating on me, basically. In all seriousness, it’s good to establish if the potential property buyer has a steely focus or roving eye, as it’s telling on how fast you might expect second viewings to be necessary, agents to be consulted and contracts to be signed. This question, more than any other, will give an indication of the likelihood of a purchase. If they are looking at a number of properties, then don’t forget the ever important F word: feedback. Ask what they’ve particularly liked (and disliked) about various neighbourhoods, streets, properties, rooms and features. All of this information will be incredibly informative about how to make your house more appealing.

ARE YOU PART OF A CHAIN?

As in, are you selling your home as part of buying mine, and how many other sales does this sale depend on? Chains get very complicated, with one buyer in a long line dropping out more often than not leading to the whole damn deal collapsing. There are ways and means with which to protect yourself against – or at least limit the damage of –  these eventualities, with estate agents usually being responsible for keeping communication constant between all parties.  

COULD YOU BUY THIS HOME TODAY?

This one is related to being part of a chain, and although the expectation is obviously unrealistic, it’s a revealing question as to how many obstacles may be standing in the way of a purchase. If buying your house depends on myriad different events before cash (and also time) is freed up, then consider looking elsewhere for a new buyer.

CASH OR MORTGAGE? PROOF OF FINANCE? MORTGAGE PRE QUALIFICATION LETTER?

Okay, three separate enquiries here, but all made from the same logistical hymn sheet. Cash, generally speaking, is quicker and less risky; hassle is reduced and chain related mishaps less frequent. Always ask to see a proof of funds and be wary of quick sale schemes, which are not without their pitfalls; fee structures are not always transparent and false property valuations more common. Mortgages get a little more complicated, so request a mortgage pre qualification letter early on in the process.

CAN I OFFER YOU A CUPPA?

With all the stress of prospective moves, the financial implications, and formalities of the process, common decency can sometimes be left at the door. Don’t let this be you, offer a ‘how are you?’ and a cuppa, for a good relationship with potential buyers will help lubricate the inevitable issues you’ll encounter in selling your home.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.