Understanding The Applicant’s Needs In Real Estate

In my 10 years of working with over 5,000 negotiators, I have heard thousands of conversations of a
negotiator qualifying an applicant in order to recommend the right properties. Unfortunately the vast
majority of these calls have sounded very similar and mundane to listen to. Now imagine how the
applicant feels on having to be registered by multiple estate agents when they are looking to buy or
rent a property; by far the most important and exciting part of their lives.

The qualification process is in my opinion the most important part of the entire sales process for a
negotiator. If done incorrectly, the negotiator could miss an opportunity to recommend a property that
will help the applicant and earn him/ herself commission.

When I have listened to these calls they all morph into the robotic checklist approach: budget, number
of bedrooms, current position blah, blah, blah and the applicant starts to lose the will for the
negotiator to live. The key is to have a conversation, not an interrogation.

The first word that needs to be eliminated is ‘register’. When an applicant calls in and says “I’m
looking to buy a property, can you help?”, the first thing a negotiator normally says is, “absolutely, let
me just register you on our system”. The applicant is now thinking this is going to take ages and I just
want to know what properties you have available and can I arrange a viewing.

My recommendation is as follows:
Negotiator: Good morning, welcome to x Estates, Tony speaking, how can I help?
This is a perfect corporate welcome; are all the negotiators using this on every call?
Applicant: Hi there, I am looking to buy a property in X area, can you help please?
Negotiator: of course I can, my name is Tony Morris, I am a senior negotiator here and who am I
speaking with please?
Applicant: John Smith
Negotiator: And John, in case we get cut off, what’s the best number to reach you on?
So without saying it, we are now registering the applicant without asking them or mentioning it.
Equally, their phone number might appear on your telephone, take this down as well as the number
they give you.
Whilst they’re giving you their number you are able to do a quick search on the CRM system to see if
they have been registered before. This saves the time of re-entering the information and they won’t
have to repeat information they have shared in the past.
Negotiator: Can I ask John, who recommended you to X Estates?
This gets the source of the enquiry and it gives the perception your agency always gets recommended.
Even if you know it’s a portal enquiry, the applicant is unaware you know that, so still worth asking
the question.
Applicant: I think I saw your boards before.
Negotiator: Great. So you mentioned John that you’re looking to buy a property in X area. Describe to
me your ideal property.
Applicant: I am looking for a 4 bedroom property, something with character. We don’t want to do
much work to it.
Negotiator: What’s your reason you’re looking to move?
Applicant: We have been saving for ages and feel now is the right time to make the jump on the
ladder.
Negotiator: You mentioned ‘we’, who is the property for?
Applicant: My wife and I and our little boy.
Negotiator: Lovely, how old’s the little one?
Applicant: He’s nearly 5 actually, growing up fast.
Negotiator: I’ve got a 3 year old little girl and it only feels like yesterday when we had her, so I know
exactly what you mean.
You mentioned something with character, can you elaborate on that?
Applicant: We live in a two bed flat at the moment and it’s a new build and is lacking any sort of
character. We really want something that has some original features, fireplaces, wooden beams in the
ceiling, that sort of thing.

Negotiator: I get the picture now. So what have you seen so far?
Applicant: We’ve seen a three bed bungalow on Cherry Tree Road last week.
Negotiator: I know the one, that’s on with X Estates; what did you both think of it?
Applicant: We loved it, however a bungalow feels too claustrophobic. We have decided we need
something on at least two floors.
Negotiator: Just so I can help recommend the right properties from our vast selection, what did you
both love about it in particular?
Applicant: It was over 60 years old and was really quirky without needing any work doing to it. It
needed a lick of paint and some new carpets, however it’s just cosmetics.
Negotiator: Okay so character is clearly very important to you both; what would you say is on your
wish list and what will you not compromise on?
Applicant: We’d love to have a big garden, however as long as there is some outdoor space that
works. We love to entertain, so we must have a big lounge for our guests. It must have character, it’s
got to have something special about it with some original features. I work in town, so it needs to be
near the station. My wife does yoga, so if there is a gym nearby that would be great, however that’s
not a must of course.

Negotiator: That gives me a good insight so thank you for that, When you say ‘near a station’ what
distance would be acceptable?
Applicant: A 10 minute walk would suffice.
Negotiator: I know the bungalow on Cherry Tree Lane is marketed at £720,000. How much would
you be willing to stretch to if I found your dream property?
Applicant: £750,000 is our absolute maximum.
Negotiator: That’s a healthy budget; what’s your arrangements regarding financing the property?
Applicant: I’ve got a mortgage sorted out and have a 25% deposit.
Negotiator: Fantastic, have you got a mortgage in principal?
Applicant: Not yet, however a friend of mine is a mortgage broker so I know he’ll be able to sort me
out.
Negotiator: Can I ask who have you benchmarked your friend against?
Applicant: I haven’t, why do you ask?
Negotiator: We are very fortunate at X Estates. We work in partnership with X Mortgages that have
access to the whole of market. They have helped 95% of my clients achieve a better rate allowing
them to borrow more. Now our adviser Peter Jones gets extremely booked up, so I will try and
schedule a time for you to see him after we go out and see the properties that I recommend for you.
Regarding areas, aside from being within a 10 minute walking distance to a train station and close to
a gym, what else is important to you both?
Applicant: They are the most important things I guess. It would be nice to have some shops in walking
distance.
Negotiator: Okay, I have a few properties in mind. You mentioned you live in a flat at present in X
area; do you own that property or is it rented?
Applicant: We rent it.
Negotiator: Okay, so I can establish time frames, have you given notice to your landlord?
Applicant: It’s a private let, so I only have a 1 month’s notice period at any point.
Negotiator: That will really help you both. We have an extensive lettings department here at X Estates
and X area is our largest catchment area. Please can I take your landlords details to see if we can
help market the property in the future.
Applicant: Yes pleasure, His name is Chris Brown and his number is 071234 567890.
Negotiator: You’ve been really helpful John and given me a great insight into what you and your wife
are looking for.
I have three properties in mind for you. Two of them are 4 bed properties on Station Road, both with
amazing character. One was a post office and has some of the original features. They both have nice
size gardens and are detached properties. The third is a three bedroom property which is
breathtaking. As there are just three of you, what’s the reason you want a four bed?
Applicant: My wife and I would like another child in the future; so as well as needing three
bedrooms, we thought its sensible to have a spare room as well.
Negotiator: I see where you’re coming from and its sensible to plan for the future, however I would
strongly recommend you see this one as well. It will take your breath away and has character oozing
out if it.
Applicant: Okay, I’ll take your word for it.
Negotiator: Excellent, please can you and your wife meet at my office either at 17:00 or 19:00 today;
what works best for you both? (19:00)
I’ll speak to the vendors and get that all arranged and I’ll send you an email to confirm and look
forward to seeing you both at 19:00.

 


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