After advertising online and offline, the enquiries will start flooding in. The nature of the enquiry depends on the advertisement channel used. If they were banner and newspaper advertisements, more information have to be provided at the enquiry stage. However, if the properties were advertised in property portals, social media, and flyers; the lesser the additional information needed to be given. This difference is due to a lesser restriction on the size of the word limit. The agent has more space to write-up about the property.
Nevertheless, prospects enquiring generally ask these questions:
- Where is the property located?
- Is it Freehold or Leasehold? If leasehold, then how many years remaining on the lease?
- Is it a terraced house, bungalow, semi-d, etc?
- How many bedrooms are there in the property?
- How many bathrooms are there in the property?
- What is the land area?
- What is the built-up?
- What is the asking price for the property? Is the price negotiable?
- How much is the maintenance fees?
- Is it a basic or renovated unit?
As the prospect asks these questions, you’ll be able to gauge how interested he or she is in the property, and how familiar the prospect is with the location. Inasmuch as the prospect is filtering the necessary information on the property; it is also our duty as real estate agents to screen through the prospects. This likens very much to an interview, whereby you play the role of an interviewer interviewing the interviewee (the prospects) to see if they match the owner’s requirements. Some “interview” questions are:
- Are you planning to purchase for your own stay or investment?
- What is your occupation? Where are you working now?
- Where are you currently staying? Are you staying nearby the property?
- What is your budget for the property?
- Is this the first property you’ve viewed?
- When will you like to view the property?
- When will you like to move-in and start the tenancy?
These questions apply more so to prospective tenants as compared to prospective purchasers. Why prospective tenants? The property still belongs to the landlord and the landlord is temporarily leasing the said property to the tenant. The tenant will have a duty to maintain the property in good and tenantable condition. The landlord and tenant will be in a business relationship for the long term. Unlike when selling a property, the vendor may only meet the purchaser for a handful of times over a short period of time. Therefore, finding a responsible tenant is crucial for the landlord.
When interviewing the prospective tenant, its vital to know the tenant’s current occupation. The tenant’s job position will give an indication as to how much is the tenant’s budget. Where the tenant is currently working is also a motivating factor as he or she may want to live closer to the office. At other times, tenants move because their children are relocating school. Then, sometimes, their current landlord want the property back or have decided to increase the rent; hence forcing them to relocate.
As for purchasers, its also vital to know beforehand their occupation status. This will give an indication of their financial status. Where they are currently staying will also give a hint and reason as to why they are relocating. Where they are from is also important; whether they are local, outstation, or overseas purchaser will help to build rapport with the seller.
After getting to know each other and exchanging informations, it’s time to schedule the viewing. Fix a time and date whereby both landlord and tenant, or seller and buyer are convenient to meet. This is true if the property is still owner occupied, tenanted, or the owner is holding the keys. If the property is still owner occupied, the viewing has to be scheduled at the owner’s convenience. The owner has to be at home in order to let you and the prospect in for viewing.
Owners who’re still holding the keys are definitely not staying in the property and it is vacant. However, there may be furnitures and expensive items in the property; hence the keys still being in the owner’s possession. Viewings still have to be scheduled at the owner’s convenience. The owner has to make the trip to the property to unlock the door.
There are times when the agent has to collect the keys beforehand from the owner for the viewing. There were a few cases whereby I had to travel to the owner’s office or house, and collect the keys for viewing.
If the unit is tenanted, it can be a hassle. The owner will have to contact the tenant first. Then they have to come to an agreement on a convenient time. If one party is uncooperative and unwilling, it can delay the viewing.
The best scenario will be if the the unit is vacant and the owner has entrusted to you a set of keys for viewing. This makes your job easier and faster. You can then arrange the viewing at your time or the tenant’s time; whichever is convenient.
Hence, when scheduling the viewing, its a matter of time management. You’ve to manage not only your own time, but also the prospect’s, owner’s, and in some cases, the tenant’s time.
This likens very much to an interview, whereby you play the role of an interviewer interviewing the interviewee (the prospects) to see if they match the owner’s requirements.