10 TOP QUESTIONS PROPERTY BUYERS HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
As a seller agent, Aaron has come across all sorts of questions from direct buyers. In the spirit of sharing and teaching about the property market, we will explain why these top 10 questions are either useless to ask or will not get any answers from agents.
The purpose of compiling these questions is not to criticise or shame buyers that ask these questions. Rather, we see it as a lack of understanding and hope for buyers to gain the knowledge required to be ready for their next property transaction.
1. What is the address?
After seeing an advertisement listed on Propertyguru, interested buyers will send a whatsapp message for enquiries. But for messages that ask, what is the exact address or unit, agents will not answer until the viewing is confirmed and buyers arrive at the lobby of the specific block.
The address and block is already listed on the advertisement listing so that information is available. Another situation is where there are agents or direct buyers who go door knocking on these selling units in the hopes of getting a lower selling price by eliminating the seller agent. Hence, this is a question seller agents will not answer.
2. Is the seller a serious seller?
This is a rhetorical question. If the seller is not serious, the agent will not be listing any advertisements. You will never find any agent that says their seller is not serious, so there is only one answer to it. Next.
3. Can I view the unit now since I am around the area?
Buyers need to understand that viewings have to be arranged in advance since agents are not living in the unit and sellers have their own personal schedules. Also, it's important to know that viewings have to be made at an exact timing to be respectful of the time of all parties involved.
The recommendation is to make an appointment for viewing at least 1 or 2 days in advance and arriving on the stipulated timing for a pleasant time for all.
4. Can you accept my budget?
For advertisements on propertyguru, there are words accompanying the price, such as 'Starting from'. If the property price is listed as 'Starting from 850k', it's really tough for an agent to reply to requests with budgets of 800k. To save on the trouble, it's more logical to seek out units which would match your budget.
5. Is the unit in good condition?
As the condition of a unit is subjective, the seller agent has taken all the photos for each individual buyer to evaluate for themselves. You will never get a watermelon seller that says that his watermelons are not good, so in the same way, it's only going to be one answer that you get from the seller agent anyway.
6. What is the best price?
Buying property is different from shopping at a night market. The process isn't as simple as asking for the best price and taking the unit. There is a whole process of offer and negotiation, in which the seller agent has the responsibility of getting the best price for the seller.
A follow-up comment is often "I don't want to go into auction or bidding". Due to the fact that seller agents are acting in the interests of the seller, the seller needs to consider the best offer available and it's important to understand the whole offer process. Buyers can make their best offers for the seller's consideration and thereafter, it depends on the decision of the seller to accept or otherwise.
7. How much did the seller buy for?
Buyers might be curious, but honestly, this has nothing to do with the transaction. Buyers could be interested to know how much the seller might be earning from the transaction. But this does not change the asking price of the seller even if they are earning a significant amount. The selling price is determined by the understanding that the market and valuations allow for the seller to list at the selling price, no matter how much he bought the unit for.
8. What's the reason of selling?
There is only one reason that agents will tell you. The seller is upgrading. Agents and sellers are not obliged to divulge more about the circumstances of selling and other situations other than those with legal obligations associated with the transaction.
9. How many owners have there been over the years?
For HDB transactions, other than the seller being a first time buyer from HDB, it's hard to know how many times the unit have changed hands before. For private properties, maybe the agents would be able to hazard a guess based on the units' caveats. However, seller agents have no obligation to provide this information.
10. What is the valuation of the unit?
Seller agents would be unable to answer this question, simply because they do not know. For HDB, the valuation is made by HDB. As for private properties, the valuation is done by the banks. Instead of getting a valuation from the seller agent, which he/she is unable to provide, it makes more sense to check with the banks if they will match the valuation of the unit based on the selling price.
Direct buyers are trying to ask questions in order to find out answers for which it's their own responsibility to know. Sometimes, seller agents would be happy to help out when it's a straightforward situation that helps to close the deal for the seller. However, when it becomes a complicated situation, it's unfair to expect the seller agent to work for nothing.
Thus, it's best for direct buyers to either engage the services of an agent or to gain the knowledge required to make the property purchase.
Watch Aaron dissect these questions with his own anecdotes and stories in the video below!