The third time a buyer ghosted me, I realized I was making a classic new agent mistake: I spent too much time pitching myself and not enough time listening to my buyer’s hopes, dreams, and needs. A simple buyer questionnaire that asked the right questions—followed by a meeting to discuss it—would have quickly built the trust and rapport I needed to keep them.
To save you from making the mistake I made, I put together this insightful buyer questionnaire. You can download the questionnaire as a PDF below, or scroll down to read it and copy and paste it into Microsoft Word.
What Is a Buyer Questionnaire?
A buyer questionnaire is a tool that experienced real estate agents use to learn what their buyer clients need and want from a home. A well-written questionnaire helps agents find the right home at the right price for their buyers and helps build the rapport they need to develop relationships with them.
Why Top Agents Use Buyer Questionnaires
While many newer agents think they can just wing it and learn what their buyers need on a phone call, most top agents use a buyer questionnaire. Here’s why:
- You may or may not be able to steer the first conversation with your buyer in the direction you want on a phone call. A good conversation, even a professional conversation, needs to flow. If it doesn’t, it will be awkward and might even turn your buyer off before you even get to know them.
- Writing down what your buyer says in your meeting makes you look like a psychologist. Worse, if you have handwriting like mine, you will look back at your notes a few hours or a few days later and have difficulty figuring out what your cryptic scribbles meant.
- Finally, a well-written questionnaire is the best possible way to prepare yourself for a buyer presentation. It makes the buyer think a little harder about what they really want, and since the questionnaire covers the basics, it allows you to ask more personal questions at the presentation.
[Related article: This Buyer Presentation Converts Leads to Clients in 15 Minutes]
Example Buyer Questionnaire
Figuring out what you need and want from a home can be stressful. This is why I ask every new buyer I work with to fill out this short questionnaire. It helps me find you a home that will be practical for your needs and (hopefully) fulfill some of your dreams. Please fill this out as honestly and completely as you can. If you have any questions about this or anything else, please call me on my cell: [your cell number]
1. How long have you been looking for a home? __________________________________
2. Have you seen anything you really like yet? ____________________________________
3. Which home would you buy if you won the lottery and price was not a concern?
[ ] A ranch in Montana [ ] A Manhattan penthouse [ ] A Malibu beach house [ ] A 10,000-square-foot suburban mansion [ ] A charming Victorian townhouse in San Francisco
4. What is most important to you about the location you live in?
5. Do you want or need to be near a specific school district? [ ] yes [ ] no
6. If yes, which school district? _________________________________
7. What are you looking for in a real estate agent?
8. When do you need to move? _________________________________
9. Do you need to sell the home you’re living in before you purchase a new home? [ ] yes [ ] no
10. Which features are most important to you in a home? Choose your top 3.
[ ] Size
[ ] Location
[ ] Luxury finishes
[ ] Large property
[ ] Charm
[ ] Affordable price
[ ] Something else ____________________________________________________________________
11. What is your ideal home size?
[ ] 1,000 square feet [ ] 2,000-3,000 square feet [ ] over 3,000 square feet
12. How many bedrooms would you prefer?
[ ] 1-2 [ ] 3-4 [ ] 5+
Financing and Home Pricing
13. What is your ideal monthly home payment? ______________________
14. Have you been pre-qualified for a loan yet? [ ] yes [ ] no
Best Contact Information
15. What is your preferred method for contacting you?
[ ] Phone call [ ] Text message [ ] Email
Cell phone number: _________________________
How to Use This Buyer Questionnaire
Now that you’re hopefully sold on the value of a good questionnaire, here is how you can make the most of it:
1. Pitch Your Buyer on the Value of the Questionnaire (Script)
Every time I go to a new doctor, I get annoyed. I make the appointment and spend a half-hour getting there, only to have a clipboard shoved in my face with 20 minutes of paperwork on it. Some of the questions make sense, but others don’t. Why does my oral surgeon need to know if I’m married or not? I would feel much more comfortable answering questions like this if I knew why they were asking. What’s in it for me? Your buyers are in a very similar situation but with one key difference.
The difference is that I NEED to go to the doctor. That buyer doesn’t NEED to work with you, or any agent, for that matter. So telling them what they will get from answering all those questions is important. It will make them more likely to complete the questionnaire, take it seriously, and make you look more professional and empathetic. Here’s an example pitch you can use:
Hi [their name],
Before we have coffee tomorrow, please fill out the attached questionnaire and send it back to me. This will help me learn exactly what your hopes, dreams, and needs in a new home are and give me the information I need to pull together a list of homes you will love.
Choosing a home is often a process of discovery. Many of my buyers have found that this questionnaire helped them prioritize what they were looking for and helped them avoid making expensive mistakes or wasting time looking at homes that weren’t quite right for them.
See you soon!
2. Use Their Answers to Prepare Your Buyer Presentation
As Beverly Ruffner always says, “You can’t sell steak to a vegan.” This is why having detailed answers about your buyer’s needs and wants will make your buyer presentation much easier. It will allow you to pull together a list of properties they might like, or better yet, schedule a quick tour right after your presentation. After all, you already know what they want!
You can also skip the new buyer spiel if you know they’re empty-nesters who have already bought and sold five homes. You could even swap out the images you use in your presentation to appeal directly to them. For example, if they’re looking for waterfront properties, you could use stock images of waterfront homes in your presentation. If they’re looking for starter homes, you can use start home imagery.
3. Add as Much Information as You Can to Your CRM
To use another Beverly quote, real estate agents are in the database-building business. All of the value you produce as an agent is in your customer relationship management (CRM) system. This is why adding as much information as possible from your questionnaire to your CRM is essential. So after you get your questionnaire filled out and use it to prepare your buyer presentation, start using it to add data to your CRM.
Depending on how your presentation goes, you can even set up a drip campaign using your CRM to send them drip emails with properties that fit their criteria.
[Related article: The Best Real Estate CRM for 2021: In-depth Reviews & Pricing]
4. Save the Delicate Questions for Your Buyer Presentation
No matter how charming or trustworthy you think you are, odds are not everyone you talk to will agree with you. Some people are highly cautious about sharing personal financial information with a stranger. This is why we don’t ask delicate questions about income, savings, or financing in the questionnaire. Save those for your presentation, or even better, on your first showing. This way, they are less likely to think you see them only as a paycheck!
Questions about marital status or children can also be delicate and might even toe the line into fair housing violation territory. This is why we ask about preferred school districts instead. If you have a buyer with a large family, trust me, they will let you know in person.
Over to You
What do you think about our buyer questionnaire? Are there any questions you ask in yours that you think we should add to it? Let us know in the comments.