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Is potential buyer ready, willing and able?

March 18, 2011
By MARIO D'ARTAGNAN, Real Estate in Perspective

Ready, willing and able is defined as being financially and legally capable of completing a transaction, normally without seeking approval from or authorization of another person or party. This definition is the measuring stick that determines if a real estate professional is willing to engage a potential buyer or seller.

How many hours has an agent wasted by showing property to prospects that are not in a position to write an offer today? Part of the qualifying process requires the agent to ask the most important questions that will lead the parties to a bona fide contract. If the prospective buyer is merely looking, then this party is not ready, willing or able to complete a transaction, and therefore should be dismissed until such time he or she is prepared to write an offer.

I hear it time and time again from my peers how they spent two weeks driving a buyer around, the endless tanks of gasoline, only to have the buyer leave town with no contract in hand. That means the agent lost two weeks of production, the cost of gasoline notwithstanding. We have all been guilty of this false illusion that our prospect is going to write a contract. Unfortunately, we failed to ask the right questions before getting in the car.

One of the questions I always ask is, "Are you prepared to write an offer today?" And when the buyer says that he or she is just starting to look at properties, the meeting is over. I would rather lose the buyer in the first half hour of meeting, than spend two weeks with him or her and then learn he or she still is not prepared to buy anything.

If agents are showing property to prospects without seeing a lender's pre-approval letter or proof of funds, they are fooling themselves. What would the agent rather know - that the prospect is qualified before showing him property, or do you show property and find out two weeks later that the prospect is not qualified? The fact of the matter is that you do not ever get those two weeks back. It is two weeks that could have been spent with qualified prospects.

Frankly, I would rather spend the day at the beach than waste a day with a non-qualified prospect. The result is exactly the same.

Mario D'Artagnan is a broker associate with Paradise Realty, specializing in domestic and European clientele. He is a former Florida Real Estate Commission investigator, a former real estate instructor, and a published author. He has also been a keynote speaker on the topic of agency law. He is also a U.S. Air Force veteran. For more information or questions, contact D'Artagnan at:, or call 239-565-4445.



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