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    Understanding your client’s particular needs from the get-go is important. Naturally, some clients may not know what they want until they see it. But, by capturing a client’s requirements upfront, you create a shared point of reference that can be modified as you and your client move through the home buying process.

    Here are some tips to help gather those client requirements:

    1. Ask the Right Questions

    A needs analysis is your opportunity to get a clear sense of a client’s preferences. In addition to what they may be looking for in terms of style and amenities, you want to take time to learn more about them. 
Where do they work? 
How long is their current commute? 
How well do they know the communities they’d like to explore? 
If appropriate, what ages are their children? 
What are their future plans? 
How long do they see themselves staying in their new home once they find it? 
Is a purchase contingent on the sale of their current home?

    2. Review Financial Requirements

    Affordability is a key component in determining what properties you’ll be showing. 
Have they been pre-approved by a lender? 
If so, in what price range are they looking? 
Do they have money for the down payment and closing costs?

    3. Establish a Communication Protocol

    Find out what your client’s communication preferences are — phone, email, text? What hours are best for them?

    4. Listen

    Listen carefully and document all requirements and preferences. As you begin showing properties, take note of likes and dislikes. This is where the small details emerge that will help you find that “right” home for them.
 What did they find most appealing? 
What amenities could they live without?
 Are there trade-offs they’d be willing to make?
 They didn’t like the house, but loved the east-facing kitchen with a breakfast nook. 
They liked the house, but the property was too small.

    5. Keep on Ttop of Trends

    Whether it’s stainless steel or mid-century modern, you need to keep up with current styles and trends.

    6. Refer to Original Requirements

    After each showing, take time to get feedback. Circle back to the original requirements and fine tune the list based on that feedback. Ask if they agree with your observations.

    7. Get a Referral

    Once you and your client have found the home they’ve been looking for, use the list of requirements as a benchmark for rating your performance. Note where they were willing to compromise and identify any obstacles you were able to overcome during the process. If they’re happy, would they be willing to give you a referral?

    The Bottom Line

    Performing a needs analysis at the outset will save you a lot of time. You’ll immediately know what properties to omit and have a clear idea of a client’s primary criteria. Listening carefully during showings will bring out the nuance of a buyer’s needs. Giving you the information and details you need to make a successful sale and a satisfied client.

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