With new changes coming from the NAR settlement, your first appointment and the pre-appointment ritual are going to be more important than ever. 

So, I’m going to break down some key steps (you’ve probably heard from me before) that will help you establish the appointment’s importance. 

There are two appointments in real estate, and both are initial meetings: 

  • The buyer appointment
  • The seller appointment

A lot of agents call these consultations. I’m a big believer in calling them “strategy sessions” or “planning meetings” to let people know exactly what’s going to be covered.

So with that in mind, before a listing appointment—or before a buyer appointment—you want to take a couple of key steps. 

#1—Send a pre-appointment email

I’ve been doing this for listing appointments for over a decade, and it works really well. 

After you set an appointment, record a video and send an email out with your resume, a link to reviews, a copy of the contract, and maybe some other swag or third-party endorsements for you and your real estate business. 

Make it a personalized one-to-one video that sets the clear expectation around the appointment. 

You should do the same thing for a buyer appointment, and I’m coaching this for everyone on our team:

  • Send a copy of the contracts out in advance for them to read. 
  • Know the mandatory disclosures in your state
  • Send a personalized video telling them what to expect during the meeting

All these things show you off as the knowledge broker and the expert. 

Imagine that they’re interviewing three agents:

  1. The first one sets the appointment and does nothing
  2. The second confirms with a phone call or a text
  3. The third sends out a personalized video with all the information about how they can help the consumer make a smart real estate decision 

I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the third. 

#2—Call to confirm the appointment

The next step is the confirmation call. These questions are really important.

Anytime you get an appointment, you don’t want to talk yourself out of business. You want to get the appointment and get the heck off the phone. If you start tackling objections or issues or things that may not even be on the consumer’s radar, they may just not want to meet with you at all. 

The confirmation call—the prequalification call—can be very, very important. So, let’s look at what you should cover on that call. First off, let’s just review the basics:

You’re looking for X, Y, Z home,” or “You’re planning on moving to [here]. Let’s confirm that’s still the case.” 

#3—Questions to Ask a Home Seller

For the seller side, ask the following questions: 

“Just out of curiosity, how much do you think your home is worth? And is there any mortgage owed on the property?” 

You’re asking because you need to be able to calculate a net sheet for them and provide full transparency on all costs.

Then you want to ask questions like— 

“Are there any improvements that are going to positively impact the home’s value?” 

You want to get clear on stuff they’ve done to the home that’s going to impact the value. That’s going to help you with your analysis that you put together. 

Then there are other questions to ask: 

“So if the home doesn’t sell, what’s your plan B?”

That’s going to talk about motivation. Maybe you’ve already identified motivation. You don’t need to ask this if you have a clear understanding of where they’re moving to, but it’s a great segue to some additional questions you can ask: 

“Are you talking to any other agents?”

You want to know this because it could change your agenda for the appointment. Is it a competitive or non-competitive appointment? 

You want to know that walking in because then you can adjust and pivot as needed. 

All of these questions are going to be really helpful because the answers will tell you exactly what you’re walking into. The more information you have, the better off you’ll be. That’s something we’ve been doing for years with listing appointments. 

#4—Questions to Ask a Home Buyer

So how do you flip that strategy to a buyer appointment?  

With a buyer appointment, reiterate their goals, and then you can get into some of the financial questions. 

“Just out of curiosity—in case you like the home we’re going to see today, or you see something you want to move on pretty quickly—are you planning on paying cash or are you going to be financing the purchase?” 

Don’t ask them, “Are you pre-approved?” Ask if they’re planning on paying cash or going the mortgage route. Then comes the follow-up question: 

“How much money do you have budgeted for a down payment right now?

(If they’re paying cash, you don’t need to ask.)

“Have you had a conversation with a lender yet? Fantastic. Let me know who it is.” 

This helps you get into pre-qualification. You’re understanding how the money’s going to work. 

Another great question to ask is “Hey, so tell me how have you been looking for homes so far?” Their answer will let you know if they’re working with other agnts or talking to other folks. 

So, now you know what they’ve done so far and how they plan to pay for the property.

And here’s the final follow-up question to ask:  

“Hey, so just out of curiosity, has anyone taken the time to sit down with you and show you how the process works and what these new changes with the NAR settlement mean for your home-buying plans in 2024?” 

If the answer is no, you can respond with “Can I tell you why that makes me nervous?” You can then go into objection-handling mode and explain why they need to meet with somebody to understand it. And if they haven’t, this is a great opportunity to educate somebody. 

The whole point of a personalized video and confirmation call is to show them you are serious about their business.

It also helps you know exactly what you’re walking into so you can have more effective appointments, which will lead to better client retention, more executed contracts, and more sales.