How to know if a buyer is serious: The people you may encounter in Guildford.

As you may already know, the process of selling a home in Guildford can be extremely stressful. There can be many complications and you can never know for sure if a sale will go through until you have given away the keys. 

It can feel like a huge waste of your time when buyers fail to commit, thus it can be very helpful to be able to spot these signs so you do not get your hopes up too fast.

Reading the intentions of property buyers can be extremely difficult. At one moment they can seem very sure and the next, they don’t. Although you may never know for sure, there are luckily some tale-tale signs to look for that might suggest that a buyer is uncommitted or not.

Who better to ask than our two front line negotiators that get to see the majority of Guildford’s potential buyers in the initial stages of home hunting, Christopher Thorpe and Alex Bethall.

Whether They Ask a Lot of Questions 

Alex has been with Seymours for the past 3 years, and spends most of his day speaking with potential buyers, and undertaking the viewings. He says, “when buyers ask a lot of questions regarding a property during initial house viewings or during the weeks after an offer is made, chances are that they are serious. Moving house is a big commitment and for many property buyers, a lot is riding on choosing the right home. It is understandable that you would have a lot of questions to ask in these circumstances as moving home is not a decision to take lightly”. 

“Serious buyers will often ask specific questions about different aspects of the property. For example, they might ask about running costs and past renovations. They might also ask what you plan to leave when you move”. 

“Additionally, serious buyers might ask about the local Surrey area. For example, they may ask about local transport options and schools and possibly even about the neighbours. Thus, if your buyer doesn’t ask many questions and shows reasonable interest in the property, this may be a reason to be suspicious”.


Arranging Second Viewings 

Christopher goes a step further to say, “If a property buyer arranges a second viewing of a home, this is generally a very good sign that they are genuinely interested. Doing so indicates that the sale is important to them and that they are potentially committed to seeing it through”. 

“Arranging a second viewing suggests a number of things. Firstly, it suggests the buyer is set on living in the property in question. Furthermore, a buyer will arrange a second viewing for practical purposes. For example, a second viewing can help them decide which furniture to bring to the new home. Alternatively, for families, a second viewing might help them to allocate who gets which room”. 

“A second viewing also assures you that the buyer isn’t buying the property on a whim – It suggests that they are committed to the sale and willing to engage in a meaningful way”. 

“A better way to make sure your buyer is committed is to see if they bring any new people along to the second viewing. Where buyers bring a friend or family member, this indicates a high level of commitment to the idea of moving house”.

Christopher has lived in central Guildford with his girlfriend for the past 7 years, knows the area well and feels that it’s now apart of his DNA!

Attitudes to Asking Prices

When it comes to offering on a home, Christopher and Alex will pass these on to more senior team members in the office such as the Sales Director, Simon Kelso. Doing this allows them to carry on with the job in hand, but there are several options that buyers have when it comes to putting offers on a house: they may offer above the asking price and secure the property. Alternatively, they can bid at or below the asking price which risks losing the property. 

Should your property be the buyer’s ideal home and they are keen to buy it, you can expect them to respect the asking price or bid even higher. Alternatively, lowball offers that are much different from your asking price can indicate a lack of commitment. Such offers suggest the buyer understand that they are at serious risk of being outbid.

READ MORE – What is a cash buyer?


Communication and Cooperation 

Alex also felt the perhaps one of the biggest indicators is the level of communication and cooperation, he went on to say “Buying and selling a house is always a lot simpler when all parties communicate and cooperate with each other effectively. Serious buyers will always make themselves contactable. They will also be helpful and willing to help throughout the process”. 

“Any delays in receiving paperwork or in responding to questions throughout the process can result in slow progress. This can also be very risky, especially where there is a long property chain. Furthermore, if someone else in the chain was to become impatient, they may wish to find a new buyer and you could find yourself back where you started. Fortunately, we have a dedicated in house Client Sales Progressor, Clive Gee who makes sure that buyers, sellers and their solicitors all communicate well to keep the cogs turning.

“It is often easy to gauge from early on whether a buyer is uncommunicative. For example, if they fail to commit fully when arranging house viewings. Should you foresee this causing further problems down the line such as for the important process of conveyancing and handling contracts, you should end discussions and search for a more committed buyer”. 

A Pre-approval letter from Lenders

Christopher went on to say, “fortunately we have an in-house mortgage adviser in the office, Chelsea Barnett to assist us, but one way to tell if a homeowner isn’t serious is that they make an offer yet fail to include a pre-approval letter from a lender. In these circumstances, it may be the case that they may not even be able to afford the home”. 

“Most serious home-buyers will submit pre-approval letters with their offer on a home in order to prove that they can afford the property. Doing so will also make their offer more competitive with other buyers”. 

“Pre-approval letters show that a buyer has been pre-approved for a mortgage and will be granted a loan to purchase the home. In the absence of this document, sellers should be very wary of entering into a contract that may only fall through at the last minute. Chelsea will always be able to check through everything though just to make sure”.

READ MORE – Why do house sales fall through and how you can stop it


Have the Buyers Listed Their Current Property? 

“Another way to help determine if a buyer is serious is by knowing whether their current home is for sale or whether their rental lease is ending soon. If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, chances are they are seriously considering moving into a new home. Although this information does not necessarily mean they will buy your home, it will at least indicate that they want or need to be out of their current location soon”, added Alex. 

Pay Attention to Body Language – How to Know if a Buyer is Serious 

Both Christopher and Alex agreed in unison that body language is a key indicator. “A more subtle yet simple way of assessing the level of commitment from a buyer is to pay attention to their body language. Furthermore, often body language can be even better at helping understand your buyer’s intentions than words. If the buyer looks nervous and tense, avoiding eye contact with you, you have reason to be concerned. Some tell-tale signs might include hands in pockets or crossed arms. Furthermore, if a buyer is genuine they will display a genuine smile when talking to you. An emotionless or disinterested looking face might indicate that they are not fully interested in taking the property or undecided which may result in them withdrawing further down the line”.


What Do Your Instincts Say?

While it can help to be aware of what to watch out for in a buyer’s body language, it is important to note that other factors can be at play. For instance, some people are just generally more shy and nervous than others which can affect their body language and communication skills. You should listen to your instincts when it comes to identifying a buyer’s intentions. 

If something about the person makes you suspicious or uneasy, there might be a good reason for you feeling that way. You should not worry about having to try and rationalise your feelings. Trusting your instincts may save you a lot of time and money if what your instincts are telling you turn out to be true.


In summary both Christopher and Alex agree that selling a home can be an extremely stressful process, especially if you are unsure whether a buyer is serious about their commitment to the home in question. Although there may be no surefire way of knowing whether a buyer is serious about a property, there are a few tale-tale signs that can help indicate any potential failures. 

For example, if a buyer asks many questions about the property, chances are that they are serious and want to know as much as possible. Alternatively though, if they act disinterested in their body language or fail to ask questions about the property, chances are they are not serious.

Ultimately, we trust our instinct and rely on our experience of dealing with potential buyers in the Guildford area. We’ll always make sure that there are other viewings prepared in case one falls through. Keeping these signs in mind will help relieve stress as we can spot uncertain buyers from the get-go.

Looking to Sell? Get in Touch With Us Today! 

Seymours in Guildford has over 30 years of experience in the town with Christopher and Alex securing the right sale price for your home.

If you would like free-market advice or need an instant property valuation you can trust, get in touch with our Sales Director Simon Kelso using this contact form or call the office on 01483 576833.

Sell your property with the experts today: choose Seymours in Guildford.