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Marta Marqui…, Other/Just Looking in Alexandria, VA

How much personal information about my finances do I need to disclose to my buyer agent?

Asked by Marta Marquina, Alexandria, VA Wed May 16, 2012

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BEST ANSWER
Hello Marta,
Sally is correct in that your agent will need to know what amount you qualify for, the type of loan and for how long (10,15, or 30 years?) if you plan on taking out a mortgage. A pre-approval letter from a lender is required when submitting an offer. And, yes the lender will be requesting a lot more financial information about you including a credit check, copies of W2's, and tax returns.

If you plan on purchasing with all cash; then proof of those funds are required when submitting an offer.

Good luck on your home purchase!

Laura Feghali
Prudential Connecticut Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Hello Marta:

We come across many clients who are hesitant to disclose their information to their Realtor. I would suggest that before you start working with a buyer's agent - interview a few and only work with someone you can trust and feel comfortable with.
As per law & code of ethics we have to keep all information received from our clients very confidential. Buyer's agent would like to know exactly how much you qualify = Loan pre-approval + down payment amount. These are the things I always like to see for myself before working with a buyer client. This gives me opportunity to serve their buying need & guide them in the right direction, saving me and my client a lot of time and unexpected surprises.
It's very important that you have a good relationship with your agent in order to have a smooth and worry free transaction.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Good Luck & please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

Best Regards,
Faiza Alvi - Realtor®
Prince William Realty, Inc.
703-389-7973 (Direct)
703-580-9995 (Fax)
http://www.house2homeva.com
PWAR MILLION DOLLAR CLUB - 2011

I believe:
Real Estate is about building relationships
& serving clients with honesty, integrity & passion.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
I disagree that your agent needs "all" of your personal financial information.

I have sold homes to friends and I did not need (or want) to know all the specifics of their personal financial life.....

All your agent needs to know is that you met with a reputable loan officer and have been pre-approved for the loan in wiriting.
The loan officer is the on who will need to know about more personal information and income.

Other items the agent needs to know are in regard to the terms that are part of the written offer - ie: size and timing of the deposit and amount of down payment...............amount of mortgage......length of time needed to obtain the loan............and the closing date.

Best wishes.......
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
agreed Debbie.. This question threw me off. I never request that information. I am not a lender.. and I prefer to keep it that way! lol
Flag Thu May 17, 2012
NONE.....a basic pre-approval letter or proof of funds letter should cover the need for financial information. Beyond this it's TMI.

Bill
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
You should disclose enough info to the agent so the agent can determine your buying ability.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
You don't need to disclose anything you don't want to. However, a buyer's agent will need to know if you've talked to a lender yet to get prequalified. The lender IS going to ask for LOTS of personal info about your finances. All your agent needs to know is what type of loan you qualify for, how much you'll be putting down, and that you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. All of this he/she can get from your lender.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Not a lot but you do need to disclose your financial status to your mortgage lender in order to produce a pre-qualification letter for your agent, which will be necessary to make an offer on a property. If you are planning to pay cash for the property you will need to provide proof of funds sufficient to cover the purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 23, 2012
Marta:

Your best bet is to get yourself lender approved. Have the mortgage professional build a complete loan package and have it underwritten.

You can then present the loan approval letter (commitment) to your agent. Your agent can discuss the commitment with the mortgage professional. This conversation coupled with the loan approval should be more than enough information for your buyer agent.

The buyer agent really wants to make certain that their potential client has the ability to close the transaction.

This should be the way that all buyer agents work. Unfortunately many agents are too quick to place buyers in their cars and ultimately waste a lot of time and GAS! (Its expensive!!)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 22, 2012
All that is needed is a pre approval letter to go shopping and submit an offer. You should not give out your social security number or anything like that. Nothing needs to be disclosed to the agent unless you are a cash buyer. Then proof of funds is necessary. On the other hand, I find that people who hold back information usually have something to hide and do not qualify. How you intend to purchase the property is fine but how much money you have and where it is should be personal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2012
It's up to you as a buyer to decide what financial details to give your agent. Your agent's concern is making sure that you work closely with a lender to get pre-qualified for any home you may purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2012
It's up to you as a buyer to decide what financial details to give your agent. Your agent's concern is making sure that you work closely with a lender to get pre-qualified for any home you may purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2012
Marta,

I too agree with the other comments; as a buyer's agent all I need is the pre-approval letter. The person you will have to be totally honest and opened with about your finances is the person who will be getting you the loan.

Expect to provide the pre-approval letter to your agent before looking at homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2012
it depends on how well you expect your agent to negotiate a contract for you. Many contracts require that the seller concessions be itemized so you will need a good faith estimate from your lender to see what you need covered. Getting a lender credit? Your agent will need to know what can and can not be covered beyond your normal expenses with that lender credit.

A simple loan approval letter doesn't tell me what expenses you will have and whether or not there is going to be left over money in the transaction to reimburse your upfront expenses like a home inspection, termite inspection (if you are ordering it) and your appraisal. Using a VA loan? Knowing your estimated fees will let me know if, should we get a few extra thousand in concessions, you can use the extra to pay off any debt. There is a lot of information that can be used that will help you. Simply knowing you are approved is good news to get started but many contracts require you to fill in your intended lender information, amount you plan on putting down and what fees, exactly, you would like the seller to cover.

What if there is the chance that you may be locking in and there is a lender credit of 1 to 2%? I'll write the contract that any left over cc asssitance be used towards a dollar to dollar reduction in your sales price if you are not VA and cannot use it to, say, pay down a car loan or credit card. We don't need to know how much you make or what magazines you pay to subscribe to but unless you are going for straight price and don't care about your money out of pocket, knowing more of your loan details will help us do a better job.

I just had a buyer lock in at 3.75 with a 2% of her financed amount lender credit. If you don't use that lender credit for items spelled out in our contract in advance, it's left sitting on the table). She had the option of paying off her credit cards with seller closing costs and using the credit for the closing costs or reducing the sales price accordingly.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun May 20, 2012
As a Loan Officer for PNC Bank in NY, I dont understand why you would need to provide your Agent with any information except your Pre-Approval from a Mortgage Bank. Unless your buying in all cash, have them contact your attorney. The Bank is lending you the money. The bank needs the information from you not your agent. I have financed loans in CT. in the past if you need anything please contact me.
Chris Miceli
Phone: (646)-623-2492
Email: Christopher. Miceli@PNCMortgage.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 19, 2012
Great question and many great answers. I see some that are way on the end of spectrums answering here and really it comes down to what you are comfortable with. I find that some clients are very comfortable giving lots of information and some are not. it is what you want, not what the Realtor wants. I will tell you this though, generally speaking, the more information your Realtor has to work with, the better the sucess is on the transaction, at least in my opinion. For me, if there is something that I need to know, it helps to be pro-active rather than reactive.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 19, 2012
notta! But it is nice that you can afford what you're looking at lol!

You need to disclose your info to your lender and then get the approval amount set but them. Then have them provide you with a nice uniform letter stating the amount and thats all you need. No personal stuff needed to be disclosed!

Hope that helps!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 18, 2012
hello Marta,

if your uncomfortable disclosing this information to your buyer representative, then present your loan approval letter or pre-approval letter. That is all most agents need.

good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 18, 2012
Your personal finances are none of your buyers agents business. All you need to disclose/provide is a pre-aaproval letter from a lender showing how much you are qualified for and or proof of funds if your paying cash. So when it comes to "personal" and the nitty gritty of your finances you need not disclose.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 18, 2012
Marta,


I ask what you have been qualified for . I sell homes not loans so the rest is really irrelevant. If you are not using a loan. Proof of funds in your name is your pre approval. If you are buying a home these things have to be provided to make an offer in my state. No one would take an offer without those.

vera
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 18, 2012
I agree with my peers - your agent will want to know that you are qualified to buy in the price band that you are looking, and a preapproval from a reputable lender will establish that. You do want to be very open with your lender - the details matter greatly.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 18, 2012
All your agent needs to see is a valid preapproval with the amount that your approved for. Their is no reason for your buyers agent to want anything else. I usually keep that between the loan officer and my clients. Hope that helps!
Heather
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Your agent will need:

a copy of your credit report ( the fist page with your scores)


Proof of funds foreclosing cost and down payment. A recent bank statement (with the account number blocked out will do)


Your pre approval letter from you render as well as your lender's contact information.

If you are paying cash the agent will just need proof of funds in the amount of the offer you are submitting, and closing cost.

Best of luck to you!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
I never ask my buyers (nor expect) that they disclose any of their finances. That is something that the lender reviews, as agents we cannot pre-qualify you for a home:) Of course if you're writing a cash offer, you would need to provide proof of funds, which is as simple as a statement from your bank. In terms of financing, we require a pre-approval letter before showing (at sellers request) and of course prior to writing offers. Therefor there is no reason for you to disclose any of that to me. If I have a pre-approval letter- nothing else is needed from you. It is your lenders responsibility to evaluate your income and debts, not the realtor. Of course the realtor could do some preliminary numbers or calculations for you, such as down payment, etc but nothing you couldn't do yourself.. There are tons of calculators out there for this purpose. In short, this is ultimately the lenders responsibility. Good luck :)

Bobbie
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
Ms. Marquina,

You have asked a very good question! Many buyers wish to keep their financial information private and a good Buyers' Agent will respect that. I, personally, require only minimum insight into my buyers' finances (whether they are able to make the down payment and closing costs) and direct my buyers to choose from one of 3 loan officers (I am able to refer) to whom they will need to disclose their personal financial information.

However, from time to time, I will represent a cash buyer. At that time, I will need to obtain current bank statements to present at the time of offer in order to prove my buyers' ability to pay cash.

Buy NOW ... while interest rates are at their most historical lows and prices are on the way up!

Janet
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 17, 2012
All of it. Why would you keep any information from the person who is helping you make one of the biggest purchases you will ever make? Your agent is trying to negotiate the best price for you and your situation. Without knowing the whole picture your agent is working within one arm tied behind their back. Explain the good, bad, and ugly with your agent that way there are no surprises. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Is this truly applicable in all cases?
Flag Thu May 17, 2012
Marta,

If you wish to have your privacy..a good agent will respect that..as long as they know you are qualified by a lender they are familiar with. Many times a lender will say a person is qualified having not pulled credit. Furthermore, a good agent will want to know more than the fact you are qualified. They will want to know if you fully understand what the payments will be and what the closing costs will be.

Also, a good agent who understands your finances and decision to choose specific financing may wish to guide you in another direction which may make better sense and even save you money.

Typically the only time I am not familiar with my purchaser's finances is if I know them and wish to respect their privacy.

Your question is rather alarming in that it sounds as though you are not on good footing with your agent..and perhaps you may not trust your agent.

If this is the case..run do not walk to an agent you are comfortable dealing with. Many purchasers stick around because they "feel obligated",. Look for an ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and make sure to work with someone you want to.

Good luck!

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf,ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
Re/Max Distinctive Real Estate,Inc
Erik@AskMeAboutHomes.com
703.216.1222
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Your personal financial information is between you and your lender. To even look at homes these days agents request that you obtain a pre-approval letter that shows what you are qualified to buy. To get this you would talk with the lender(s) about various loan products that range in features, interest rate, length of time, percent down, and you will select one. What you choose will depend on your credit rating, income, debt, how much cash you have for a down payment. Then the agent will show you homes in that price range. The price range you are looking in does not necessarily reveal much about your finances. Some people will be looking at the max they qualify for and others are more conservative so they can have more disposable income for vacations, entertainment. etc.
Nancy Lundell
Long and Foster
Vienna, VA
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Most of the veteran realtors can prequalify you based on your gross income, by determining your front ratio. If you are not comfortable in disclosing financial information to your agent, let the agent know so that you can be referred to a lender who will ask pertinent details to prequalify you for the purchase. The lenders usually have to know your back ratio as well, so be prepared to give the lender a list of your debts, copies of your tax returns, most recent pay stub and most recent bank statements. Once the lender has issued your preapproval letter, you have an idea on the maximum loan amount that you can obtain, towards the purchase. If you have other questions, please feel free to call me at 703-269-8706 or email me at LIbanez70@gmail.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Short Answer:
In order to write an offer on a property your agent will need a pre approval letter and they will need to know how much you are putting down, term of the loan, and type of loan.
Many agents, like myself, will not show homes to buyers unless the buyer is pre-approved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
None what so ever. You will need a lender (unless you are buying cash), so the buyer's agent will need a letter from the lender, typically called a pre-approval letter. Outside of that, it is not the buyer's agent's business to know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
The days of qualifying some one are long gone for most REALTORS. Years ago all of us had to do it. Now that FICO scores have come into play, there are too many variables -- so I make it practice to give the purchasers name(s) of loan officers who I absolutely trust to get the job done. The purchasers then contact the these lenders, figure out what is best for them, then give me a lender preapproval letter, which I discuss with them and ask them lots of questions - sometimes asking them if I may contact the loan officer to get more detail. When given permission, I do talk to the loan officer to discuss general parameters. Once I have an idea of of where they qualify and and any flexibility that they have within THEIR comfort range, I start looking and provide them with a recommended strategy for locating and negotiating a home purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Marta,
If you are totally pre-approved by a lender your agent doesn't need to know anything. If your agent is going to refer you to a lender then he or she will need to know certain things to determine who would be best for you, like the amount of your down payment, credit rating, debt ratio, that sort of thing. Hope that helps.
Best regards,
Karen Taylor
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Marta,
Legally you are NOT obligated to share your personal or financial information with anyone, including your real estate agent.
Having said that, a smart real estate agent who values his/her time will ask for a pre-approval letter to verify your purchasing power and your ability to close the transaction. The pre-approval letter is given by your lender financing the purchase so be prepared to have all the information required by the lenders ready.
If you are purchasing with cash, all you need is a statement from your bank showing that you have sufficient funds needed to purchase the property.

Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Vivianne,
Often times the seller wishes to know the terms of the buyer's financing which is usually stated on the pre-approval letter. The questioner, Marta, did not inquire what is legal but requested to know how much she should disclose to her agent. A thumbs down was not necessary on my response particularly since you basically stated the same thing as I did.
Flag Wed May 16, 2012
Marta,

Here are my feelings about your question. If you trust your agent to help you find a home, then you have to be able to trust them with your financial information. I never give my entire financial portfolio, even to my lender when I am personally purchasing a property, but I do know that if I am working with an agent, that they need to know that I have the funds to consumate the purchase. Of course, your lender can help you with that and provide your agent with a pre-approval letter. But my dealings with my clients ALWAYS go more smoothly when my clients trust me and use a lender that I have a personal relationship with. As, that lender knows that they will get more business from me if they do a great job for my client. Otherwise, if they use someone that I have not done any business with in the past, they have no reason to perform in a timely manner. Thus closings usually are held up and it is no fault of mine, but the lenders and it causes so much trouble.

I just sold a couple a home that is relocating and they told me upfront that they had the financial ability to pay cash but wanted to finance part of the deal so that they could keep some of their funds liquid. That kind of information was very helpful for me to help negotiate a great purchase deal for them. I never share my clients financial information to anyone else unless I am instructed to do so, therefore, if you trust your agent, and you should, then sharing your credit information and your financial situation with that agent will help them guide you through the purchase process. But TRUST is key here. Feel free to give me a call as I would love to talk to you about working with an agent you can trust. I can tell you that it won't be me as I don't work in the Alexandria area, but I can help you find an agent that you can trust.

Good luck!

Tina Beasley
Associate Broker
Envision Real Estate, LC
804-972-9927
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Marta,

Here are my feelings about your question. If you trust your agent to help you find a home, then you have to be able to trust them with your financial information. I never give my entire financial portfolio, even to my lender when I am personally purchasing a property, but I do know that if I am working with an agent, that they need to know that I have the funds to consumate the purchase. Of course, your lender can help you with that and provide your agent with a pre-approval letter. But my dealings with my clients ALWAYS go more smoothly when my clients trust me and use a lender that I have a personal relationship with. As, that lender knows that they will get more business from me if they do a great job for my client. Otherwise, if they use someone that I have not done any business with in the past, they have no reason to perform in a timely manner. Thus closings usually are held up and it is no fault of mine, but the lenders and it causes so much trouble.

I just sold a couple a home that is relocating and they told me upfront that they had the financial ability to pay cash but wanted to finance part of the deal so that they could keep some of their funds liquid. That kind of information was very helpful for me to help negotiate a great purchase deal for them. I never share my clients financial information to anyone else unless I am instructed to do so, therefore, if you trust your agent, and you should, then sharing your credit information and your financial situation with that agent will help them guide you through the purchase process. But TRUST is key here. Feel free to give me a call as I would love to talk to you about working with an agent you can trust. I can tell you that it won't be me as I don't work in the Alexandria area, but I can help you find an agent that you can trust.

Good luck!

Tina Beasley
Associate Broker
Envision Real Estate, LC
804-972-9927
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
If you trust your agent This question will not be on your mind!
Please ask yourself do you?

Monika
7036263327
Info@RealtyGeeks.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Marta,
The person that needs to know everything is your Lender! They will ask you more questions and need more documentation than you ever could have imagined.
Buyer agents need the pre-approval letter, so that they know what amount you are qualified for in order to help you locate a home in that price range.
With the pre-approval letter if you are not comfortable going as high as the lender has qualified you for, that is something that you will want to let your agent be aware of.
Take Care,
Diane


Diane Miller, Realtor®
Licensed in Virginia
GRI, ABR
Keller Williams Realty
6820 Elm Street Suite 100
McLean, VA 22101
O) 703-636-7320
C) 703-309-3555
Fax) 703-636-7301

diane.myrealtor@gmail.com


Redefining Excellence in Customer Service and Business Integrity
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
Sadly I dont agree with my fellow agents. All to.often we don't know anything about our buyer clients & in the end everyone suffers. If you don not yrust your buyer agent enough to disclose what is going on with your personal finances then you should chose a new agent. The lack of information never leada to success. As agents when anything goes wrong we are the first line of defense & the first ones to be blamed. I make it a practice to only work.with persons who know, like & trust me. Then they are certain that at all cost I have their best interest at heart. All the best in your endeavors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 16, 2012
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