You can go to Open Houses without representation to "look" if you wish, however, when you really want to buy it is in your best interest to have a Buyer Agent represent you in your purchase.
Buyer Agents have protocol for working with clilents. Many have contracts and almost ALL have a Pre-Qualificaiton requirement that must be take care of before they will go out with any client.
You will have to provide personal information in order to purchase property, so it's not something that is being asked of you without a purpose. It's industry standard prochedure and nothing more.
Best of Luck to you!
If by personal information they are asking for your shoe or dress size, favorite movie, dessert or where you grew up, find another agent. If they want to know personal information regarding your work, income, available down payment and whether you are pre-approved or not; this is perfectly reasonable.
Agents get paid only after investing a lot of time and effort. A good, busy agent needs to make wise choices with whom they invest that time. Some may let anyone in their car to see any house, and many of these agents are out of business.
Having a pre-approval letter from a local lender will probably go a long way to shorten the question and answer question with the agent or at least make it more focused on what types or homes you want to see.
A buyer's agent should ask whether you intend to pay cash or if you are seeking financing. If cash, they need proof of those funds. You can black out account numbers. If you'll need financing an agent will want to speak with your lender or will recommend one. That lender will liaise with your agent to tell them what you can afford, and your lender will keep other information private. An agent will want to know you have proof of funds for the downpayment and closing costs. An agent might show one or two properties in good faith, but after that proof of a client's qualification is needed. How can they show you appropriate properties if they have no idea what you can afford? Agents are licensed by the state and undergo ethics training. If an agent is misappropriating personal information their career is at stake and if won't be long before they lose their license. I wouldn't worry about sharing personal info - agents are working in your best interest. Buying a property is a huge investment and the degree of information requested is commiserate with such an investment. Financial advisers are also privy to much personal information. First-time buyers are always wary of disclosing personal info, but it's what's needed to properly represent you.
Just as the client wants to seek counsel and guidance from the most qualified professionals so do these professionals wish to seek qualified and competent prospects. There's really nothing wrong with this concept.
1. Who are you allowing into another person's home?
2. Have you talked to a lender? (without approval, there is no chance to buy a home. do you work for an employer who might not be able to pay you?)
3. Is there an agent you are working with? (this prevents disputes and breaking rules)
4. You are being provided a service. Do you get to test drive a car without giving any personal info?
5. Homeowners have a right to know who was in the house, and if that person is in fact a qualified buyer.
Some agents require it, others don't. For those that don't, is that the agent you want when you are selling your house? The one who lets whomever in without knowing anything about them? Most likely not.
There are a lot of great properties currently available in the area, I would highly recommend hiring your own exclusive buyers agent to assist you with your home purchase, it will benefit you greatly!
Have a great day,
Heather Paul, Realtor