Home Selling in Tampa Palms>Question Details

Nicole, Home Seller in Tampa Palms, Tampa, FL

How can I verify if a potential buyer is serious?

Asked by Nicole, Tampa Palms, Tampa, FL Tue Sep 1, 2009

I want to try to sell my house by owner and I have a question for you.
How can I verify if a potential buyer is serious?
I asked him about prequalified letter,any thing else?There is any Internet services where can I verify if he dosen;t have problem with the law or something like this?
If he say that he has cash,dosen't look suspicious?
Thanks for help.

Help the community by answering this question:


besides being able to offer you "featured" status on Realtor.com and Yahoo.com/realestate... here some advices:

good luck!
Web Reference: http://www.hothomespot.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 2, 2009
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
Hi Nicole, your question is excellent because so many people trying to sell their own property expose themselves to many risks that they may not be aware of by opening their doors to and sharing information with people they don't know much about.
It is a well known fact that many criminals and scam artists use FSBO's as easy targets so you are doing the right thing by trying to educate yourself in this matter.
For example most real estate professionals will ask a new potential customer to meet them at their office during business hours and while others are at the office. There they will ask for identification, proof of funds or evidence of lender qualification. Since you are not in the business, you will not be able to meet people in an ofice so I might suggest trying to find out as much as you can about them before having them come to your home and I would never open my door to a stranger asking to see the property if I had not had the opportunity to check them out yet.
There are background check services available on line, however you will have to pay for that so again, not being in the business I would think you would only want to do that if you really thought you were ready to do business with someone.
These days, being pre-qualified may not be enough, you may want to ask that they show evidence of pre-approval or loan commitment if they intend to finence the purchase. As far as cash is concerned, in my owne experience I am finding that there are a lot of cash buyers these days, many of which are investors so I don't necessarialy see that as being suspicious.
I hope all of this helps.
Web Reference: http://www.jrsellsmiami.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
If a Buyer is serious they will have a solid pre-qual Letter from there Mortgage Broker and you can call and veryify with them. I would request that prior to showing the home.

If they are paying "CASH" - a currently dated letter from the Bank stated the funds available with contact information that you can call and verify.

Once entering into a contract, a serious Buyer will have no problem to put a deposit into Escrow....

If you have questions along the way, feel free to contact me with a specific Buyer and I can always advise you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009

A pre-approval letter unfortunately doesn't mean much unless the buyer has already given all required financial info to the bank/ lender... and make sure the pre-approval is less than 60 days old.
If the buyer is paying cash, get an recent asset statement to prove that they do have the funds to close.

In this current housing market, most serious buyers will have a Realtor representing them since there is no cost to the buyer for representation. Realtors will make sure that their buyer(s) are qualified before showing them any homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
NO doubt about it - a pre-approval and signed Exclusive Buyers Agreement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
Hi Nicole,

When a buyer makes an appointment to view the property you can ask them to bring a pre-approval letter. Tell them that this a prerequisite to showing the home. Anyone that is truly qualified will have no problem presenting you with a copy of the letter.

Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
...Proof of funds - point of contact at the bank - 2% of the purchase price in earnest money held by you, or the agent that you should hire - a legible contract with time limits, disclosures, obligations, definitions and rights..

You should probably hire an agent, because I'm quite confident that you need one.
Web Reference: http://intowninsider.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
If the buyer is paying cash you should ask for proof of funds, a current bank statement would be preferred, from a known bank. if they are financing, get a strong letter from their lender. Nothing that is vague or contingent upon pulling credit, verifying income, or cash to close.

Prepare a contract that requires a reasonable deposit to be held by a neutral party(title company) and keep the time frames for inspections and other contigencies short.

There are many ways to protect yourself and to determine if a buyer is serious but the deposit and proof of funds should be enough to give you some level of comfort. If they do not want to do either then you have a problem.

If you don't have a great deal of experience I'd suggest consulting a professional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
You may ask for a larger earnest money deposit, which you should do with any buyer. If a buyer is not serious, then they will not be willing to put forth the deposit, or just offer a small amount.
You can ask for a loan aproval letter, or bank letter of reference.
You may additional ask, since the buyer is offering cash, for proof of funds which should be a letter of cash on deposit with his lender, or an account verification where his funds are being held.
Most court records are now public and online so that you can search for judgements, or criminal, civil charges that have been put to record. This is done by court documentation and can be searched by name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 1, 2009
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