Nowadays, with prices seemingly falling each month, foreclosures flooding the market and a limited pool of interested buyers... doesn't make too much sense. Unless the home owner requested or agreed to those terms with their agent.
I'm curious if seller agents disclose the fact they won't show to non-prequalified prospective buyers. If I was a seller in this market, I wouldn't be thrilled to find out possible leads were being turned away (even acknowledging the fact a prequalified prospect represents a better lead).
I appreciate your response, I would have to say that after being shown a few houses it would make sense that it's time to get prequalified.
I will bet you are getting more referrals and making more sales by being more flexible with your clients and showing homes without requiring prequalification. As you said, it is more than just having paperwork in hand, it is a matter of establishing a relationship with each other. First impressions are lasting, I personally don't want to work with an agent who is inflexible from the start - to me it is a glimpse of things to come. In the past, agents would show a home if you were interested and they still made their commission.
As I have stated, I have purchased homes in the past and never had agents ask me to prequalify before they would show me the house. Your answers don't make much sense, as I stated - I now have an agent who not only showed me the home in question but, who I am meeting with again this week so, he can show me a few more.
There are no guarantees with potential buyers, even ones who have been prequalified. It doesn't mean that the first house you show them is going to be the house they want to buy and that is my point. The agents who make stipulations before I even see a home are not going to get my business. An agent may have to show many homes to a client before making a sale, that is not "jumping through hoops" - it is part of the job. It's not my problem if you don't understand that, it seems to me that you're the one with the attitude.
I will personally show somebody a home even if he/she is not pre-approved. This is against a lot of Realtor's instinct, but I do that.
I think a customer has some idea about what they can and/or want to afford and definitely have some ideas about what they might want and will go and look at those homes they found that might interest them.
When I show them the house, this will be a great opportunity for me to get to know them, to find out their specific situation - financial, family situation, wants, needs, commute requirement, time frame, etc. After showing them a few homes then I would really want to have them go and get pre-approved.
By then, it will become obvious whether their search criteria is realistic or not and they can then fine-tune the searches according to the situation they have.
It's easier if they are overqualified, but it's much harder if they can't afford the house even if they work on it for a period of time - it will then truly become a waste of time for both parties.
That's why you would want to be pre-approved, perhaps not when you see the first house, but after a few. And that is definitely reasonable to ask.
In recent years anyone with a pulse could qualify for a loan. Therefore, it's a shock to many would be forclosures that they won't qualify for that half million dollar home on $30k/year. The problem is that real estate agents, brokers, and the rest of them spent the last 5 years screaming from every outlet they could find that people not only would qualify, but could afford it. Now, when a responsible buyer with a budget doesn't want to go jump through hoops (yea buyers markets) , the agents don't want to miss a rerun episode of Biggest Loser. The agent wants to make sure it's not one of those people they told last year to come look at that house. You did the right thing by finding an agent that met your goals.
In addition to the safety issue, he also pointed out that asking about pre-qualification is taught in class and by an agent's mentors in this field. It is not a SOP because the goal of agents is to alienate potential clients.
It is an SOP because experience has proven it to be a useful tool.
It is not a lack of flexibility. And it does not bode poorly for the relationship with the agent. It shows that the agent wants to know you are serious and tells the agent how to best find you the home you want & can afford.
Showing homes is not like selling cars on a lot - not even close. There is so much more work and time involved. Work, as Glen pointed out, that cuts across all hours and cuts into time with family & friends. And don't forget the out of pocket expenses of driving all over town. Of course, this is part of the job, but an agent has every right to make sure these sacrifices are being made for a serious buyer.
I just cannot understand impatience and hostility over being asked about pre-qualification. And how is it not someone's best interest to get pre-qualified early in the game?
Agents provide a professional service. They are not professional servants. Of course, they work for their clients, but they have the same rights as their potential clients to set parameters.
Thank you for the confidence vote. I do have to say that I have been blessed with wonderful clients even in this market. And especially in this market, we all have to work extra hard.
Glen - I completely agree with you on the safety issue and really appreciate that you mentioned it - I would be amiss otherwise.
However, Mari's question is about whether an agent should show a house to a buyer if the buyer has not been pre-qualified yet, not whether an agent should show a house to a complete stranger and/or under potential dangerous situation. Safety issue when showing houses is a completely different question then the one Mari posted.
I will only show somebody homes under safe situation. As you said, nothing is worth risking that!
In the past, maybe agents didn't ask about pre-qualification because (as Jared pointed out) anybody with a pulse could get a loan. Agents did not have to worry about buyers pre-qualifying and now they do.
With tighter lending standards, people are not going to qualify for the large loans they could have five years ago. Not all buyers realize it yet, especially if they haven't pre-qualified.
I don't understand why a buyer would get upset by being asked about pre-qualification.
However, I do not think it is insulting for an agent to ask you if you have already pre-qualifed and for what amount. The only way they can do their job properly and efficiently is if they know what price range to show you.
If you have an agent show you homes that you do not qualify for, you are wasting his or her time and the seller's time.
If I were an agent, I would ask a potential client if they were pre-qualified. It's the basic, common sense starting. Would it be a deal-breaker if they weren't? Only if they got upset that I asked.
There is no reason for you to be so upset that agents won't show you properties. My guess is that the reason agents are turning you away in this market has to do more with your attitude than the missing paperwork.
Cassellis, your response:
" Responsibile home buyers go through the basic steps before asking agents and sellers to jump through hoops for them"
was a little ridiculous. I am not asking anyone to jump through hoops, I just wanted to see one property that's all. I liken it to going to a car lot where you are looking for a car - are you going to be okay with the car dealer asking you to provide proof that you can buy the car before they'll show it to you? Of course not, that is ridiculous too.
By the way, I am already a home owner, and in the past the real estate agents I have dealt with never insulted me by asking me to provide proof that I can buy the house before I have even seen it. I am currently looking to buy another house as an investment. Thankfully, I have found a helpful agent , I am very glad I am not doing business with you especially if you think showing homes (which is your job) is jumping through hoops.
Responsible home buyers go through the basic steps before asking agents and sellers to jump through hoops for them.
While it is fun to shop, stick to open houses until you get pre-qualified.
Although you may consider this process as putting the cart before the horse, you will love your agent for insisting on having you prequalified since in real estate "time is of the essence", once you made an offer on the property- the seller represented by the listing agent is expecting that you can continue to escrow once you make an offer and that escrow will close on time with no problem. The single hurdle for a buyer to consummate the sale is the having your loan approved but since you are done with that process, then you are 75% home free in closing your escrow successfully.
1. How do they know you are serious & aren't just window shopping? Previewing & showing homes is a time-consuming task. And if you are not truly serious you are wasting the time of a lot of people.
2. How do they know what price range you qualify for, not just what you think you qualify for?
3. If a potential client seemed hostile about simply getting the pre-qualification paperwork, I'd be worried that they may be the kind of client who is unfocused, undecided, and likely to back out at the last minute.
Best of luck in your search. Glen