Question Details

Janell, Home Buyer in

Is it common for an agent to refuse to show properties until a loan is preapproved?

Asked by Janell, Tue Apr 15, 2008

If his time is so valuable he feels he can't waste it on me even though I have a great job and great credit, then how will he treat me when I am preapproved and want to get out there and see homes? Is he being a snob or what? Is this an early indicator that I may want someone else to help me buy my first home?

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First time out with me is basically "free" but I expect buyers to get preapproved by the second time. I've actually had people (complete strangers, remember) say "trust me, I can afford it." If I cannot determine they can afford a home I will not work with them anymore. It isn't about being snobbish, I'm a realtor, not a chauffeur. (I've heard of buyers asking agents if they can stop at that farmstand and pick something up.)
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
not as common as it should be. If you were selling your home you wouldnt want people who cant afford close to it's value to be shown the home. They could be casing the place for all you know. Just as buyers and sellers should know something about their agents, the agents should know things about their clients. Remember a preapproval isnt a complete background check nor is it a commitment. I have seen preapprovals given out fairly quickly.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
A buyer is setting themselves up for possible failure if they don't get pre-approved first. Loan programs are changing daily. It is very important to plan first financially then start shopping. You want the best financial counsel before you ever see the first house.

It is so difficult to trust someone with such an important purchase. Please communicate with this agent and see if you are happy with the response. If not then indicator or not you have to work with this person on what is probably one of the most important financial purchase you'll make. Trust is paramount to get the best counseling.

Good luck,
Susan Walker
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
Hi Janell,

IMHO, this is probably the type of agent you SHOULD work with!

As a Buyer's agent, I've made it a practice of having all potential buyers I work with get pre-approved before beginning the home showing process. This is done as part of the initial consultation that I have with the buyer. I have found that the better prepared my clients are... particularly first time buyers, the smoother the home buying process will go.

There are several reasons that you should be pre-approved before visiting homes for the first time. First off let's face it, your time and the time of any agent you choose to work with is valuable. There is no reason to waste YOUR time and the agent's time looking at properties you do not know if you can afford. It will also save you plenty of heartache, should you find a home you'd really like to buy... only to discover you can't actually afford it because you chose not to get pre-approved first.

Getting a pre-approval can be done quickly & easily and contrary to popular belief, will not have a significant impact on your overall credit score.

The primary job of a Buyer's agent is to look out for the buyer’s best interest. Getting the buyer a mortgage pre-approval is only one of many facets of our job and commitment to our clients.

Good luck with your house hunting!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
It is common among seasoned agents. Agents who don't ask for this are likely new and hungry. So they are afraid to scare any possible business away. Any agent who has been around the block a few times, like the other agents that have responded, has been burned by seemingly nice people who say they can get pre-approved. I am like JR in that the first time is a freebie, but after that I want you to show me you are serious about buying and have the ability to move on a property you like. Otherwise I am just throwing money out the window or should I say in my gas tank. Who would you rather have representing you the new hungry agent who doesn't care if you can get pre-approved or the agent who has been around for a while and knows their job well?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
I believe we saw less emphasis on the pre-qual and pre-approval during the days of easy lending. When it took little more than a pulse to get approved, that piece of paper held less value. There was an assumption that somehow, some way, this buyer was going to get a loan from some lender. No longer true. Since pre-quals are no longer being handed out like balloons at a fair, the pre-qual has regained merit. We will see more and more expectation that a buyer have a pre-qual or pre-approval before agents schedule appointments.

This is a smart biz decision for the agent, and good advice for the buyer. It doesn't make sense for a buyer to be looking at properties that are unattainable. Likewise, if a buyer is qualified and comfortable with a financial package that would allow him/her to buyer a property a higher price range, it is better for both the agent and buyer to know that. I think there are times when a buyer might look upon the agent’s request as offensive. As a buyer, I would ask you to look at this request from your agent as an acknowledgment of his/her professionalism. It is a disservice to a buyer for a Realtor to not help them define and narrow their search to the right set of properties. JR’s approach of one free trip is a good one!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
What is common is for realtors to ask if a buyer is already preapproved. It's not because we don't want to show property, it's because we want to set expectations so one isn't broken hearted if the house the buyer wants is out of reach.

Why look at homes over $800K if a buyer can afford only up to $500K. Why set up ourselves for disappointment. If a buyer is aiming to buy, the buyer better has a well-defined target to shoot at to improve his chances of achieving his goal.

I generally recommend that the buyers shop around for lenders (just as surely, they are shopping for a realtor to work withthem), There are so many programs for buyers that lenders are better able to design what is appropriate for that buyer's situation. Ditto for Realtors. Once we know the buyers' budget range, we can select the properties that meet their requirements.

Come prepared. It will make things go more smoothly and more efficiently.

Good luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
I strongly encourage my buyer clients to get preapproved before we actually go look at homes in the real world (as opposed to browsing listings on-line). If I am going to spend my time and resources to find and show my clients the perfect property, I want to make sure that they are prepared to make an offer once we have found it.

I am sure many agents can relate to a situation in which a buyer client falls in love with a house that they subsequently learn that they cannot afford -- it is both heartbreaking and demoralizing. Insisting that buyers do their homework is not only responsible, but also an admirable quality in your agent. Maybe he is just not explaining it well enough to you, but I would not be so quick to condemn him. Have you asked for clarification on his reasoning?

Many of the best agents out there are very busy with existing (qualified) clients and don't have time to waste on unqualified clients. Agents who will drop everything to go show a house to a potential buyer without qualifying them first are probably doing so because they are desperate for clients and just need to close a sale. I would think that an agent who just wants to close a sale would not be representing your best interests -- wouldn't you agree?
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
Get a new agent!

I can't believe you didn't get bombarded with people promising to treat you better yet. I would walk to another agent, but I'm just a customer. Then again, your just a customer. It sounds to me like they don't want your business bad enough to take time out of their busy day and show you a home. I would think that his attitude is to do just enough to get a sale. Will he only show you a home you promise to buy? Your credit takes the (small) hit, and loan shopping could affect your mortgage. Don't take a hit on that when you could just find an agent with some people skills. It's not like before when homes went so fast that you had to have the money in hand or the home will be bought out from under you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2008
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