Do you have to be pre-approved for a loan to make an appointment to view a home?

Asked by Fallon Ferrara, Cranberry Township, PA Fri Aug 31, 2012

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Jocelyn Verb…, Agent, Canonsburg, PA
Wed Oct 22, 2014
Sometimes you do, but most of the time you don't. A lot of high end homes require prospective buyers to be pre-approved in order to preview.
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My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Thu Aug 21, 2014
In most instances no, but good experienced Realtors are busy and you should respect their time. If you're not pre-approved then the truth is neither you or they have any way of knowing whether you can afford the home you're looking at or even if you can in fact get a mortgage to buy a home. Personally I will only show a buyer a couple of homes before I've either seen a pre-approval letter or heard from one of my preferred lenders that they have spoken with the buyer and they tell me their actively working on getting them fully pre-approved. Pre-qualified is and and always has been an worthless piece of paper.
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Jim Olive, Agent, Key West, FL
Thu Aug 21, 2014
You've gotten some very contradictory advice here, and that's because it's a lot like asking who would be our president on the last election day...realtors are divided nearly evenly on the "correct" answer. You DO have to be pre-qualed to view properties with SOME agents...but not all. Even though I understand the risks, I'm perfectly happy to show properties to potential buyers without seeing their financials up front. That's because (like myself) I believe many well-qualified Buyers feel that it's nobody's business how much I can afford...I know I can afford it, so shoe me the darn house! I don't wish to offend those buyers by insisting they "show me the money". Yes, we might do some unnecessary showings that way...but that's the cost of doing business. I would rather show the house to someone who's NOT qualified than NOT show the house to somebody who IS. I've dealt with a lot of clients who APPEARED to not be able to rub two nickels together that turned out to be millionaires. I would not want to have offended them by demanding proof. Best of luck...
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Ernie Behrle, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Maybe not pre-approved but definitely pre-qualified. Being pre-qualified through your bank or a professional lending company is the only way you will really know what price range of home you are looking at. The difference between the two is that with pre-approval, all the lender needs is a contract to finish the loan. You've filled out all the paperwork, the paperwork was submitted and the loan approved up to a certain dollar amount. The good thing about that is you've then already cut down on much of the loan process time and are typically able to close earlier which is a big plus on your side when it comes time to negotiate. But.. pre-qual gets you in the door. After all, you don't want to get all excited about a home only to find out you can't afford it lender wise.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Question posted Aug 2012.
Still relevant.

When a REALTOR agrees to help a homeowner sell their home, they also agree that only qualified buyers will be entering the home. Owners do not want their home on the 'entertainment' circuit of lookey-loos, tire-kickers, and nosy neighbors or the competitor down the street.

This is achieved by professionals having an EXPECTATION that other professional are doing their job and verifying their buyer is financially able to make a purchase. This is STEP #1 of every buyer agent training.

As you can see from the responses, many buyer agents are failing to uphold their end of the expectation and parading unqualified buyers through the private residences of expectant sellers.

If I know you have not been vetted as a buyer, and want to enter the home of a buyer who has hired me to help them, you will not be granted access.

This is a business, not a hobby.
If you are a serious buyer, get your money in order, then start looking.
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Do you have to be pre-approved? Usually the answer is, No! But being pre-approved does improve your chances greatly for the seller considering your offer a serious one.

Agents have been schooled to make the best use of their time possible....this includes working with only buyers that are considered, "serious buyers!" Being pre-approved for financing takes the buyer's level of seriousness up a notch.

Just keeping it real!

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Sarah Jarvis, Agent, Richmond, VA
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Reverse roles and ask the question and I think you will find your answer. If you were a seller, would you want to vacate your home for someone who not prepared to purchase it? I think the answer becomes pretty obvious at that point.

If you are looking for information on the local market and you feel viewing homes is the best way to get it, then go to open houses or model homes in new home subdivisions and don't put sellers and agents into non-productive time situations if you are not serious about making a purchase.

That aside, understanding the mortgage process is pretty critical in making a good decision. When you buy a home, you are also buying the money to buy the home from the bank and you need to spend a great deal of time understanding the best mortgage for your situation.

We wrote an article which goes into far more depth here -
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Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Thu Aug 21, 2014
Technically no but you should be. The seller will want only pre approved buyers coming through the door, most agents will and should only work with pre approved buyers, and you should be sure the bank will lend you the amount needed for that specific home.

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Jocelyn Verb…, Agent, Canonsburg, PA
Wed Aug 20, 2014
No you don't need to be pre-approved to make an appointment to preview a home. However, it is wise to get it done before you start your home search. This will help you determine if you are able to get a loan, how much you can afford and what would be your estimated monthly payment after adding additional fees and property taxes. Also, if you don't have much cash or have no cash for downpayment, your loan officer can assist you in pre-approving you for Rural Housing loans like USDA. Not all areas are eligible though.
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Thomas Pfeif…, , Beaver County, PA
Sat Sep 1, 2012
No you do not need pre-approved to view a home but I recomend you get pre-approved before you start looking at homes. Pre-approval lets you know what price range you can afford and not waste your time or the seller's time. Pre-approval is very simple.
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Melissa Hill, Agent, Beaver, PA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
Most agents (and now even sellers) will require it. Sellers have to prepare their homes and get everyone out for a showing so they are starting to request only pre approved buyers to view their homes. Agents don't want to waste time and gas only to find out the buyer can't obtain financing. It's also a good idea for the buyer to start with a pre approval so you understand what loan programs and what payment you qualify for and are comfortable with. It only takes about 10 minutes for you to fill out and send a loan application so it's really worth the effort to get your financing in line first.
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Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Fri Aug 31, 2012
In most cases, YES!
But in this market, if you are interested in Buying, you want to be ready to make an offer at the drop of a hat:
The house you are looking at today, will not be available when you finally get qualified.
So you are wating your time, and everyone else's by looking now.
0 votes
Mortgage rules and regulations have changed and you never know how much you will qualify for until you apply.
In our market you do not have to be pre-approved to see properties, offers submitted with pre-qual letters are taken more seriously by sellers so it is better to have it before starting your search.
Flag Thu Aug 21, 2014
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