Home Buying in 90065>Question Details

Kenny_a, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Is it true a real estate agent can not show me a house until I am pre-qualified with a lender?

Asked by Kenny_a, Los Angeles, CA Sat Feb 14, 2009

This real estate agent told me this was standard. I'm new to this process so I really don't know. He also told me he doesn't have time to see houses with clients until they want to make an offer on it. Is this standard too?

Help the community by answering this question:


I understand why this real estate agent would tell you that.
Real estate agents don't want to waste time with people that are not qualify for a loan.
Look at it this way: Would you want to work for someone for a month or even more then that without eventually making money.
I don't think its fair for the real estate agent that is working so hard to find the right home and then drive you around until you will really like something out there, then suddenly understand that you can't even purchase a home at this time because of qualification issues.
You should just get pre qualify with any lender out there or let the real estate agent refer you to someone he worked with in the past and let the real estate agent feel comfortable to work hard for you and make you Happy.

Good Luck.
Web Reference: http://homesinsale.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 11, 2009
Realtor(s) have a duty as a Buyers Agent to the Seller and the Listing Broker to show homes to only Qualified Buyers. I remember years ago when I purchased my first home asking an agent to show me homes prior to my getting prequalified for a loan. I couldn't qualify for any of the homes that my agent showed me which was a waste of everyones time including my own time as well. Most Loan Officers can give you a ball park idea over the phone so save yourself some peace of mind and call a lender before you start looking.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 30, 2009
wow...so many answers, but i have to ring in for a few tips.

First, don't listed to Dunes because he has no idea what he;s talking about. Sorry.

There is no RULE that you must be pre-qualified. But be very wary of any agent that would not make sure you are. All the real professionals that would be a good advocate for you and represent your best interests - they all know that they must first take care of themselves as well and make sure you are qualified. It sounds like this agent you refer to did a horrible job explaining him/herself however. And yes, agents are making sure they don't waste their time. And yes, that's a really good thing!! If you work with an agent that is running all over town with half of their clients unqualified, that's not good for anyone. And for your own good....the loan pre-approval process these days in not as simple as it once was. Before you go shopping, you want to be 100% sure you have the buying power to purchase and are ready to go. It's the absolute best way to start your home search. Good Luck!!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 16, 2009
Would you go car shopping with no money?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
That's to be expected. Would you go grocery shopping with no money?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 14, 2009
I keep reading this discussion and two question keeps popping into my little mind.

Why are so many agents soliciting the consumers here...call me, email me, I'll show you that property?
They don't know if that consumer is approved for anything or has any money. It's because they NEED business and that's a way they try to find it. Like showing a home.

Showing a property is a tool used sometimes to find buyers now or for the future. Any claim that there is some standard or test that has to be passed by the consumer to view a property seems slightly off.

I guess if you are doing so well that you can't handle all the deals you have going then having a screening process might be in order. Congrads to those agents.!!

The questions that pops into my mind....When Kenny does have a loan approved, why would he call that agent back? Are any agents doing so well that they can take that kind of gamble on a business opportunity?

Kenny, I stick with my move on, find someone else and go see the property....Dunes
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
I think a Realtor who is advising you to go to a lender first is much more professional. With all due respect, any agent who will go out and show homes without even knowing what you can afford is someone who is not really helping me and is stupidly wasting not only their time, but mine.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Kenny didn't ask "is it a good idea"... or "should a REA get me prequalified before showing".... he asked "is it true that he CANNOT show me... until prequalified"...

...and the direct answer to that question is "No, it's not true".

A real estate agent may have many reasons not to show you, and the fact that you haven't been pre-qualified or pre-approved yet, may be among them. But there is no hard & fast rule or law that states you must be pre-qualified in order to be shown a property, and the fact that your agent lied to you, is enough reason, in my mind, to kick him to the curb and find someone more interested in YOUR needs than his own.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
I don't think the agent lied. It might be HIS standard. It's his time, and his business and job. He sets his own policies as does any self employed/business owner. If you were an agent, would you go out and show homes to just anyone who calls you and tells you they want to go look at homes? I would definitely want to make sure I am working with a ready, willing and able buyer. How do you know if they are really serious about buying? The way I see it, if a "buyer" is not willing to find out where his finances are, and get his lending process started, he probably isn't a buyer after all.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL

To answer your question, the answer is no. That could also be viewed in a discriminatory manner by a court.

He dosen't want to show you a house unless you want to make an offer on it? That's crazy.

Get rid of that real estate clown now.

Also, you should do your own reseach and due dilligence and start the mortgage qualification process now. Don't depend on trusting a realtor to walk you through the process without any of your own research. It would be preferable to keep them out of the entire mortgage application process. But if you do allow the realtor (who is not a finance professional) to assist you with obtaining the best mortgage quote, at least do your own independent research.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
For clarification, when I said the only class not protected, I meant it is not considered discrimination to not lend money to a person who does not have an income. It would be like selling something of value to a person who doesn't have means to pay for it. I don't see how it could be discriminatory for an agent to not want to provide services to a person who can't prove he is qualified for a loan.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Kenny, the ONLY class that is not protected by law is a person who doesn't have an income. If you can prove by means of a bank statement, or a pre-approval letter from a lender, am sure any Realtor will be glad to work with you. And I totally agree that you should do your own due diligence and start the mortgage qualification process, and the sooner, the better. Lending laws have become stricter and a smart buyer will want to avoid an extended close of escrow, or a deal falling through because the lending process is not complete. Another thing: I seriously doubt the agent expects a buyer to make an offer on the first home he sees. But it makes just as much sense to go to a lender first, before looking at homes, as it does to see if you've got money in your wallet before you go buy your groceries.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Kenny, You are the one doing the interviewing and selection to determine who is qualified to represent you in a business arrangement involving a large financial decision and committment.

If an agent tells you what the above agent did, then move on and find another one it's as simple as that. There are many agents available and looking for clients.

Your responsibility is to be honest and not BS the agent. They have not been placed on this earth to show every curious person properties for free.

Armchair General, Dunes
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
I totally agree. A person who has been to a lender, is a qualified buyer. A buyer is business to an agent. But what is a person who wants to look at homes and doesn't want to get to a lender? The world will never know (just kidding). But if you want to know what to expect from a Realtor, at the very least, Google him or her. Look for past buyers reviews, then contact the agent.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
The quick answer is We ( Realtors) want be sure our buyers are qualified. It is a huge waste of time to go home shopping with buyers that cannot buy because they are not qualified or not qualified for the amount they WANT to spend.
So Realtors Prefer buyers to have financial justification.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
It is best to be realistic about your search and to know exactly what you can afford.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
haaaaaaaaaaaaa.... well it just depends on if this real estate is MR TOP PRODUCER even then im sure he would show you the property or maybe his assistant. Before I go way off topic here let me just say that it is most beneficial to every client to first come in to the office for a consultation. During which we ask questions to determine your needs and better match you to a home. At the same time our loan officer is processing documentation to qualify you for a loan. After all this is complete we can then go out and show you properties that meet your criteria and your monthly investment amount. I would hate to not show you a home that was only $5000 more than you'd like to spend because I didn't pre qualify you.
Web Reference: http://bennychavez.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 29, 2009
Kenny, just post a question asking to see a home and see how many agents offer to show it, represent you or refer you....All without any tough questions like.."Do you really have money?"

Despite all the I'm selling 30 homes a day talk many agents are desperate.. Go to activerain or any other site (This one included) and read the blogs, comments, ect... Lot of agents talking about nothing going on and formulating strategies sure to find someone to represent. No shortage of agents desperate for business. Find someone else, simple as that. Why should you on first contact prove something to someone you are hiring.
Ask them to prove something to you, like they actually know something........Agents use the word standard a lot, but it really has little meaning in this market.
I don't remember anyone ever stopping me in the grocery store to see if I was pre-approved or refuse to show me where the beer was or tell me the price without a loan approval. Why do stores have display windows?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 15, 2009
I would never go to the store for beers without making sure I've got money or my credit card in my wallet first. More so would it make sense to do the same when buying a home! It is a process. If I have money, then I can shop. And not the other way around: I will fill up my cart with beer, and then when I get to the register, I'll see if I can pay...really? And if I am only window shopping, I will do it by myself. Realtors use up their vehicles, gas and their working hours to earn a commission. They usually don't have another job on the side, and they live off of these commissions. They do not get them until the deal is closed. Not before. And they deserve more respect than to be seen as the person "whose job it is to just open doors". If you want to go see homes, it's ok to drive by. There's your display window. Want some more? Park your car, get off and peak through the windows. Am sure all homes have bathrooms, kitchen, and bedrooms.
Flag Wed Oct 29, 2014
Wow.. Kenny struck a cord with this one.

I'll weigh in on this as well as a Realtor.

It's really easy for a interested buyer to throw out an amount they "think" they're qualified to purchase without getting pre-approved, which I've always found to be interesting. Buyer's need to put themselves in the seller's position and ask themselves- Is It fair to the seller for the agent to show the home to a non-qualified buyer? NO! The seller is looking for feedback on their home and definitely not looking for sightseer's. I agree with the agent below, to the buyer who doesn't want to receive pre qualifications.. they should visit open houses to get familiar with what's on the market.

It's like going to a car dealer asking to test drive a car they can't afford to purchase. I'm not really sure why buyer's think the real estate profession is any different. It's a business also.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
Another point, it may be tough for a mortgage broker to close fast enough if there is something that needs to be cleared up. It takes time to get everything done, getting pre-approval improves your chance of getting your contract accepted.

To get pre-approved you need to fill out an application and provide some documents to your mortgage broker which could include: home address for the past two years, social security number, landlords for the past two years, name and address of employers for the past two years, w-2 forms, tax returns past two years w/ schedules, two most recent paystubs, bank statement past 3 months, checking , savings and credit union account numbers an locations, IRA/401K information and your mother-in-laws maiden name. You might also be required to provide debt info such as car payments, student loans, divorce decree or separation agreement, divorced personal debts, payments automatically drafted from your accounts along with an explanation for any late payments, judgments, liens to name a few. While these might seem lengthy all of them might not apply to you based on your situation and the type of loan your mortgage broker is trying to get you approved for.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
Hi Kenny,

To answer your question... no, it is not true that a real estate agent can not show you a house until you are pre-qualified with a lender, however it is true that some will not. It is also true that to take you shopping (which is what you are doing when you view homes) before knowing what your spending comfort level is, while it may be enjoyable for some folks is in truth potentially a waste of your time.

As for not wanting to show homes to clients until they are ready to make an offer on that home. That may be how some folks choose to do business but is not how I do it, nor how any of the folks I work with do either. The way that you have phrased the comment it reads to me that you are being told to go do your own legwork and when you have found what you want to contact the agent you mention to write the deal for you.

The truth is that a good buyer's agent will do a whole lot more for you than just help write up your contract. A good buyer's agent will do as much work before you cross the threshold of the first home you view as they will do after the offer is made and accepted. They will be able to tell you if the home is in distress (facing foreclosure or a similar situation), what the market is like and what the comparable homes have sold for. They will have also found out if the home has any other offers on it, will know how long it has been on the market and whether it has been on the market without selling before.

That being said, I have found that if I as your agent do my job effectively by learning what your wants and needs are, the amount of time spent walking through various homes can be minimized to the point where only two, three or four homes at the most need to be viewed in person before we write the offer for the home that is perfect for you.

Since you tell us that you are new to the process of home buying the best advice I can offer you is to interview agents you are considering working with and to select someone who you "click" with and who also knows not just the "what:'s" but also the "why's" of the transaction.

Thank you for asking the question. Good luck with your home search. Take care and have a great day!

Tisza Major-Posner, Realtor, IVPG Realty (909) 837-8922
Web Reference: http://Route66Living.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
You do not need to be pre-qualified, but why wouldn't you want to know how much money you can borrow? No need to look at any property you cannot afford, right?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 8, 2014
Kenny, as a Realtor it is scary to go show homes to people you don't know. 76 Realtors are assaulted/killed per year, nationwide.
As professionals, we get fingerprinted by the Department of Public Safety before we can even begin our careers.
The only way we can at least trace a person who wants to look at homes is through the prequalification process in which we kill 2 birds with one stone: the buyer begins the loan process, and the agent knows that he is working with a true buyer.
Although your agent is required to work in your best interest and for you; our code of ethics requires us to be fair to both parties, the buyer and the seller, too. A professional, high producer, highly experienced agent is worth hanging onto when you can see he/she will not bring just any person into a home where valuables can be assessed for a later break in. Does this make sense?
Getting prequalified first is a win-win situation for sellers, agents, and most importantly, you, the buyer. Buying a home is a process, and the very first step is to make sure you are eligible to get a loan. Looking at homes is exciting! But there are always open houses to go look at, and you don't need to pre-qualified, and you don't need a Realtor for that.
The agent has valid reasons why he can't show you homes until you get pre-qualified. . He is willing to give up his time, using up his gas and his car in order to guide you and help you find and buy your dream home. He has just one requirement as his standard of practice: please get pre-qualified. The bottom line is, the only reason why a person would not start the home buying process by going to a lender first, is because they aren't really buyers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 29, 2014
Wow. Many, many answers......bottom line is it depends on the agent and in some rare cases on the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2012
There are some agents that won't show you any properties without knowing that you're pre-approved and there are some agents that will. Some sellers require a pre-approval letter for your offer to be taken seriously and some don't. If your agent isn't willing to show you properties without a pre-approval letter and you don't want to get pre-approved then you should find an agent that will show you properties without being pre-approved.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2012
Being an agent does not guarantee I will buy my home from you. If you don't treat me with the respect I deserve I will go to another agent. The way I see it, I am the buyer and I have the control of the gold. If you don't like it, don't waste my time.

I believe most people are smart enough to use the mortgage calculators on line to come close to monthly payments. They can go to the Tax Assessor page to calculate the taxes for the year.

In the past it was the GREEDY banks that approved people for more than they could afford!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2012
Get a new agent! It sounds to me this agent is only looking for a sure thing. I have looked at many homes without "pre qualifing"!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 7, 2012

You need to find an agent you are comfortable working with. You should be able to ask your agent questions and expect reasonable answers. Every agent wants to show properties to a buyer who is ready to buy. Some people just take longer to make a decision! In this market things are selling in multiple offers so you really do need to be ready!
Web Reference: http://www.DotChance.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 17, 2009
If you don't know where to go to find a lender, ask another agent if they have any suggestions. You really need to be pre-qualified so that you know what kind of home that you can afford. It will save you and your agent alot of time. A good lender will explain everything to you. Once you know what the lender will approve you for on a home, the next step would be to start looking.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 16, 2009
Hi Kenny
That isn't typical practice of all agents, but you should get pre-approval so you know what amount you can get a loan for and which homes to preview within your range. It's hard to guess without the pre-approval, and your agent will need it to submit an offer for you. He should also be able to recommend a good lender for you....has he? Call me if you need assistance!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 16, 2009
Technically an agent can show you property before you have done the proper preliminary work, (ie pre-approval). However, a professional Realtor will most certainly not only assist you with the pre-approval but will also meet with you personally for a buyer counseling session to discuss your criteria before he/she begins to look for property for you. In addition, many professional Realtors will preview the property they find, so as not to waste your time with unsuitable property.
In terms of professionalism and best practices...It would be in your best interest to know, in advance, exactly what you can afford to purchase, and to work with a true Professional Realtor for your home purchase.
P.S. If this agent does not have "time" to work with you...there are many of us who will!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 29, 2009

It is not a rule or set standard of this industry for the agnet to ask you to get pre-qualify or pre-approved prior on taking you to the show the property.
now on the other hand the seller's agent could ask you to send in your offer with a Lender Pre-Approval letter. so you might want to ask your agent if that is the case.

We use a local lender that is very easy to get approved with, please see his contact info below.

Houtan Hormozian
American Guardian Home Loans
T: (949) 242-5215
T: (877) 242-5215
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 17, 2009
I am not sure if you have seen Roadhouse but Dalton says Be Nice he does a lot of things to people that aren't nice but always says Be Nice.

This agent could have handle this better. He could have pre-qualified the buyer in regular conversation.

Example: What do you do for a living?

How long have you been working at ()*^?

Those two questions qualify the job and the income depending on the type of job.

While an agent is not a mortgage broker and can't qualify them for a mortgage they can qualify them to view a house.Whether or not the buyer should be Pre-approved is one thing but there is also a better way to go about it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 16, 2009
There is no regulation that mandates pre-approval prior to seeing property. It could be an office or agent policy. If you are opposed and they insist........move on, someone will work with you on your terms.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009

Some good information below. I would like to re-visit your question from your perspective.

1. How would you feel if you fell in love with a home only to find out it is out of your reach financially?
2. Do you have the time to be led on a "wild goose chase" viewing homes that are either well below or well above your purchasing power?
3. If you fall in love with a home in the $1.0 million dollar price range and find out that you can only afford $500,000, will any home at the lower price ever make you as happy as the home at the higher price?
4. When you have made any major purchase in your life time (car, engagement ring, audio system, etc), did you set your expectations of what you wanted, then look at your finances, then shop around to get the best deal for the best price?

Buying a home is a major purchase, a major decision, and for many, a very emotional experience. Knowing what you are jumping into, before jumping, can make the experience much more joyful and fulfilling.

Now, regarding the agent you spoke with, obviously this person has a different communication style than you do. Do you want to spend the next few months of your life, sharing your major decisions, hopes and wishes with someone who, it appears, speaks a language that is foreign to you? Better to find out early that they may not be the best fit for you. What they might have been saying, although not in a language that was clear to you or to many of those who answered below is: (1) Find out how much you can afford. (2) Think about what you want in a house. (3) Communicate this clearly with the professionals who make up your Team (who will be helping you find and negotiate a great deal on your new home). (4) Then with everyone on the same page, lets get out there and find a home that fits your needs, your lifestyle and your pocket book. (5) And lastly, lets negotiate a great deal on this great home and make sure that you have a great loan to finance it.

If that sounds like what you want to do, feel free to contact me. Working together, we can make your goal of home ownership a reality. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
If you want to educate yourself on homes market tour open houses obtain an idea.

As with all professions you want a person is serious about wanting to purchase a home, qualified is first step we dont want to show $1 mil homes person who cant qualify can only purchase $500K home. All sales offers are submitted with lender approval letters, if not your offer is not consider till mortgage approval is obtained.
Web Reference: http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
As both a Realtor and a Loan Officer, I think you would be wise to get prequalified before going out to look at property. In my mind, it's like knowing what 's left of your credit limit is on your credit card before you go shopping. No embarrassing moments when you go to make that purchase and they bring the card back to you asking if you have another. But I think I'm hearing in your question, that you sense you're being "handled" and maybe a bit mistreated by this guy. I think I'd feel that way if a Realtor talked to me that way. This is a really big purchase, the biggest many people will ever make. You need to get comfortable and familiar with it. Go to open houses, interview Realtors until you find one you are comfortable with, but also do your homework about your self. Here are key things that will effect your ability to buy a house: Your credit score - the lower it is the less likely that you will be able to get a loan. Money to put down - right now about the lowest option everywhere is 3.5% for an FHA loan. Having 2 years of verifiable income that supports your price point after your recurring debt (minimums on balances not paid off every month) is factored in - you will probably need to be under 50% of your income going toward housing and minimum balance payments). These are the general guidelines today, God knows what they will be tomorrow or next week.

Right now interest is low and asking prices are too. It's a great time to buy a house. Spend a little time learning about what financing options are available to you while you're familiarizing yourself with your market. And find yourself a Realtor who will look after your needs.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 15, 2009
Technically, NO....that's not true. But it's to everyone's benefit ~ buyer, seller, real-estate agents (on both sides) to know that the buyer has serious CAPABILITY (as well as intentions) to be able to purchase is a BIG PLUS......hence, it's best to be not just pre-qualified, but pre-approved (which is still no absolute guarantee of actually getting the loan in today's ever changing world/market-place),
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 14, 2009
You need to get together with a lender before starting your house search. If your interested in talking to someone about getting pre-qualified or have lending questions then feel free to contact me if you like.

Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Feb 14, 2009
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