When you call your agent for the first time to ask about a home you’re interested in, they’ll probably ask you several questions to get to know you better. The most important question will be: “Are you pre-approved?”
You might think, “I just want to see the house. And if I like it then I’ll call a loan officer and get pre-approved,” right? And if they want your business they’ll come show you the house, right? Wrong and wrong.
Most realtors aren’t going to make that appointment -for good reason. Before you get offended and upset, you should know why.
- Your realtor’s time is valuable. Realtors only get paid if you buy something. That doesn’t mean that they’re being greedy by refusing to give you a personal home tour. That means that they’re being savvy business owners, who are not willing to take time away from their other clients (who are pre-approved) and their family in order to show houses all weekend to someone who hasn’t shown that they’re serious about buying. Having a pre-approval letter in hand illustrates that you’re serious. If you’re not sure yet, ask your realtor to set you up on their website so you can browse available listings online, until you are. This saves you time as well, because…
- Your realtor wants to show you homes that you can buy. Your loan officer will work with you to determine what price range you can afford, and what type of loan you qualify for. Your agent will use this information, along with other information you provide, to determine which homes will be the best fit for you and your family. If you’re looking at homes that are out of your price range or are only available with a type of financing you aren’t eligible for, you’ll be disappointed when you can’t get a loan for the home you fall in love with. This could cause you to be frustrated with a process that should be exciting.
- Home sellers have to prepare the home for showing. It’s not just you and your agent that are making arrangements when you want to see a house. If the sellers are still living there, they have to leave the house, possibly kenneling pets and finding ways to entertain their children while you’re checking out their home. (Don’t get me wrong; they’re signing up for this when they put the house on the market.) They do so with the understanding that people will be respectful of their time and will only make them jump through these hoops if they are seriously considering making an offer.
- Safety first. Realtors spend a lot of time in vacant or empty homes with people they don’t know well. This can and has resulted in tragic events. If the agent knows that you’ve provided in-depth personal information about yourself in order to get pre-approved, they know you’re safer than someone who refuses to do so. This is one way for agents to screen prospective bad guys.
- The seller will take you seriously. Your real estate agent knows that if you fall in love with a home, the seller is probably not going to accept your offer without a pre-approval letter, especially in the fast-moving seller’s market we’re in. That means that you’ll be scrambling to get your application and supporting documentation in to your loan officer and rushing them to review it before you can make an offer. The house could be gone before you’re able to get this pre-approval letter in hand. This is frustrating to everyone involved.
Your agent is a professional and wants to do the best job possible for you. They realize that this is an important step for you and they want to make the process as exciting, fun and stress-free as possible. Help them help you by following their lead and their direction. When you’re asked if you’ve been pre-approval, be sure you can tell them “Yes.”
I would love to help you. To begin the pre-approval process, call me at 210-269-1774 or click here to apply online.