Buyer Be AWARE: The Importance of Getting Pre-Approved8/31/2012
There are many good reasons to shop for a mortgage before shopping for a home. Mortgage pre-approval arms you with both knowledge, and negotiating power. But a hidden benefit to securing a pre-approval first, is it affords you the ability to CHOOSE the real estate professional, instead of being CHOSEN by an inexperienced agent that is desperate to DRIVE AROUND lookers (which is what you are without an approval).
Have you ever wandered why some agents respectfully request that you speak with a lender to attain your pre-approval before physically viewing homes, while other agents are happy to drive you around, without a clue of what you can afford, let alone, if you CAN be qualified by a lender? Buyer be AWARE: the real estate professional that tells you what you NEED to hear (get pre-approved), as opposed to what you THINK you WANT to hear (no approval necessary), can very well be the difference in a positive experience versus a nightmare, causing unwarranted time, money, and energy to be expended.
With over 13 years of experience, I have seen the broadest range of responses from potential buyers when I advise that they will need to seek and acquire a pre-approval before viewing homes. On the face of things, it is simply good business sense to determine if the potential buyer is willing to commit as much to the business relationship, as they are requiring of you. In today's "world at your fingertips" assessibility afforded by the internet, pre-approvals can be secured with as little as 15 minutes of your time. Buyer be AWARE: no SUCCESSFUL realtor wants to invest even 1 hour driving to and from 1 house, if you will not commit to provide evidence that you are a viable candidate for home ownership.
On rare occasions, the request is met with warm reception. But the vast majority of times, it is met with hostility. Many potential buyers are OFFENDED by the request, assuming the real estate professional is taking a personal swipe at the individual's credibility. Agents really are not seeking to be rude or hurtful. The request is strictly business. Potential agent costs involved in scheduling 1 hour to show a looker 1 home at 5pm (because that is generally what they ask for initially) can look something like this:
1 gallon of gasoline: $3.50
Babysitter for agent's children: $20
Dinner for the family (no time to cook because you're out showing a property): $20
These figures can potentially be exponential costs, depending on how much time you spend with your agent and how many houses you view (which is always too many when you don't know what you are qualified to purchase). These costs are not even taking the owner of the home that you want to view into consideration. The homeowner is asked to leave the comfort of his home at the time that dinner would be prepared, so that we can look for the sake of looking.
Today's real estate advise to buyers, in a nutshell, GET PRE-APPROVED. Not only will you be a smarter shopper, but you will be treated with the time and respect that you desire and deserve.