Many times I’ll get phone calls and emails from prospective buyers wanting to view property…and view property ASAP.  As a professional, I always tell buyers that the first step is getting pre-approved.  Serious buyers are glad to be pointed in the right direction and be referred to a reputable mortgage lender or broker.  But buyers that hesitate to get pre-approved shows me as a Realtor that the buyer may not be as serious as they would like me to believe.

It’s like going out for a test drive without providing the dealership a copy of your driver’s license and insurance.  “Oh no…I have insurance, trust me, I have top of the line coverage…” Well, unless the dealership can have a copy of it, they’re not just going to take your word for it, no matter how nice you are.

The same is true in real estate.  Sellers count on ALL Realtors to screen their buyers because they want to know that anyone stepping foot into their home that’s listed for sale, can purchase the property.  I’m always very surprised when buyers mention other Realtors not asking for a pre-approval letter prior to showing property.  If I were a buyer and my Realtor didn’t ask for this critical piece of information up front…it would concern me and make me wonder what else they might find less critical when negotiating a sale.

Buying a home is no different from purchasing a car (except maybe for the price tag).  Buyers are screened to be sure they can qualify…if buyers don’t want to be screened, then they don’t get to buy a car.  And because homes have a different price tag than cars, buyers need to be prepared to be screened BEFORE taking the “tour de homes” with a Realtor.

Getting a pre-approval letter takes about 20 minutes and any good Realtor will require this; if your Realtor isn’t asking for it, they are wasting everyone’s time.  If a buyer shows me the pre-approval, I will show them property.  If not, I will not take a buyer out to view property.  Period.  I would never want to show a “caviar taste” home to a buyer if they have a “beer budget.”  That’s like putting a salivating hungry person in front of a four course meal only to tell them they’re just getting cereal.  Buyers will resent the buying process and the Realtor for not showing them the ropes and doing things in the proper order.  

In order to save yourself time, stress and anxiety, shop with confidence, get a pre-approval letter BEFORE looking at homes, and you’ll be in a much stronger negotiating position.  I think this movie clip will help you remember the first step when getting ready to buy a home.  Enjoy.

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