I have had several first-time home buyers call me lately wanting to go look at homes. Great! I’ll go show a home, meet the potential buyers, get to know them, discuss what they really want in a new home, and get excited with them about finding a new place to live. Then I ask them if they’ve talked with a lender. Most have not.
I know it’s exciting to look at homes. I know that it’s fun to imagine your furniture in the rooms and think about moving your family to a new place. But…you have to know what you can afford, and you have to be able to PAY for the house! And…if you ever want to make an offer on a home, you need a pre-approval letter from a lender accompanying your offer.
I’m not sure why it’s so hard for new potential buyers to make a phone call or two and talk with a lender, but apparently it is. Maybe they don’t know the questions to ask, or maybe they don’t want to be told that they can’t get pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-qualified takes about 20 minutes with a lender. They’ll ask about your savings, your debts, your employment status and they will run a credit check. I usually advise talking with at least 2-3 different lenders to compare rates and fees. I suggest the Buyers call their personal bank, and I’ll recommend a couple of other reputable lenders if they don’t know who to call. But getting them to make that call or set the appointment to go see the loan officer is like pulling teeth! Why?
Here is an example of what seems to be happening a lot lately….I showed homes one night and the buyer found one he liked. I asked him to talk with a lender if he’d like to make an offer as we would need the pre-approval letter if the offer was going to be seriously considered. He said okay. A few days later I hadn’t heard from him, so I called and he wanted to look at a few more homes. I agreed and when we met I asked if he had spoken with a lender. He had not. I asked if he was serious about writing an offer on a home when he found ‘the one’. He assured me he was. Well, another week went by and he called about seeing a few more homes. Again I asked if he had seen a loan officer and he had not. This time I told him that he needed to have that talk, and get pre-qualified, or he was wasting my time and his time, and putting out the home owners who were allowing us to see their homes for showings. I may have lost a potential buyer, but I’ve come to the conclusion that someone who is serious about buying a home will make the effort needed to get things in place to make it happen.
I can show homes until we’ve seen every house in town, but unless the Buyer can get pre-approved for a mortgage loan, or come up with the cash, we are all just wasting our time.
Get pre-approved, Buyers!!