Getting Buyers Preapproved for a Loan
Buyers should always be preapproved for a loan before they look at real estate. There are so many loan products available that most people have no way of truly knowing what they can spend until they talk with a mortgage professional. Until they know their limits, it will be difficult for you to search for homes that suit their needs.
If you are working with buyers as clients, ask them to give the mortgage person permission to discuss their file with you. Seller's agents don't usually have as much information about the finances of their customers but it is appropriate to ask for written verification that they qualify for a loan in the general amount of the properties you are showing them.
If your clients are reluctant to get preapproved, remind them that a pre-approval letter submitted with an offer shows a seller they are qualified to buy. The letter is a powerful addition to any offer to purchase.
In some locations, real estate agents regularly “qualify” buyers to help determine how much they can afford to spend on a new house. That information might be helpful but it really doesn't tell you much, as the estimate won't be made using an in-depth credit history. Send buyers to a lender for preapproval if you want a true picture of their ability to purchase real estate.
In higher end markets, many of the buyers are savvy and have purchased several homes over the past few years. In these markets, the buyers know they are qualified and will be insulted if you ask them to get preapproved with a lender. Many of these buyers may actually pay cash. Check with your broker or another agent in your office to see what is customary in your marketplace when dealing with higher priced properties.