Why Do Buyers Insist on Putting the Cart Before the Horse?!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Lake Norman ~ Cornelius NCREC License #285201

Sitting in my office the other day I received an inbound inquiry from the switchboard.  It was a prospective purchaser that was relocating from one of the "family islands" and wanted to see a home listing we had.  As usual, I asked some qualifying questions to get a feel for the prospect's needs.  After getting satisfactory answers to my battery of questions I asked the most important question of all, " Will you be financing your purchase and have you been pre-qualified at the bank for a loan?"  You would have thought I asked the lady how much she weighed (which is a question that should never part your lips unless you are a physician)!  Immediately following the uncomfortable silence on the other end of the phone, she proceeded to tell me that she owned other property and that qualifying for a loan shouldn't be a problem.  That may be so, but I for one don't even put the key in the ignition, nor will I inconvenience my seller or another listing agent unless I know for sure that the prospect can qualify for the purchase price of the listing, or at least get real close!  After diplomatically explaining my position and offering to recommend a couple of lenders that could likely do an over the phone pre-qualification, she abruptly said, "I don't want to go through all of that, I just want to see the home"!  Well I'll be a monkey's uncle!  Let me just stop what I doing, call the owner, or in this case the listing agent, ask them to stop what they are doing and make arrangements to show you a home that neither you nor I know you can afford, and all because you want to circumnavigate the natural order of things?!?!  I was absolutely amazed, but regrettably not terribly surprised.  In this case, the interested buyer didn't want to bother herself getting pre-qualified.  In many other cases, it seems that banks would rather not go through the rigorous process of qualifying buyers before they begin shopping.  All too often, the prospective purchasers tell us that the bank said, "go find a property you like, get an offer letter and/or contract and we'll see if you qualify."  In either case, the buyer is clearly putting the cart before the horse!

Comments (8)

matt mason
www.ScvRealtyTeam.com - Santa Clarita, CA

nice info

(www.ScvRealtyTeam.com) You're Scv Agent

Oct 05, 2010 04:50 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Zack, it is frustrating, and it's one of those situations where an agent doesn't want to come off as being too pushy, but all in all, if the person isn't qualified, then they have no business in wasting everybody's time by looking at properties they don't have a hope of buying.

Oct 05, 2010 04:55 AM
Lennar Maryland
Lennar - Columbia, MD

Lenders are abused in some aspects because they do a pre-qual for someone and the lender they end up using is not them for one reason or another. I have also been told to have a property I am interested in prior to the pre-qual. This is where educated buyers are good. They won't make that mistake and they will get their money in order first. Be a teacher first and a salesman second. Your buyers will greatly appreciate your patients and knowledge.

Oct 05, 2010 05:01 AM
Robin Dampier REALTOR®
Coldwell Banker King - Hendersonville, NC
Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source

Yes, it can be frustrating.  These days so much has changed in the lending world re who can and who can't qualify.  As a buyer I would want to know if I qualify and if so have a ball park figure before starting to look at properties.  Otherwise it can be such a waste of everyones time not to mention inconvenience to the sellers.  Plus a downer for a buyer who falls in love with a property they can't purchase and from then on nothing else measures up!

Sue of Robin and Sue

Oct 05, 2010 05:06 AM
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services


Oct 05, 2010 05:21 AM
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Zack - Ok, seriously now.  As a mortgage gal in SoCA, I hear this crap line everyday because as the smart and experience mortgage pro that I am, I do NOT pre-qual every person who calls me on the phone wanting to know how much I can pre-approve for.  The only way anyone is going to get a pre-approval from me is to provide me with a boatload of documentation so that I can accurately assess their abilities to even get a loan as well as how much they can get.

But hey that's just me and I only close 94% of my loans and have very little fall-out because of borrower qualifications.  I assure you, these people can find some moron MLO who will provide them with a worthless piece of paper pre-qual that they got over the phone.  It just won't be from me. 

Oct 05, 2010 05:27 AM
Zack Bonczek
Keller Williams Lake Norman ~ Cornelius - Huntersville, NC
"Client Focused, Service Minded, Results Driven!"

Interesting reply, Donne.  It sounds like you share the same frustrations, just from the other side of the fence.  The point I am trying to drive home is that buyers that are serious need to know how much they have to spend before shopping for property. 

Oct 05, 2010 05:39 AM
Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

ABSOLUTELY!!!  And experienced MLO's won't pre-approve some stranger who calls them on the phone and provides no documentation.  Around here, most Realtors and agents won't even talk to people who aren't pre-approved because you can't make an offer without proof of funds or pre-approval from a lender.

Oct 05, 2010 05:53 AM