First let me say that I this is not my first go round. I sold Real Estate from 1997-2000 and then got into the appraisal end of the industry. I have been an appraiser since 2000 and have achieved the status of Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser. I however recently got back into Real Estate sales which is by the way my true love (professionally that is, my wife of 27 years takes the title otherwise). So you would think I knew better than to take buyers out in Spring Hill Florida in Hernando County and spend a day with someone whom I knew was not preapproved. I got the old statement "approval won't be a problem" well I am guessing it was a problem since that well has dried up and communication is silent.
It is in every ones best interest to get an approval prior to even doing a search. For starters the potential buyers may actually be surprisedto find that they could afford a superior home to the ones they may have been looking at or they find their "dream home" only to be crushed by the realization that is well above what the bank says they can spend. I did a disservice to my customers by letting them get their hopes up about a purchase they obviously could not make and to myself for not only wasting time but time that could have been spent with my family or in helping others who where qualified to make a purchase.
It is our job as Real Estate professionals to advise our customers not only about a purchase but also how to get to the point of being able to make that purchase. I recently had a conservation with a future customer about prequalification and the reasoning behind it, she reponded by saying that she had spoken to several agents recently and none of them had mentioned this to her but that it was in fact the most important information they had received. People want to be educated and most will respond positively, those that don't probably are not going to buy anyway. Window shopping is for Main Street.