Here's a Story of a Man Named Brady who was Not Pre-Approved

Real Estate Agent with Florida Luxury Realty SL2337465

Mr. Brady called my men-tee and said he was an investor who wanted to purchase multiple condominiums in the Palm Harbor area of Florida.  My Men-tee was so excited because Mr. Brady was a lead that she received from one of those websites that use our mls database to gain leads and then sell them back to us. (you know who I mean) She felt that the expense had finally paid off.

Ms. Men-tee called me to ask if I would go with her to show the properties.  This is not something I normally do with men-tees and I told her she was more than prepared to handle the showings herself. I followed up with "have you gotten their proof of funds?" since they were paying with cash. Ms. Men-tee says "no, but they said they were and investor" WRONG then I asked "are you meeting them at the office first" Ms. Men-tee says "No, i told them to meet me at the property". WRONG.


Here is the thing. When you have the person buying a home come into the office for a Pre-Approval interview, you have the ability to meet the customer, obtain their pre-approval or proof of funds, and get in-depth information about the home that the buyer wants.  I have my buyers meet me at the office and I have an entire package to go over with them just as I do with home sellers.  This puts me in a mental position with the customer as a professional who is is prepared and is in the home buyers corner.  Meeting the buyer at the home first, immediately puts you in the position of "door unlocker" and not highly educated and highly trained real estate professional.

After telling all of this to Ms. Men-tee ( for the 10th time) she says "but I don't want to have them come to the office first, it may scare them away".  Here's the thing, if they are not willing to meet you at the office and get pre-approved they are not serious buyers and will waste your time, your money and your sanity.

C.I.T.O (Come Into The Office)

written by Michael J. Gallo


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Travis "the SOLD man" Parker; Associate Broker
iXL Real Estate-Wiregrasss\ - Enterprise, AL
email: / cell: 334-494-7846

Yep, glad that you told her that so she doesn't waste a lot of time!!

Connie #15 - most of my clients are moving here for the Army Post, so 95% of them have good credit. They've never seen the area, so a quick tour while showing is usually provided. Still get burned once in awhile after showing several places, tho.

Feb 22, 2014 04:34 AM #16
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

In my business I always talk about the pre-qualified letter or proof of funds letter prior to setting any appointment. As for walk-in clients, if they are serious buyers they usually already have some kind of documentation to show what bank they will working with, even if it is just a business card. Especially first time buyers are encourage to meet with a lender first because I want them to love the home they buy. How can they argue? 

Feb 22, 2014 10:56 AM #17
Andrea HoffDomin
Florida Dream Homes Realty - Fort Lauderdale, FL
- in Real Estate always on your side!

Good advice for newbies. In the today's world if you have a few bucks in your account everybody consider themselves as investors. To be an investor is more than having money in the account and that rest is often missing.

Have a great weekend.

Feb 22, 2014 08:57 PM #18
Carol Tunis
Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage - Saint Augustine, FL
Carol Tunis...a "HouseSold" name!

Good advise for the men-tee!  It is also dangerous to meet someone you don't know at the property.  Sometimes, I will meet them at the property after a lengthy phone conversation, but, most times they have to come in...

Feb 22, 2014 09:42 PM #19
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


Selling second and vacation homes, I run into the quasi-buyer/investor types who on occasion, produce a letter of credit or varification of funds for let's say 300k. During the interview process, they describe for me the type of property and its amenities which costs upwards of 475K. Needless to say, they have allowed themselves to succumb to what I consider, a dangerous case of "undefined expectations." Verification of funds should no longer be considered a "rite of passage" for buyers, investors, or for that matter, real estate agents. Consider the following paradox, many potential buyers today perceive themselves to be informed or knowledgeable as it relates to real estate matters. This is based on the false premise, that infinate amounts of information is available on today's internet. Conversely, the "rules of engagement" as it pertains to the transacting of real estate, continue to change with frequency. For most buyers, the paradigm shifts involving the transacting of real estate continue to fall below their radar screen, as such, a widening void has been created between what today's buyer perceives and what is reality. Real estate practitioners who take the time to carefully interview potential buyers, verifying "customer expectations", validating their financial status etc... will find themselves becoming more productive while at the same time, reducing the level of stress. One of the keys to achieving success in today's real estate market, enhance your mode of operation by  "working smart - not hard."   


Feb 23, 2014 12:00 AM #20
Jim Harper
Atlanta Communities Real Estate - Marietta, GA

When first making contact with a prospect(or suspect), setting an appointment at your office; or assigning them some other task such as pre-qualification with your preferred lender, or funds letter, helps set the tone of the relationship. I really like the first meeting at your office. If the prospect does not follow through, they are not one and you know it. 

Feb 23, 2014 12:15 AM #21
Gloria Losie
Solid Source Realty Ga - Cumming, GA

Great post!!! So true. 

Feb 23, 2014 12:27 AM #22
Carol Fox
Allen Tate Company 704-905-3935 - Matthews, NC
Helping You Discover Charlotte's Best Small Towns

The man named Brady could also be a scam artist.  My BS antennae would go up immediately with a cold lead like this.

Feb 23, 2014 01:41 AM #23
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

I hope she finally realizes the purpose of C.I.T.O is to scare away the non serious timewasters, and criminals. Floyd Wickman use to and probably still does train agents to " C.I.T.O Everyone"

Feb 23, 2014 02:57 AM #24
Jennifer Barbera
Houston, TX
Real people, Real stories, Real solutions

I love this post!  Not only does it waste everyone's time is the buyer can not qualify, but it helps but it helps put the buyer's financial head on straight. 

Feb 23, 2014 05:41 AM #25
Yvette Chisholm
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. - Rockville, MD
Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500

Also, it could be extremely dangerous to meet a stranger at a vacant property.   If they can't sit through the buyer presentation, GONE.   They need to go find a door opener....and then in all likelihood, they will call their brother to write up the contract.

Feb 23, 2014 07:34 AM #26
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Michael, your men-tee should listen to you if they want to survive and be safe in this business.     You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink...

Feb 24, 2014 01:12 AM #27
Brian DeYoung
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ithaca, NY
Brian DeYoung

I would NEVER let my daughter go meet some man who had not come to the office to show his face first. I certainly wouldnt forbid my wife or another agent in the office , but i would STRONGLY discourage it. If every agent did the same thing it would matter if it scared anyone off, because they would have to come see someone! Agents DIE every now and then because of breaking this rule. 

My sellers expect people to be preapproved, and they will want to see proof of funds from a buyer.

And i dont mean a letter from Publishers Clearing House either..


Feb 24, 2014 01:50 AM #28
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

She also needs to think about her personal safety.  Most people are OK, but there are a few dangerous weirdos who you need to watch out for.

Feb 24, 2014 02:45 AM #29
Deb Espinoza
Stage Presence Homes, San Diego Real Estate - Ramona, CA
GRI, Broker, SRS,ABR ePro, SFR, CNE

Great post! words of wisdom that your mentee should take to heart. For her safety and sanity

Feb 24, 2014 04:49 AM #30
Jill Watts
Realty Pro, Inc. - Vancouver, WA
A Luxury Experience at Every Price Point!

A buyer consultation is an important thing to do. Our office has big screen TVs to show the prospective home tour on to the clients!

Feb 24, 2014 09:57 AM #31
Deleted Account
Fort Myers, FL

If it is an out of town buyer with time constraints, meeting them in the office first may not be possible.  I have to agree with Raymond, #9, I don't mind spending a couple of hours to please a potential client.  I will show them a couple of homes and get acquainted with them.  When we are done, I explain to them that quite a few homes require proof of funds or a pre-approval letter, so I would need that info before we proceeded. 

Feb 25, 2014 05:14 AM #32
Cynthia Larsen
Cotati, CA
Independent Broker In Sonoma County, CA

I hope you drilled into her that she should never, ever meet a stranger alone at a property.

Feb 25, 2014 06:07 AM #33
Helena Bigler
Century 21 Arizona Foothills - Phoenix, AZ

I agree with #32. Sometimes we get caught up, with what the client tells us. But without proper document to proceed all that time we spend with client would be a wash.

Mar 03, 2014 01:14 AM #34
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Qualify everyone. Most of the so called real estate investors I meet have no money and just saw an infomercial.

Sep 27, 2014 12:18 PM #35
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Michael J. Gallo

Florida Luxury Realty - Gulf Home Sales Team
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