Can the Buyer Qualify for More?

Mortgage and Lending with Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

Can the Buyer Qualify for More?


"We're about to write a counter offer so I needed to check with you to make sure the buyer can qualify for a higher amount", said the listing agent.


"Yes, they will qualify for a max of $______!!", said the inexperienced loan officer who is super excited to be about to have a deal to work on.

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     "Clever" listing agents ask this question all the time in hope that they'll get a lender to divulge some information that may land a few extra thousand dollars in their seller's pocket.  Can you blame them when their job is to get their seller top dollar?  I don't.  I've seen some lenders get upset about this line of questioning, and some agents deem the practice "unethical".


     I think it's just a way to dig, and while digging is dirty work, sometimes you hit gold.  The bigger point, though, is that a lender should be able to field that question in a way that accomplishes 2 things:


 - Informs the listing agent as to where the lender's loyalty lies, without being rude, and without divulging anything about the buyer that the listing agent doesn't already know (except for the fact that the buyer is even more awesome than the listing agent/seller can imagine).


 - Sets the expectations for good communication with the listing agent, and shows a lender's experience and know-how to give them confidence in the preapproval and offer.


My go-to reply:  


     "That's great that their offer is being considered, they are really wonderful buyers (and people, if I truly feel that way) and I'd look forward to ensuring it's a smooth transaction through settlement, keeping you and your seller in the loop along the way!  Any conversations about qualifying beyond what's provided on the preapproval letter need to be a conversation between the buyer and I.  When we go to settlement, my goal is to provide a level of service and communication that leaves you wanting to work with us in the future, and this is the same response I'll provide listing agents when it's your buyer that we're working for".


     Many people feel that lenders and real estate agents are a "dime a dozen", but what separates the best from the average is experience, knowing how to handle situations and surprises, and how to maintain solid communication from start to finish.  I don't blame a listing agent for trying to discover "the goods" about a buyer, but I am loyal to my buyers and their agents, too. 


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Francine Viola
Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA - Olympia, WA
REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs

I'd like to think the listing agent just needs reassurances and isn't acting devious but your response is excellent!

Jan 14, 2019 04:25 PM #1
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello John - it's a difference that means a lot.  Some lenders and buyer agents like "spiling the beans"

Jan 14, 2019 04:42 PM #2
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, telling the listing agent how much a buyer can go up should not happen. You have a great answer ready-to-go!

Jan 15, 2019 02:59 AM #3
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

John besides telling a Listing Agent that my Borrower is qualified to purchase at the price he/she offered, my practice has always been and continues to be that I will not talk to a Listing Agent unless I have been given permission to by my Borrower.  Even then I want my Borrower to give me permission in writing.  I have seen LO's lose valuable Realtor relationships because of talking to the Listing Realtors. 

Jan 15, 2019 03:14 PM #4
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John Meussner

#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852
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