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Is it Inappropriate for an Agent to Request a GFE?

Real Estate Agent with LS Rogers Realty

Recently I've been searching for a Mortgage Broker and haven't found the Open-Arms reception I thought I should have.  Each time I call, it's for a specific home with an interested Homebuyer.  After providing all the details regarding the home and the FICO scores of my Buyer, I then request a GFE (Good Faith Estimate.)

Then the shuffle begins.  I've heard everything from, "I'll get back to you" to "Well, how much are you making in the deal" and everything resembling disgust in between. What I'm not hearing is the reason why an Agent requesting a GFE is Inappropriate or Taboo.

My usual Mortgage Broker has been ill and may be Retiring Soon. I've been spoiled. I revel in the Great Response, Great Communication, Great Loans and Perfect Consistency. There isn't any Question or Explanation I need addressing that isn't received favorably. I only have Good Intentions.

I admit I'm weeding out Predatory Lenders when I request a GFE. I'm not

trying to wear that Hat by any means. I've even been told repeatedly not to

 open that Can of Worms to reduce liability.  However, if I'm Aware my Buyer is

getting a Bad Loan and don't Speak on it, I feel I should be held Responsible.

If the Mortgage Brokers are offended by my Request, perhaps I've saved my Buyers some Heartache. 

I Can Live with that.  


Buyers or Sellers, if you or Someone you know, is Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home in Richardson or surrounding areas, give me a Call. Experienced Out-of-the-Box Thinking Realtor with Guaranteed Results.

Richardson, Plano, Dallas, Garland, Rowlett, Irving, Mesquite, Dallas County, Collin County

Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

I always have my clients ask for the GFE after the mortgage broker has had a chance to interview them and then we go over it together. While I may not know as much about their loan as the mortgage broker, I can usually figure out the costs to my client and suggest a second opinion (another mortgage company) if costs look excessive. Sometimes it pays to shop around. This decision is always up to my client.

Sep 16, 2008 04:18 PM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

You are on the right track.  Everyone who is on my list of "recommended" lenders is ready willing and able to provide a GFE -- and will do so based on different senarios.  I intereview the various lenders who approach me and beside asking for some assurances about their business practices and the health of their companies, they must provide GFE and willing to spend time with buyer.  Good luck.

Sep 16, 2008 04:20 PM
Tom Burris
NMLS# 335055 - Baton Rouge, LA
Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience

Congrats on the feature....


I wanted to come back and claim this italicized/copied post as mine. I was logged out for some unknown reason.... the grape juice I was drinking must have turned hard. ;-)

it happens



I don't hmmm or hawwww........

I simply state to the realtor: "Please ask MY CLIENT for a copy". That is a lot easier than bothering MY CLIENT to have them call me to give their permission to forward an estimate done in good faith to a realtor

Does my radar go up when a realtor asks for a GFE? Heck yeah!!!!! Because that is a sign that the realtor is 'steering' 90% of the time(in my experience). Of course, I am not judging you personally..... I am judging the 90%.

I really feel for this young single mother who i counseled recently. She was 'steered' by her realtor and made a bad decision. The realtor's 'buddy' lender told her what she wanted to hear. I told her the truth. In the end.... she realized her mistake and was too embarrased to come back to me. Her confession came later.... when she referred a coworker to me rather than the lender who did her loan. <= speaks volumes!!

While some may have their client's best interst at heart.... most don't! They only care about 'the deal'


Really... very good topic. We have different rules in each of our disciplines; (i am speaking to you as a realtor, not as a Mortgage Loan officer or Stager that you seem to be all of).


Sep 16, 2008 04:24 PM
Sylvia Young
OPTIONS Realty Group - Oakland, CA

I guess I'm spoiled too.  My Mortgage Broker is a jewel.  It's just as important to establish a rapport with a lender as it is the homebuyer(s).  All parties need to work together as a team, in order to get the transaction closed and everybody paid.

Sep 16, 2008 04:33 PM
Kimberly Dotseth
Blend Real Estate, broker/owner - San Diego, CA
Try Our "Cancel Anytime" Listing!

A lot of mortgage brokers, and I used to be one so I speak from first hand knowledge, won't go through the effort for a GFE unless they have a solid idea that they're working with the client. But the client should ask for one and not instantly on Day 1. Maybe within three days of communication, 10-03 in hand, credit run. I know that I have sent current clients to Lending Tree just to see what happens and have told them to ask for GFEs. (I don't do loans anymore because I like sleeping too much.)

It has been amazing to see the response from both retail and wholesale people through the Lending Tree system. Those who provide a GFE in 24 hours or less are my kind of lender.  Personally, I would only prepare a GFE if I had checked bank statements with my own eyes and run credit.  Commitment is mutual.  And I don't think I ever ran one and didn't get the loan.  It will not go to you, it goes to the borrower.  Please don't ask for it yourself. Have the buyer ask for it.

Sep 16, 2008 04:35 PM
Kevin & Maryellen Garasky
KMG Mortgage Group - Kevin & Maryellen, Idaho & Washington - Coeur d'Alene, ID
KMG Mortgage Group - ID & WA

Trunda - If I were you, I'd go with the advice of one contributor here.  I'd contact your current broker and ask them for a recommendation.  Lending is a small world and we all know someone who we trust and with whom we share a similar vision.

In your original post you said, "If the Mortgage Brokers are offended by my request, perhaps I've save my Buyers some heartache."  In my case, it's not about being offended, it's about not setting myself up to fail.

If Matt (an agent I have a close relationship with) calls and asks for a GFE and gives me the basics, I'll provide him with one.  In the states of Idaho and Washington (where I'm licensed) it's not considered an application until I get names, SSNs, and dates of birth (at the very least).  So, if I don't have that information, I'm not violating anyone's privacy.  Now, if I have that info, it's considered an application and other laws apply - as others have accruately pointed out here already.

However, if an agent I don't do business with calls and asks the same thing?  It's usually a waste of time.  They are only shopping around and, chances are, I won't hear back - so why bother?

Best of luck in your search.

Sep 16, 2008 04:38 PM
Scott Otsuka
Infinity Financial Mortgage - Roseville, CA

Clearly Trunda you had a good realtionship with a professional broker in the past and hopefully will find another soon.  I myself as a broker enjoy a teriffic relationship with a number of Realtors and do not hesitat to provide them with a copy of the GFE at the time I provide it to the the buyer, with their consent of course.  If there is nothing to hide then there is nothing to hide.  I make it clear to all parties what the loan program is and why, in my opinion, that is the best option.  When the buyer, Realtor (sometimes both agents), and the broker are able to work as a team the transaction goes more smoothly to the benefit of all.  Clearly you know what you are looking at and looking for on a Good Faith Estimate and I believe if you saw anything troubling you would ask the broker for an explanation prior to telling the buyer that they were being taken advantage of by a preditory lender.

Sep 16, 2008 04:41 PM
John Cannata
214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com - Frisco, TX
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance

Had to come back and congratulate you on the featured post.  This subject has started quite a few discussions.

Sep 17, 2008 01:02 AM

Many brokers don't like it when Realtors call for GFEs because it is a signal to the mortgage broker that the Realtor is steering or shopping their loan in the vast majority of the cases.  Others find it offensive, particularly those of us who do care about OUR CLIENTS. 

The Realtor isn't providing financing so they shouldn't be discussing the GFE.  The Realtors job is to sell the home.  Unless you are a lender and know all the specific details about the borrowers credit, income, and assets there is no way for you to legitimately review a GFE with any level of certainty.  I have lost count of the times I had borrowers steered by Realtors without knowing all the facts only to have to crawl back because the "in house" guy or their "trusted referral" source couldn't do the deal.

Brokers are often defensive of the GFE because when a Realtor ask for it, in some ways you are reducing out valuable services down to an interest rate and closing costs.  As many above have stated, mortgages are a commodity, however, the expertise of a good mortgage broker is not.

Personally, I find it offensive because I go into every new deal with the attitude that it is an opportunity to forge new relationships.  I am not immediately questioning the professionalism of the others involved and asking the Realtor the first time I talk to them to send over their buyer's agency agreement so I can review it to ensure the Realtor is qualified or not charging too much.

I also want to ensure my clients are receiving "the best deal" from their Realtor.  However, as a lender I am not double checking the Realtors CMA or whispering in MY CLIENT's ear that the Realtor could have negotiated a better price or saying call "my guy, he will take a co-broke of 1.5% and rebate the rest" which I am sure most Realtors would find offensive.  Therefore, reverse the situation and it gives a clear picture as to why many mortgage brokers are defensive.

It all comes down respecting the other parties.

Sep 17, 2008 02:42 AM
Michael Johnson
Carolina One Real Estate - Goose Creek, SC
Metro Charleston SC


We are the largest real estate company in the area and thus also have an in house mortgage company.  That mortgage company is backed by Guaranty Bank.  We have two underwriters working in our office that underwrite all of their loan packages.  Yes, I deal directly with the underwriters.  I'm not sure what goes on at your bank or brokerage.  This is the way we operate and it works quite well.

Sep 17, 2008 08:37 AM
LS Rogers Realty
LS Rogers Realty - Richardson, TX

Thanks for ALL of your Wonderful Comments.

Originally all I had to go on was Evasiveness, Defensiveness, and Personal Attacks. I could only draw one Conclusion from that. Now, with the Help of those who Offered, I understand the Position some LO's take. 

Sep 17, 2008 02:42 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

I think it's the agent's job to get the GFE!  The lenders I use provide it within minutes of talking to the client, and once we have a contract they narrow it down.  I had no idea it was an issue.  Silly me!

Sep 21, 2008 01:42 PM
Chuck Christensen
Your Financial Coach - Bellingham, WA

Patricia, can we please have the names of your lenders that, without delay, send you the clients personal information with out their permission. They need to be aware that their is an information disclosure form that the client signs that gives permission to 3rd parties and then they need to disclose any 3rd parties that they want to or not include.

Sep 22, 2008 01:11 PM
Chuck Christensen
Your Financial Coach - Bellingham, WA

Michael To answer your question, I work for a Bank now, but I previously worked for a brokerage. If your company ownes the in house lender, it is probable a broker that brokers loans to the bank...then the bank would underwrite them. Guaranty Bank is an actual bank and has branches. If it doesn't say Guarenty Bank on their door, they are a Broker, if it does, they are a bank and I am sure your Real Estate Company doesn't own them.

Sep 22, 2008 03:21 PM
Janna Scharf
Keller Williams Realty Coeur d'Alene - Coeur d'Alene, ID
Coeur d'Alene Idaho Real Estate Expert

Reading these responses has been very enlightening, thanks for asking the question.  I've been fortunate to have some wonderful lenders to work with.  Knock on wood...

Sep 23, 2008 06:32 AM

This is a good topic. I see very good points from both sides. Kudos for the gold star.

Oct 04, 2008 09:49 AM
Sheri Rogers
Power Rentals & Investments, LLC - Desoto, TX

When I bought my home, I expected my realtor to get involved in every aspect. So I say way to go! You're the type of realtor I'd want representing me.

Oct 16, 2008 09:23 AM
Chuck Christensen
Your Financial Coach - Bellingham, WA

Sheri did you ask your Realtor how to change the toilet bowl ring?

 "Point" I am not a plumber, but I have changed a ring before. But that still doesn't make me a plumber. I am not sure I did it right, but it doesn't leak now...which still doesn't mean I did it right...maybe in a year or two it might leak and I will find out I did it wrong...but then it is too late and the damage will be done and I will have no recourse. Same with the electrical...just because I can change a light bulb, doesn't make me a real electrician. Though I can always pretend to be an expert. And can probable convince you that I know what I am talking about.

Oct 16, 2008 09:47 AM
Russel Ray, San Diego Business & Marketing Consultant & Photographer
Russel Ray - San Diego State University, CA

I've never found a Good Faith Estimate to have any good or faith to it, and I always thought "estimate" should be relatively close. Nope.

Nov 26, 2008 08:17 PM
Chuck Christensen
Your Financial Coach - Bellingham, WA

The Mortgage is the Broker or Bankers job. The sale of real Estate is the Realtors job. A Realtor seeking out a Loan Officer to "stear" their clients to because the Loan Officer gives the clients private information to the Realtor...can you say "RESPA"?

Just because someone is going 20 mph over the speed limit, and doesn't get caught, doesn't mean that it is ok to do it.

Nov 28, 2008 05:28 AM