Why do REALTORS® ask so many questions when all you really want to do is take a quick look at that house for sale?
We’ve all seen the television shows where a smartly dressed couple walk into a real estate office, and within a half hour have seen three homes, and based solely on wall color and the best welcome mat, they make an offer on their dream home. The end. Oh, I almost forgot: Three months later every person they know is at their house for wine and yummy cheeses gleefully playing Frisbee with Jake, the golden retriever. Now the end.
Just like lawyers who yell at the TV during legal shows, and doctors who would never dream of wasting their time on Dr. McAnything, no matter how great his hair is, real estate “reality” shows are when I get my eye rolling exercises in. Not only do real estate shows leave people believing what they see is what they should come to expect (granite everything and travertine walls) they set an unrealistic expectation of the home buying process. Give. Me. Strength.
Let’s pretend for a minute that even some of what you see on those shows is real – like the looking at a house part, and the buying a house part (and hasn’t everyone had a dog named Jake), so much information is left out that when real people wish to begin the real process of shopping for a real home with a real REALTOR®, buyers sometimes don’t understand why we ask so many boring questions. What about granite? When do we get to talk about granite? Granite comes later.
Here are a few of the less glamourous but more important questions a REALTOR® may ask, and why:
Are you already working with a REALTOR® or have you signed anything?
REALTORS® are bound by a code of ethics and most of us take it very seriously. One of the things REALTORS® do not do is poach another’s clients. We work very hard for our clients, our compensation, and respect one another as professionals. While a buyer is absolutely allowed to work with whomever they choose, REALTORS® must do our own due diligence to make sure we follow our standards and ethics.
Are you working with a lender, and have you been prequalified or preapproved?
Perhaps the most important first step for a buyer is to choose a lender and get prequalified at minimum, although preapproval may be preferred. Your REALTOR® will be able to give you names of lenders. Getting prequalified gives you and your REALTOR® an idea of the price range where your search should begin. Getting preapproved is even better; not only does it reveal any possible blemishes on your credit report that are often easily taken care of before you get into a transaction, and could be disastrous once you’re already in a transaction, it shows the Seller of your dream home that you have done the extra work to prove your offer is strong, with the strongest possibility of closing on time (versus those with only a prequalification.) Sellers love that! In a strong Seller’s market where multiple offer situations are frequent, most Sellers will not even consider an offer that does not have an accompanying letter from a lender. Finally, some showing appointments will not even be granted by the Seller if the Buyer has not been preapproved.
Are you in a lease or do you have a home you need to sell before you can buy one?
Do you have an agreement with your landlord that you may terminate your contract without penalty if you find your dream home prior to the expiration of your lease? Or if you have a home to sell before you can buy, do you have a plan to sell quickly in case you find your dream home? In a Seller’s market when multiple offer scenarios are common, it’s not unusual for a Seller to disregard an offer if the Buyer has to sell a home, or does not have a plan to sell theirs quickly, prior to being able to close. Sellers sometimes want to be off the market the least amount of time possible before closing; waiting for a Buyer to sell their home is not typically in the Seller’s best interest. So be sure to take the time to discuss with your REALTOR® a plan for when you do find your dream home.
If you are not currently working with a REALTOR®, I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the home buying process. And then when we’re finished, we can talk as long as you’d like about granite.
Would love to hear your thoughts! firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 317/752.6331.
Until next time –
By Angie Garard, talktotucker.com/angie.garard