Ozaukee & Washington County Real Estate: How Come You Back Off Every Time I Ask You About Your Pre-Approval?

Find out more about Ozaukee and Washington County real estate, including the cities of Grafton, Belgium, Cedarburg, West Bend, Jackson and Germantown.

How Come You Back Off Every Time I Ask You About Your Pre-Approval?

I think I've written about this topic in the past, but because of some recent happenings, I think it bears repeating.

The first step to buying a house is to get pre-approved.

mortgage pre-approval

I know some buyers out there don't want to hear that. You just want to get a taste of what's on the market. What can you get for $150,000? What can you get for $200,000? What can you get for $250,000?

But the bottom line is, it's too risky for me to take the time to search the market for you, to email listings to you, and to drive around showing houses to you if we don't know how much the bank will loan you. And it makes me wonder if perhaps you're not as serious about buying a house as I might have thought you are.

And there's a risk for you, as well. You could walk through a house that you fall in love with only to learn you don't qualify for the price point. Or worse, you could write an offer on a house only to have the seller reject you because you aren't pre-approved.

It's worth it to take the time to talk to your lender about what's affordable to you. It doesn't cost you anything, and it's the most important step you can take toward home ownership.

So please don't back away when the question of whether you are pre-approved comes up in our conversation. It's important for both of us to know the answer so we can determine the best way to proceed with your home search.


Peggy Wester
Phone: 262-370-1757
Email: pwester@realtyexecutives.com
Website: peggywester.com
Blog: peggysblog.com

Peggy Wester - Realty Executives Integrity

Comment balloon 10 commentsPeggy Wester • January 26 2012 05:36PM


I have been known to take people out before they are preapproved.... Sometimes it wets their appitite... I don't think it is a good idea and does depend how busy I am....

Posted by Debbie Holmes, Gets the job done! (John L. Scott) about 8 years ago

Debbie -- I, too, have taken people out to look at a house prior to being pre-approved. But that's my limit. I've just run into too many situations where they skirt the issue when it's brought up, and that tends to be a  red flag to me. On one hand, I hate to lose a potential buyer, but on the other, I need to spend my time on people who have taken that initial step and proven they want to buy a house. Thank you for stopping by!!

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) about 8 years ago

I don't show houses to people that are not pre approved anymore.   I have learned that if they are serious buyers then getting a preapproval is not an issue.   Good post Peggy. 

Posted by Jim Patton, Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties ( Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816) about 8 years ago
It is not natural to want to put up a "Roadblock Question" like are you pre-approved. On it's face it gives the impression you do not think they are worth your time. And like in any profession if a customer thinks that they will go to someone else. And we all know they would have no problem finding someone else to show the house approved or not. But it seems more and more people get approved (or denied) after they find a home......it drives me nuts. I know a seller ( who is a Realtor) who will be listing a REO flip soon and showing instructions will be "fax buyer preapproal letter for lock box #" That is great idea !!!!  I can't wait till someone calls to see it..
Posted by Mike Didier RE/MAX United about 8 years ago

Not being in real estate I will tell you what this tells me as a buyer, anyone thinking of buying a home usally has done there homework. I know the realtor is working for the SELLER not me the Buyer, and with the statements I have read here all these comments SCREAM at me I am interested in your wallet and only your wallet, I could care less about anything else except your wallet. But just remember that right now it is a BUYERS market not the SELLER even though YOU work for the SELLER without the BUYER you don't make a dime.

Posted by Jay Plumber about 8 years ago

Mike -- Asking a buyer if they are pre-approved isn't the first question I ask them, nor do I walk away from them if they haven't yet spoken with a lender. But it is something we talk about early on in the process. I just want to feel pretty confident that I'll be able to help the buyer get to the closing table with as few hiccups as possible.

Jay -- Because we are dealing with so many short sales and foreclosures these days, we are frequently not permitted to submit an offer without a pre-approval letter for our buyer. Even in a "normal" sale, sellers oftentimes will not look at an offer without that letter. Also, with lending requirements changing frequently, it's important that the buyer understands what type of loan they qualify for -- what is the best option for them. Finally, to be honest, I do need to do what I can to ensure I am working with buyers and sellers who are committed to buying a house and selling a house because I get paid strictly on a commission basis. I apologize if this seems like I am only interested in your wallet; I just need to do what I can to help ensure I will be compensated for my time and efforts.

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) about 8 years ago

I am currently working with a buyer and he is financially strong and i know this. I told him he will need to get a proof of funds letter even thoe he  will be paying cash Foreclosure properties require it. He said "yea that will be no problem".

Well new listing comes on the market at a great price (Foreclosure) we look at it friday and write an over asking price offer. I ask him for his proof of funds letter......never got one he will get it monday he says.

Listing agent advises me they have 4 other offers and his will be rejected because he has no proof of funds letter.

SOLD and not to him........guess he will have to wait till for the next one.

Posted by Will Fortino about 8 years ago

Will -- That's the hardest part -- knowing that if they only had that letter they would have a chance. I hope another opportunity comes along for him soon and you are both able to get to the closing table. Thank you for stopping by!

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) about 8 years ago

I always get a copy of the letter first. this lesson was learned when assisting a buyer that was approved last year for $475K. We looked at homes from $400-475K and found one she absolutely loved. Called a lender to get her a fresh letter of approval only to discover she now only qualified for $350K!! Needless to say she was unhappy with the homes I showed her from $300-350K and ultimately did not buy. Its a hard lesson, but one worth repeating. Very nice post!


Posted by Betina Foreman, Realtor, C.N.E., with WJK REALTY (WJK Realty) about 8 years ago

Betina -- We were talking about this at the office again today. It's just amazing how many buyers don't think getting pre-approved is necessary/important. Thank you for stopping by!

Posted by Peggy Wester, Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County (Realty Executives Integrity) about 8 years ago