I'm on the edge of my seat right now. Let me give you some back story..
Last Saturday I'm at my desk at home preparing for the day to come. *My phone rings*
"Good Morning, This is Adam speaking how may I help you today?"
The voice on the other end is friendly and optimistic. Which, coming from a Zillow inquiry is almost never the case. The gentlemen on the other line explains to me that he is from New Jersey, works in Pennsylvania and has grown tired of the commute. There are a few properties in 19061 that he is interested in. He gives me his list and we agree on a time to tour the 3 homes. Prior to setting the appointments with the owners of the listed homes I ask the question that can sometimes end these calls in a hurry; "Are you currently working with a lender?"
(A quick aside) **When I first started paid advertising a top agent I trust and confide in gave me one simple piece of advice. He said
"Adam, if you want to hit your sales goals do not show homes to people who aren't pre-approved"***
Now, that sounds great in theory but when you have someone on the phone who is willing to talk with you and is truly interested in purchasing a home chances are they have not spoken with a lender. (Side note, when I bought my house I actually called the lender first, the REALTOR I worked with was a friend of the lender but I found out that I was the 1% of people who do that). Back to our story...
The gentlemen told me what most folks tell me; He had not spoken with a lender and "wasn't ready to at this time". As an Agent and Business Owner that puts me in a very tricky situation. Put yourself in the shoes of a home seller. You have a job, kids, pets, band practice, swim meets and you are trying to sell your family home with the least amount of headache as you can. How would you feel if I interrupted your Sunday with your family to come thru your house with a total stranger that may not have the financial means to purchase your home? Now put yourself in the shoes of the buyers. You've decided that you want to see a home. Most likely if you like it you'll be happy to talk to a lender but you don't want to speak with a stranger about your personal finances because a stranger on the other end of a phone wants you to in order to show you the house. Now put yourself in my shoes- Do I hold firm and maybe never hear back from this person again? Do I do one tour, decide I want to work with this person and then explain that in order for us to tour on the next date I'd prefer they speak with my/a lender?
It's not an easy question to answer. Especially in these crucial first few minutes where they can hang up on me and just keep clicking until an agent I'm in competition with WILL.
SInce 2/3 houses were vacant and I was asking for 6 hours notice for the third I decided I'd go meet Mr. Buyer. While looking at the first house I decided to have the conversation again now that we were in person and I wasn't just a name on a screen. 'Mr. Buyer, just curious, if you decided to move forward with this offer would you be using a mortgage or cash?" He explained he'd be using a mortgage but was in no rush to do anything and just looking for now. We completed our tours that day and I tried one last time as we shook hands.
"Mr. Buyer, it was a pleasure meeting you today and I thank you for the taking the time from your day to tour with me. If you have any questions feel free to call me anytime. If you'd like to speak with my Lending partner to make sure you get the best terms on your purchase, please let me know".
Fast forward a week later and Mr. Buyer calls me on a Sunday. I had come to learn that his father was in town and wanted to look at the top two contenders from the week prior. I was in the area and happy to see him/meet his father. The last property we looked at that day, I was convinced that I'd be hearing from him the next day or so about an offer. As luck would have it, I was right. Mr. Buyer phoned me first thing this morning and wants to talk about putting in an offer. At this point he is interested in speaking to my Lending partner, Frank.
So at this point you might be asking yourself- Why am I on the edge of my seat?
i'm glad you asked...
Well, not 10 minutes later my phone rang. It was the Seller's agent. We exchanged pleasantries and some war stories from the weekend. She informed me that she had two offers in hand and that she needed our offer by days end. So now we have to rush as fast as we can to get pre-approved, write an offer and if we are in a multi offer situation (Realtor speak for: You're paying more than you thought if you want it).
So here is the moral of the story. If you plan to buy a home. I highly suggest you talk to me (no shame in my game LOL) and also take the 10 minutes to speak with a lender you trust about getting a pre-approval. I can't say I would've gotten this far with Mr. Buyer had I held firm about a pre-approval on that Saturday morning. I can't say that if we were pre-approved and got our offer in yesterday that we'd be under contract before those two offers came in this morning. I can say that should all the stars align and we can get in our offer and pre-approval by end of day today, Mr. Buyer will have two choices- Pay more than you wanted to, or walk away from the house you wanted.
Thank you for reading and I wish to leave you with a quote from my favorite book, The Art of War by Sun Tzu
"while we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with delay.."