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Why Realtor Has a Right to Know

January 21, 1990

As an ex-realtor and now owner of a mortgage company, I take exception to Robert J. Bruss' reply Dec. 17 to the person who asked: "How to Avoid Overpaying for a Home."

He's right on everything except the reply about financial information the realtor has a right to know. Here's why.

--By getting vital information regarding the buyer's finances, the agent not only saves his valuable time but the valuable time of the buyer as well. Knowing what the buyer can and cannot afford will surely dictate what properties to preview and then show the buyer. The majority of buyers have an over-inflated idea of what they can afford.

--Many times, buyers intentionally or not misrepresent their financial and credit background to someone pre-qualifying them. A seller has the right to know that someone has done his homework in regard to a potential buyer's qualification before they ask that seller to maintain, vacate and prepare their home for a potential viewing.

--It's the responsibility of the realtor to represent his client (seller) in all areas in the sale of a home. This includes such questions as: What type of work is your buyer in? What is his income? How long has he been employed? Does he have a house to sell? Where is the source of the down payment? How long has the money been in the bank? Can it be verified? Does the spouse work? Do they need both incomes to qualify? Has their credit been verified? Have they been pre-qualified by a lender? Who is the lender representative, and what is the name of his/her company?

If these questions cannot be answered, then the selling agent hasn't done his job. There's no way a listing agent should recommend a seller tie his home up with an offer waiting for all of these questions to be answered--let alone get into an escrow without knowing these answers. This is called "full representation"--doing a thorough job for the seller.

--The buyer saves time. Your realtor can now do a little pre-qualifying (any good realtor should be able to do this with a little training and simple formulas), and then preview the homes that are truly in the buyer's price range. On occasion, there are multiple offers on homes. The agents who have done their homework best and have brought in a competitive offer will usually win out.

On a single offer presentation, realtors who have done their homework have a better opportunity in negotiating price and other terms because the seller and listing agent feel more comfortable that they have a good buyer.


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