When you’re first starting out, you sometimes find yourself with questions that you’re a little embarrassed to ask. Other times, you don’t really know who to ask since you haven’t really found your footing at your new brokerage. We want to make sure you always have somewhere to turn and someone to talk to when the going gets tough. This is New Agent Lifesaver, here to help you navigate your first years as an agent.
Today’s question: What are some things I need to be doing for my buyer while waiting on pre-approval from a lender? —Anonymous (by request)
While helping your buyer is a great impulse, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and honoring your time, as well. That means making sure that you’re working with a potential buyer who is prepared to move forward with a serious process, not someone who’s wasting your time.
Make personal safety your first priority
In addition, you should not be showing homes to someone who has not been vetted to ensure your personal safety. Check with your broker to see if there are any office-specific or state-specific forms that should be kept on file for your clients. For example, some offices require buyers to list their license plate, driver’s license number, etc. to ensure agent safety before a showing or in case they go missing.
Use this time to update your CRM
While you are waiting for the client’s pre-approval, work on creating their profile in your CRM. Figure out their needs vs. wants. If the lender did a pre-qualification, they may have a tentative price range narrowed down and an idea of some target zip codes they want to be in. Schedule automatic listing alerts that fit their preliminary search criteria from your MLS.
Help them get their documents in order
Ask your favorite lenders for a checklist of the supporting items that they’ll need and send them advice about how to obtain the necessary documents. Make sure your buyers have all of their identification and bank records up to date, that they have enough savings for projected down payment and closing costs, and that they are prepared to handle a mortgage payment with their proposed budget.
Get up to speed on buyer-related paperwork
As a new agent, spend some time preparing yourself. Make sure you’ve got a signed buyer representation agreement in place, along with any affiliated service provider disclosures. Make sure you know how to schedule showings when the time comes and that you know what documents need to be included in an offer.
Ask a more experienced agent to let you shadow them when they’re showing a property. Look at a completed buyer offer so that you understand what a well-crafted offer should look like. Make sure that you know how to use electronic lockboxes and that your subscriptions are current.
Learn the difference between pre-approval and pre-underwriting
As long as the buyer is cooperative and has all of their documentation prepared, the pre-approval process should not take long at all. Make sure you know the difference between pre-approval, and pre-underwriting. Pre-underwriting can be a little more involved but offers a stronger path for your buyer, depending on the mortgage product they choose.
Rachael Hite sold real estate in Virginia and West Virginia for seven years with a specialization in short sales and foreclosures. She has been an office manager, an agent, mortgage marketing consultant and continuing education trainer for agents since 2012. She currently specializes in private business development and digital marketing services for top producing agents and businesses in the housing industry.
Christy Murdock was a licensed real estate agent in Virginia and a Florida Realtors faculty member. She is the owner of Writing Real Estate, a company that specializes in consulting with and creating content for real estate agents, brokerages and real estate-related companies.
Calling all new agents: We want to help solve your problems
Problems, issues and awkward situations are going to come up in real estate, and they’re not always easy to solve. Sometimes you don’t know where to turn, but please know, we’re all ears. Please send us your questions here. It can be completely anonymous (just let us know) and we’ll report back with sound advice.
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