Why do agents ask me if I am pre-approved?

Have you ever been out house hunting, or maybe just taking a look at the merchandise on the market, and walked into an open house and had the agent showing the house come up and ask you if you’re pre-approved? Why do they do this?

Is that a slight social stab? What is the subtext? Are they suggesting that if you’re not pre-approved they’re not going to waste their time with you?


There’s a lot of questions here, so let’s start with the big one: Should you get pre-approved before you start looking for a home?

A realtor’s perspective

Every real estate agent brings their own unique style to the game. Some are subtle, some may seem a bit pushy, but no matter their personality, there are concrete reasons why they need to know if you're pre-approved or not.

By asking this question, they need to know two things: 1) are you serious about buying a home, and 2) what you can afford.

Agents don’t get paid unless they make a sale. So while some people might get a kick out of having an agent show them million dollar homes even though they’ve only been approved for a $200,000 mortgage, this can really eat up an agent’s time and energy.

Also, if an agent works with you for a few months to find that perfect home, imagine when they hear you haven’t been pre-approved! Anxiety quickly sets in and all their hard work could blow up in their face if you come back from the bank, pre-approved for less than the home's listing price.

Now, in asking about whether you are pre-approved or not, agents aren’t just looking out for themselves. This isn’t a selfish matter. When an agent knows what you’ve been pre-approved for, they can more readily help you find the home that’s perfect for you.

For the buyer

If the question comes off as abrasive or a bit pushy, brush it off. Remember, it’s hard for questions about money to not seem invasive. There are reasons you should want them to know what you’re pre-approved for. With that information, the agent can really hone in on the market and dig up some gems that are in your price range. Basically, this allows the agent to better cater to your needs.

So don’t be put off by the question! Get pre-approved, work with an agent and find that home you’ve been dreaming of.

For more advice on buying a home, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges Realtor® today. They have the contacts, know the market and can help find “the one."


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