I called several Realtors to show me a house and all said I have to get pre-approved for a mortgage before they will show me homes. I'm not ready to buy but I want to see this house. Why won't a Realtor show me the house?
I've heard this question many times. Buyers often don't realize the most Real Estate Agents are paid on commission when a house sells. That means agents want to spend their time and energy on clients who are ready to buy now. Most agents are happy to answer questions and set up property alerts to send listings with the expectation that when the buyer is ready they will call. But to expect an agent to take time to show you a house that you are not prepared to buy is asking them to work for free. Additionally, showings can be an inconvenience to sellers. As such, Realtors wish to show respect by only bringing qualified buyers.
The pre-approval for a mortgage is critical in the home buying process. The letter assures you, your Realtor and the seller that you have the means to purchase a house in a given price range. Buyers often set a price range in their mind that is not supported by their financials once reviewed by a lender. If this is the case then you and your Realtor are wasting time looking at homes you can't afford. The pre-approval is an important first step and should not be taken lightly.
So what are your options to see a house if you're just not ready yet? Many homes will have an open house. This is your chance to see what kind of home you can purchase in your desired price range. Visit, take a flyer and make notes. If there isn't an open house or you can't get there, plan to visit other open houses in the area. This will still give you a feel for what is available. Of course, there are online photos and virtual tours as well. The house you want to see will likely be sold before you are ready so don't get caught up with having to see that house. Rather try to understand the possibilities in your desired price range so that when you are ready, you can jump quickly on your perfect house.