Real Estate April 18, 2023


An experienced agent is going to be able to tell exactly how serious a buyer is by asking just one question: Are you preapproved? I often hear this response from buyers, “I’ll get preapproved if I like the house.”

My team & I just did a Facebook live on this very subject. If you’re on Facebook – check out Real Estate – Here & Happy to Help to hear about my team talking on the subject of preapprovals on February 22, 2023 or you can go to:

Of all the calls we get to see a home, 80% of these prospective buyers either can’t get preapproved at all or can’t get preapproved for enough, to get the home they’re asking about. 80%, 8 out of 10 calls are buyers who can’t afford to buy.

This piece of paper protects us, too. Think about it – Realtors are meeting perfect strangers in vacant properties all the time! Our job is dangerous, & this piece of paper – this preapproval – weeds out those with less honorable intentions.

So buyers…I’m going to give you the skinny with the What, so what, now what for preapprovals:

What is a preapproval?
As my teammate Karen has labeled it best – your preapproval is your shopping pass. It is proof that you’ve had a very brief conversation with a lender, & they have deemed you a viable buyer. With this preapproval, my team & I know not only what your buying power is but the type of loan that you’re qualified for – equally important.

When you get preapproved – Any good lender will take a peek at your credit, your income & your assets those 3 things – credit, income & assets – to determine not only your buying power but which loan program would be best. A lender’s responsiveness NOW – during this preapproval process – is an indication as to how responsive they’ll be throughout the entire home-buying process. If you’re working with a lender & are waiting days or weeks for a preapproval letter – you need to find a different lender.

A good lender will be able to think outside of the box & really come up with a great scenario to help you move forward.

That’s the “What” of a preapproval – SO What does that mean?

So What
As I mentioned, the preapproval tells me 2 things:

  1. First off & most obviously, we need to know the AMOUNT of the loan
  2. It also tells us the TYPE of loan that works for you.

There are certain loans that are location specific.
There are certain loans in which the condition of the home is going to be more important.

If I know that you’re a buyer preapproved with a USDA loan, & you’d like to see a $36,000 property in New Castle. That’s not going to work. I need to educate you on the areas & price range that we need to focus on for your loan type.

I do not want to tempt you by showing you $400,000 homes when you can only buy up to $150,000. Once you see a modern kitchen with stainless appliances & granite countertops and a refrigerator that orders your groceries & paints your toenails, you’re going to terribly disappointed when you find out you can’t afford it, & we walk into a house you CAN afford with avocado-colored appliances & four generations of wallpaper.

It’s not fair to you or the seller opening their home to you. Many times sellers spend hours cleaning up their home for a showing, relocating the pets, postponing the baby’s bedtime, they’re hanging out in the car with screaming kids to give you your privacy.

– What is a preapproval letter: it’s your shopping pass

– So what does it do:
1. It shows us you’re actually interested in buying a house & not a criminal looking for an easy target
2. It validates your price range
3. It tells us what homes will work for your loan type

Now What
You’re ready to house-hunt which means that you need to be preapproved. Not all lenders are created equal.

You’re going to get a mortgage maybe a handful of times in your life. Realtors work with lenders on a daily basis. We know which ones are good & responsive. We know which ones are MIA when crunch time hits. Your realtor will be able to guide you.

A good lender is local. A good lender is accessible. A good lender will give you their cell phone number. A good lender is available at 11 pm on a Saturday when you’re competing with another buyer to get your dream home & you need to run numbers.

Steve Janoski at GRA (cell: 724-612-0561) is my personal go-to for when I purchased my most recent home & when I refinanced. We have a lot of mutual clients, & his preapproval letters are as good as gold.

Lenders to avoid would be online lenders & out of state lenders. Online lenders & out of state lenders.  Online lenders aren’t giving you their cell numbers. Online lenders cannot be reached at crunch time. Out-of-state lenders often aren’t familiar with the specific & local taxes & practices in our area. In my experience, if you’re working with an out of state lender – that’s when you’re going to get those last-minute closing cost surprises. That’s when the numbers that you are working with at the beginning of your transaction become drastically different than the numbers we end up with when you’re at the closing table. I hate real estate surprises just as much as my buyers do. We can help to avoid that by working with local lenders.

Those 2 things should be a red flag for your realtor but ALSO a red flag for the sellers who are considering your offer.


Why Get Preapproved

2 Types of Lenders to Stay Away From! – YouTube

Your Lender’s Reputation – YouTube

The difference between a BANK & a LENDER – YouTube

I’m Always Here & Happy to Help!

Katina Hunter

Team Lead for the Katina Hunter Team with Coldwell Banker