Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: June 2007

As a Selling Agent, Can I Call the Buyer's Lender?

So, the question is, as an agent that represents the seller, can I call the lender on the "pre-approval" letter when I receive an offer?  OF COURSE!!!  Why are buyers' agents so scared of this?

I do not respond, and my sellers don't respond, to offers unless there is an approval letter attached to the offer.  When I receive it, there are many times that I call the lender to ask some questions.  The main question is, Is this a pre-qual or an actual pre-approval?  I want to know if the buyer has turned in bank statements and W2s and other paperwork that actually mean they've started the approval process, not just made a phone call for a qualification.

Here's the scenerio:
House is listed at $109k, comps out at about $112k, and has been completely updated to the max with new carpet, fresh paint, new appliances, counters, etc...  The house is built in 1994 so not an old house at all.  I received an offer today for $92,500 asking the sellers to pay for survey ($450), home warranty ($350), 6% for closing costs, ONLY $300 for earnest money...

If you do the math, that offer comes to about $86,000 and we're listed at $109,000.  Oh, and did I mention the buyer's commission is listed at 3.5% which is higher than the average commission. 

Here's the kicker... the "approval" letter has no date on it.  It is from an out of state lender, AND the approval amount is for only $89,900.  Ok, didn't they offer $92,500?  Why are they offering more than they approve for?  This warranted a speedy call to the lender as I forwarded the offer to the seller and I told him I would discuss it with him further when I spoke with the lender.  I talk with the lender and she said that the buyer could actually go up to $95,000.  I thanked her for her time, and under my breath, I was like, that's what I needed to know because we can't even counter this offer if she's not approved for anything else. 

The lender tells me she'll rerun the numbers and call me in 2 minutes.  I asked her why she needed to rerun the numbers.  Her reply is that she thinks the buyer could go up higher.  I told her that we're already over $20k apart, and I'm not sure how she can get an $89,900 approval up to $95,000 and then get it over $100k.

Do I receive my call in two minutes??  No, I receive an EMAIL from the buyer's agent with the following message:

"I just received a call from my clients loan officer.  Please do not ask my loan officer how much more my buyer is approved for, if you would like to counter the offer please do so.  Thanks."

So, I'm asking you, do you call the lender when you receive an approval letter with an offer?  If not, why not?  Don't you feel you're looking out for your seller's best interest to know if the deal is going to fall apart before it even becomes a deal?

Comment balloon 78 commentsDonna Harris • June 28 2007 04:01PM
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