Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets, & Host of Postcards From Success Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722)

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Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

You do not need a home on the market now in order to get a pre-approval on a purchase. 

You will get the referral for the listing 60 miles away. 

The relationship is KEY. I will, and have, done just about anything for my clients. Worked with two this year. Both were a sell and a buy. One moving back to San Jose where they moved from. I would have had the listing as well - it is in the same County. The other was a listing and two purchases. All were approved and had the funds. In the end, after months of looking and many offers written, disclosures reviewed, etc., the market was just too crazy and although they could afford it, they decided it was crazy to spend $300K-$400K more for a home, increase in property taxes, etc.   They pulled the plug. 

My point is that they are loyal to me and they will come to me again because they KNOW I have their backs!!!  Timing is everything.  If clients are only good to us when we are assured of a paycheck, I'd have to question our loyalty to them

I am in the real estate service business. I service my clients.  

Aug 28, 2018 08:06 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Past client? I go to the ends of the earth to help and to introduce them to a new market. It's part of the cost of doing business. Besides you never know how many future referrals they might send you for going to the ends of the earth to help. I did that once for someone who was thinking of accepting a job offer in Charlotte with no guarantee that he would move. He didn't, but he referred me the guy who ultimately did move here for that job and I sold him a $600K house. That client then sent me someone he hired from out of town. Overall, had about $900K in sales just by doing a bit extra for an iffy buyer. I see it as part of the cost of doing business.

Aug 28, 2018 08:52 AM
Joseph Domino 480-390-6011
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Made Easy

I would think that since you sold them a home in March you would have some kind of idea of their qualifications. You also could get an idea of what their current home is worth to see if it factors into their new purchase.

I recently had a client that was moving to AZ and he came to visit and get the lay of the land. I showed him homes, neighborhoods and educated him on what to expect if he made the move. I spent a day with him, but it was worth it because 3 months later he came back and bought a nice house.

Sometimes conservative people need to get all their ducks in a row before they act. There is no reason you cannot be the guy who helps put their ducks in a row. Your past relationship should give you an indication.

Obviously, they liked working with you the last time or they would not have called you again. I would rather spend time with this client, with no pre-qual, than with a new client that may not work out.

Aug 28, 2018 08:22 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Relationships involve commitment and agreement in my opinion.  A two way.

Aug 28, 2018 08:23 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Start by referring their current home, as soon as an offer is secured then start the search for the new one.

Aug 28, 2018 08:00 AM
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL

I would ask for listing and current owners will show the property. This way they could save with you. 


Aug 28, 2018 07:37 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I'd be showing them them properties Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D but without some pre-approval I'd want some kind of bank statement indicating these are not deadbeat lookie lu's.

Aug 28, 2018 07:53 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Sounds like the are willing, not ready, and not sure if they are able.  

I would explain properties on the market in Sept 2018 will not be available in Feb 2019.  

I would ask them to get pre approved, and if they would like to be set up on an auto search in mls I would be happy to provide them listing to look at on line.

Aug 28, 2018 07:32 AM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I am with Kathleen Daniels and Nina Hollander on this one. -Kasey

Aug 28, 2018 05:25 PM
Susie Kay
Ultra Real Estate Dallas Fort Worth - Plano, TX
North Dallas Specialist

Do they need to sell to purchase a new home?  I would ask them to get a pre-approval.  That will ensure that they are purchasing a home that they can afford.  If they want to look between $700k-$950k but are approved for $600k then you all will be wasting your time.  Also if they need to sell first, I would inform them that by the time their home is sold the home that they have looked and liked may no longer be available on the market.  Plus, some sellers are not accepting contingencies. 

Since it's important to keep the relationship, I would show them some homes in a different price range so they know what they can get for the money.  Then they can decide whether to purchase first if they are capable, or sell then purchase.  

Aug 28, 2018 08:35 AM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Lake Sinclair Specialist

I'd show them homes, but I'd limit the number of homes and the number of times I showed them until their home is pending.

Aug 28, 2018 08:35 AM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

First I would refer them to an associate in their area for a referral listing then I would set up a plan of attack for accomplishing their goal.

Aug 28, 2018 08:26 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

  Keep the relationship intact, per the answers from Kathleen Daniels and Nina Hollander .

Aug 28, 2018 06:05 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I think it makes sense given the relationship, the potential for a listing referral and a sale, as well as possible other business from them. I would think they could investigate a pre-approval basd on the expected value of the sale, equity, and all the other usual stuff so they know where they stand. And perhaps a chat with their CPA to understand any tax implications.

Aug 28, 2018 05:23 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

I would have them sign a buyer agreement and work them as well as you can, depending on the inventory available....  and I'd also want control over them by cutting my usual deal with them...  here it is:

tell them you'll refer them to an agent in their area.... what you'll do is not take a referral fee and have their listing agent take that referral fee off the listing side of the commission he charges.... so what you'll be doing is leaving that fee in the proceeds... 

what they need to do is sign a buyer agreement with you with no expiration date... you will be their exclusive buyer's agent and they will reap a 25% referral fee left in the proceeds of their home....

the listing agent will do it because there's incentive for the homeowner to stay with him/her.... they'll sign that agreement because they clearly know how well-versed you are at what you do... and after they sign, show them what's on the market and explain to them, once their home is listed, you'll be sending them listings to see and get them in asap....

got it???  those are my thoughts on this topic!!!!!!  Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D 

Aug 28, 2018 09:38 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I would get them pre-approved, refer them to a strong agent 60 miles away and show them houses! They're your sphere, you are selling in the heart of your service area so, romanticize the heck out of YOUR area and sell them a home!

If they don't wind up buying from you, they will recommend you to everyone they know. It happens all of the time and is so worth giving them the white glove service, whether they purchase or not - they will be raving fans.

Good luck, Thomas!

Aug 28, 2018 08:01 PM
Richard L. McKinney P.A.
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
For Results that MOVE you on the Treasure Coast!

Relationship is the key and you have that so do whatever you need now and it will come back to you in a home sale ... But I would go after the listing also. Especially if it's in the same MLS. 

Every locale is different but my MLS covers a very large area and I take several listings a year in Miami which is 90 miles south of me. 

Aug 28, 2018 02:33 PM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

You research and refer an agent for the listing.  But we have these types of buyers in our market all the time.  And they successfully get into contract often if their home is in a hot market itself.  Closing is contingent upon their home closing, but we usually close these quick.

Aug 28, 2018 02:20 PM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

I'd show them some samples online, then take them out to look at their top 3 so they can get a feel about if they want to move forward or not.  I'd also see if they have an agent to sell their house or if they need a referral.

Aug 28, 2018 02:01 PM
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

I think Kathleen Daniels brought up a very good point about not needing to be on the market for a pre-approval. Never know, they may be able to qualify without selling too.

Bob Crane brings up another great point to help "push" them along by getting them referred to someone that can get them on the path to needing that new home you are going to sell them.

Aug 28, 2018 12:21 PM
Valeria Mola
SIB Realty - Miami, Sunny Isles Beach - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
305-607-0709 SIB Realty Condos for Sale and Rent

I hope you will work with this couple. 

Good luck.

Aug 28, 2018 09:31 AM
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Conroe/Willis, TX

Kathleen Daniels nailed it!  I would do the same no questions asked.

Aug 29, 2018 04:53 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D - great response from Kathleen Daniels.

Being a Buffini coaching member, we know - by default - it is the relationship that matters the most! 

Aug 28, 2018 10:09 PM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

in my market they'd be high end buyers and I'd be showing them homes.  But it's not always easy to get an appointment in that price range here without a preapproval letter

Aug 28, 2018 08:47 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

This in fact happens fairly often in my area except the price point is different. I am willing to show a few to give them an idea of the market. If they can't buy without selling the rest is a frugal effort until they sell.

Aug 28, 2018 08:28 PM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Our time to contract is well below XX days while values are expected to exceed X%  by that time. My suggestion is to bring the intensity of your search to its height for the period 75 days prior to your anticipated purchase. You are experienced Buyers and aleady know what you want. I can assure you by trusting my experience there will be no disappointments of finding the perfect home you're not prepared to buy the instant it's found. That's my promise to you!   

Aug 28, 2018 06:30 PM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

I have done what Barbara Todaro suggested by referring him an agent and getting that agent to discount the commission on his sale.  Make them know that there is incentive.  And you have communication with this listing agent.  Then refer him to your best lender who can pre approve hi and he won't have to do much but update the file in the future.  Show him a few homes.  He falls in love, gets his pre approval and gets anxious to sell his house and move. 

Aug 28, 2018 05:41 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

It is up to you and how busy you are. The quick way: refer them out, the time consuming way: drive, show, repeat~ till you find something they like. 

Aug 28, 2018 05:00 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Licensed in 20 states - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

They can get a pre-approval. Several tools available: bridge loan, cross collateralize, reverse, HELOC. Have them get the letter with your lender. Lender sends you the letter (not client). Start showing them by email and get them in your car one weekend to review

Aug 28, 2018 03:04 PM
Jerry Thomas-Construction Loans
Cranbrook Loans - Farmington Hills, MI
Construction Loans in MI, OH, PA, VA, GA and FL.

I'd agree to show them a limited amount of homes until they put there home on the market and sign an agreement with me.

Aug 28, 2018 01:07 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Do you know why they want to look now at homes that will not be available when they are ready to buy? Seems like a waste of their time. If they want to familiarize themselves with your market, send them listings. Suggest that they rent an Airbnb and spend a weekend in town. Plenty to see in La Jolla. Take them to lunch or dinner. Spend a couple hours showing houses if there are any worth seeing. Then...they need to wait until they are ready to move.

Aug 28, 2018 11:53 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Wonderful answers from the community and I agree with Michael Jacobs .  A

Aug 28, 2018 11:19 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

I'm going to act like a fairy godmother here ~~ you know the rules. No preapp, no showing the homes, no getting in my car. You are making an exception for these clients where you wouldn't normally. How come?

Aug 28, 2018 11:04 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Verify the source of funding.

Have them sign an exclusive agreement with you.

Aug 28, 2018 10:54 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I am at their service...

Aug 28, 2018 09:53 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Possibly let them look around for the price point. Contingient

sale, lots of work....

Aug 28, 2018 09:21 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

It sounds like a "normal" real estate agent risk. Urge them to list their property; try to refer yourself to listing agent and start showing them new stuff so they can fall in love with something. No guarantees? When do we ever have them?

Aug 29, 2018 04:56 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

First they can indeed get a pre qual based on selling their home. I would spend some time with them but also let them know what is for sale now, will not still be available a month from now as homes sell quick. I list homes 60 miles away when i am selling someone a home. If i was not comfortable i would tell them i have a great agent in their agent that will assist in selling their home by referral. 

Aug 29, 2018 04:55 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I agree with Kathleen. I do the same.

Aug 28, 2018 01:42 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

They can get a pre-approval subject to the sale of their current home to establish price range. Suggest seeing a sampling of what is available based on requirements. They will be in the know and you will reduce your time required as a tour guide.

Aug 29, 2018 05:47 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I would try to show them neighborhoods on those days when I have time.

Aug 29, 2018 05:35 AM
Wayne Zuhl
Remax First Realty II - Cranford, NJ
The Last Name You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Start with referring their primary home to an agent you trust, then refer them to a mortgage rep who can tell them what they can afford.

Aug 29, 2018 05:08 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

You received good advice in the comments my friend, from many like Kathleen Daniels and Nina Hollander.

The best approach in my mind is how much you want to be directly involved with your client, taking into consideration time and resources, and the strategy about how 'you' want to handle your client and also what is best for your client.

I have a similar situation as we speak. I entrusted the listing to a another agent that includes a referral fee (because of distance), I'm managing the buy myself in my immediate market, and I'm the overall manager for my client for 'all of it' (i.e the 'hired' listing agent works indirectly for me on this sale).

Aug 29, 2018 06:40 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I have done this, to gain their respect, and keep that client.

Sep 03, 2018 06:41 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I don't see a big issue.  Help them get qulified and look at giving a referral on the property they own

Aug 30, 2018 04:38 AM