Monday, June 30, 2008

Our house is being shown! Should we stay?


Yup... you need to allow a total stranger (the Realtor) and other total strangers to come into your house. While you're NOT there.

They will be more inclined to linger. They will be more inclined to discuss what they like about your house. They will be more inclined to raise objections... and the Realtor may be able to offer insight.

Some sellers are their own worst enemy, even though their intentions are good. They want to go around with the buyers and explain the nuances of the home. Usually this makes the buyers uneasy. You don't want your buyer to be uneasy when they are supposed to be in a buying mode.

As a Realtor, we need our buyers to be comfortable and open with us during these showings. Most people are too polite to give 100% totally honest feedback with an owner within earshot.

And don't give us the "I'll get out of your way." routine. The buyers are STILL hesitant. They are aware they are "putting you out" by being there, so they tend to rush.

The best scenario is that you are not there when they arrive, and you are not there when they leave.

I know it sounds a little weird, but it really is the best way.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I got a call at my home yesterday from someone I did not know. They told my wife that they had seen my name on a website and got my number. OK. So I got on the phone and was wrestling with trying to both understand and explain how this real estate home buying process worked.

The main thing the caller wanted to know was the address of a property I had listed. I gave it to them. But I could sense they were new to the home buying process, so I initiated the discussion of financing. In other words, "Have you spoken to a lending institution yet?"

Their response to me was, that they weren't worried about that. They were sure they could afford between $100,000 and $200,000. But, you know what? In today's real estate market, if you are going to make a purchase offer that includes a mortgage clause, you had better have some documentation that you are qualified to purchase this home. Very few sellers will take your word for it. AND... you will find that most professional real estate agents will not want to take you out looking until it is certain (and I mean documented by a letter from a reputable bank or institution) that you can actually do this.

So, get your finances together. Go to a lending institution, and then you'll be on your way.

If you are in the Albany NY area and would like some assistance in finding financing, I know a lot of them! email me at I'll help ya!

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Showing EVERYHTING! ...and I mean E V E R Y T H I N G !!!!

Instead of giving you ideas, I thought I'd tell you this story about what happened one time when I was showing this family houses.

I had set up a few houses to look at. That means I called the real estate agent's office and arranged to show the house at a certain time. This one happened to be about 10 a.m. on a Saturday. They told me the owner would be gone so they provided me with a key for entry.

We drive up to the house and I see a pickup truck in the drive. I was told that the owner would not be home, but as is customary we always ring the doorbell and kinda yell "Anybody home??? Hello???"

So this family, two adults and two kids, a boy and a girl, like 10 and 8, follow me into the house. It's a colonial style house so all the bedrooms are upstairs... we look around the first floor for a bit and then proceed to the second floor. Now, this is a little different, but I've seen it before... all the bedroom doors are closed. So we start at he first one in the hallway.. and work our way down. The last one was the master bedroom. So I open the door and start to enter and lo and behold here is a guy laying on his back - starked naked - spread eagle! So I immediately start backing up... the family kinda running into me! "There's someone in here!" I whisper loud enough to get my point across! I think the kids might have gotten a glimpse... but it was pretty weird!

We leave.

The agent who listed the house calls me later and asked me how the showing went. I told her that we walked in on the guy! I asked her if she had told him we were coming! She said she had, and that he knew, but he had done a double shift, as he is a ranger with the Adirondack Park Agency... he came home exhausted... went into the master bath to take a shower... laid down on his bed to close his eyes for "just a minute" and apparently fell into a deep sleep! He was a little embarrassed.

My folks didn't buy the house!

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

2 family or a single family ?

You know, some people when they are starting out find that buying a two family home is the way to go. You own the home, and you have tenants that are helping to pay for it! The psychological problem is that it's like what you just came from... living in an apartment. But the nice thing about it is that YOU own it.

For financing, you can get pretty much the same terms as if you were purchasing a single family home. The lending institution will actually count a percentage of your projected income from rent to approve you for the mortgage. They won't count all of it, because realistically there will be vacancies.

It's a cool way to get started. Buy a two family to live in for a while, then later... after you've saved enough money, buy a single family home where you'll feel like it really is your own. Then you can rent the apartment you used to live in and "double" your income on your first house... or better.

Think about it. A good way to get started and maybe the beginning of another source of income for you.

As always if you have more questions about this... and you should... email me at

Stay cool! Steve

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We saw an ad in the paper... we want to go look...

That's cool. Have your agent find out where it is. Then your agent will check out the rest of the information, even the listing history... like it was listed before by XYZ Realty for xxx dollars and was on the market for 357 days... yadda yadda yadda.

Your agent may even go so far as to do a study to see what other houses are for sale in that area and give you an idea of what the typical sale price has been.

But here's the BIG THING. Don't have your Realtor set up an appointment if you have not driven through the neighborhood, or you are not familiar with the neighborhood.

Picture this.... you call your agent... your agent calls the listing agent.... sets up an appointment for Sunday morning at 10:30 am.... Sunday morning it snows like you-know-what... you get shovelled out... your agent shovels out... the people who live in the house, they get up early, get their kids piled into the car... and leave. You drive up and see your agent there and say, "No... I can't live in this neighborhood." or "I don't want to go in, I don't like this house already."

Let's count the number of people that were "put out", including yourself, to arrange for this. Not cool.

So, do your homework.... either drive by OR be already familiar with the hood.

Now, if this does happen to you... go in. Courtesy look. That way the sellers who had to accomodate your appointment can be told that the house was shown and the buyers were going to keep on looking. And then the agent who listed the house can ask your agent what his/her opinion was, so they can give feedback to the sellers.


I mean we're nice people right? Golden Rule type stuff.

Hey keep on rockin'! Thanks for those emails. If anyone else has a question, just email me at !!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Do we HAVE to have a structural inspection?


But you really should. The inspector will look at everything from the roof, to the electric, to the foundation, to the heating system to the appliances. If there are any major issues you should know about it! Most contracts will allow you to resolve these issue within a short period of time before proceeding. Usually, if the issue cannot be resolved, you will be released from buying the house.

A Realtor would be foolish to suggest to you that you do NOT need a home inspection. Often a bank will require it. But my advice to you is that you really should have a structural inspection done.

Now, be aware that the only inspectors that can carry and authority have to be registered with the Department of State. If you have an inspector who is not registered with the Dept. of State do the inspection you may not be able to use their report within the confines of your contract.

I know a lot of these inspectors.... if you're looking for one or two names let me know...

Keep on Keepin on !!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What is this SHORT SALE thing I hear about?

Occasionally... and more frequently as of late... persons are selling their real estate because of financial reasons. And the fact is that some of them can't sell the property for more than what they owe to a bank.

I know it seems bizarre, but this does from time to time happen. The bank holding the mortgage does not want to hear this, but their approach is that they would rather get some of the money owed to them and not have to take over ownership of the property and sell it later for less anyway.

So the sellers, upon getting offers on their house that will not cover the mortgage balance may approach the bank and propose a "short sale". The bank does not have to agree to it. Recently though, the banks are at least listening.

Certainly, if you are a saavy buyer, you make your offer based on your perception of what the fair market value is of the house you want to buy. You can't concern yourself with what the seller owes on the property. What they have done... refinanced, over leveraged, bought too high in the first place... whatever... does NOT affect the value of the house and you would be foolish to make a purchase based soley on what the current owner owes with no regard for what the fair market value is.

Be aware, that this process may take a little bit longer than normal. You will make an offer to the sellers, and just because they agree and sign a contract does not mean that the bank will "sign off" on a short sale. So once the seller has signed, the next hurdle will be talking the bank into it. So, there is a little more time and patience required.

In a way, a short sale doesn't really affect you. You are basically telling a homeowner, "I'll give you xxxx number of dollars for your house. Whatever you need to do to pay off your mortgage and expenses are your own business." It's just that you should be aware that if the seller is attempting a short sale, the bank has to OK it and it might take a little longer to get that acceptance!

Have a terrific day! I think you deserve it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We don't like the location, but we can get it a real good price!

.... Be careful. I have seen buyers compromise for a "real good price". For example the house was located right on top of the off ramp of a major highway, but the price was too good to resist. Well, after a while that highway noise got old. And then they decided, "Forget it! We are going to sell." Or, it was pretty far away from where they worked, but, "gosh! such a good price!" One couple was wrestling on the decision to buy a house that was literally on the side of a hill... practically no back yard. The sellers had been having difficulty selling and were offering a great price. The buyers felt like they could "put up with" having essentially no yard. They later had kids... and guess what?... no yard for them to play in.

They all find out that in reality there are very few people who would make such a decision like they did. It was very difficult to sell their home... For all the reasons they knew existed when THEY bought it.

It's nice to get a deal, but think long and hard before you commit. Hopefully your agent will bring out these issues for you and, hey... if you decide to proceed... well, good for you. We've also seen folks buy houses like this and "live happily ever after"!!!!

Keep on keepin' on! Steve

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How much Earnest Money do we need with an offer?

Hoo boy. This can often be a struggling point in the negotiating process.

First, do you know what earnest money is? Sometimes people call it escrow money. Earnest money is money that is submitted along with an offer. It is designed to show "earnest" or the seriousness, if you will, of the buyer. So, in theory, the more earnest money, the better.... at least in the eyes of the seller.

So, if you and I were working together, and you wanted to buy a house, we would sit in my office and write up an offer. During that process we would discuss how much money to submit with the offer. So maybe the purchase price is $150,000. We give a check, written out to the agency representing the seller for say, $1,000. That check is not given to the seller's agent until we have a "meeting of the minds", or a completely executable contract. That money will go into an escrow account that is managed by a representative of the seller... usually their real estate broker. If the contract is successful, the $1,000 is applied against the purchase price at closing. So you, the buyer will be expected to come up with the remaining $149,000 at the closing. (Don't sweat it.. it doesn't mean all cash. Some of the $149,000 will be in the form of a mortgage).

The listing broker has a fee that will probably be paid at the closing, so at the closing the sellers will get a bill that shows the $1,000 in escrow and that can be accessed by the broker to help pay said fee.

Oh, remember I said it can be a struggle during the negotiations? What I mean is, if the listing broker thinks that you have not put up enough money with the contract, they might advise their client, the seller, to not take your offer. In fact, part of their counter offer might include increasing your escrow from $1,000 to say, $5,000. Seems that the concept is that you would find it harder to "walk away" from $5,000, as opposed to $1,000.

You get your escrow or earnest money back if the contract does not go through.... as long as your reason for not proceeding is covered in the contract and all parties agree that the money should be returned. HOWEVER... if the seller feels that they have been deceived, or dealt with in a deceptive manner, they may tell their broker to NOT release the money back to you. This, then may become a legal issue. If you agree that the seller deserves to keep your deposit money, then there is no issue. But, if you demand that you get your money back, you and I may be forced to prove that you are within your right to get that money back.

This doesn't happen a lot, but it does happen from time to time. As a real estate broker, I try to impress on you the seriousness of a contract and how to avoid having a dispute over the funds held in escrow.

So, back to original question... HOW MUCH is enough. The fact is there is no answer to that. Most professionals agree that the escrow funds should be proportionate to the sale price. The higher price house, a higher escrow figure can be expected. I'm cool with that, but to be honest with you, every transaction is different, so you need to have a detailed discussion with your agent about this. The situation might warrant you putting an unusually large amount down... you're trying to beat out other offers and you want to express your seriousness. Your situation might be such that you are not liquid enough to put a lot down, and this house is selling for say, $45,000... not $450,000!

If you are serious about making the offer, you can never put too much down. Just make sure it is going into an escrow account and not in some one's general operating account.

ALERT... new construction rules may be different. But I've put too much in this blog... If you have questions... email me at

That's all for now... keep the faith!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What are "Seller Concessions" ???

.... well, seller concessions are just what they sound like. The seller is giving up something, or "conceding" something. And it's usually money.

Seller concessions, often called "seller contribution" were intended to help a buyer who didn't have enough money for a down payment AND closing costs, BUT could afford to make the mortgage payments.

Banks usually limit how much a seller can contribute toward a purchase. It is usually no more than 6% of the purchase price. So, simply looked at... you are buying a house for $100,000. You ask the seller, as part of your offer, to pay $4,000 toward the closing costs. The bank is OK with it (as long as the property appraises) and the seller realizes they will net $96,000. Fine.

Here's where the trouble begins. Say a seller has his property on the market for $100,000 and that is what he wants/needs to take out of it. No negotiating. "Net to me has to be $100,000!" You need the money (say you want the max: 6%)for closing costs or you cant' do it. You will need to offer $106,383.

An aside here... many will think, wait Steve... 6% of 100,000 is $6,000. You are right, but remember we are trying to get 6% of the purchase price... what is 6% of 106,000 ? I'll tell you... it's $6,360. So if you had written a purchase price for $106,360, and then taken away 6% for closing costs, the net to the seller would NOT be $100,000! It would be $99,640. The seller might be a tad bit upset. (work the procedure incorreectly on a $300,000 purchase and you get some people a little upset).

So the bank's appraiser looks at the multiple listing printout and sees the asking price was $100,000 and the final sale price is $106,383. The house will need to appraise for $106,383. What if it was at the top of the fair market value when they were asking $100,000?... or worse, what if it was overpriced at $100K ? It won't appraise and the bank will turn you down.

So the seller concession thing is OK, but you have to be careful. And frankly if there is a multiple offer situation on the house you're interested in, and the other offers do NOT include a seller concession, then you are at a distinct disadvantage.

My suggestion? Save your money. You want to buy a house? Save your money. That shows the bank that you are disciplined enough to handle your finances, and it doesn't complicate the process, and in the long run cost YOU more money.

Questions? email me...

Love this business!

Rock on!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Man! We looked at 15 houses today!

You know, as a Realtor I have shown a lot of people a lot of houses! And many times it was a family or a client from out of town. When they are in from out of town, it's a whole different scene. You really put the buyers through a lot, because usually their time is limited! So, I have had a Saturday and a Sunday where I have shown them 30 houses!

Not the best way.

Realistically, you should look at no more than six houses a trip with your Realtor. In fact after each one, you may want to write down notes and thoughts so you don't, later, get them all mixed up! But looking at more than six houses at a time can be pretty tiring. And then guess what? Everyone starts to get a little ornery. Yup. Especially if you haven't found the "right one".

As I said... you are coming in from out of town... you're under the gun, time-wise... it is what it is. then we pour it on.

But, you know what they say.... "You should never go to the grocery store when you're hungry."... you should probably not be trying to buy a house under the pressure of time!

So, talk it over with your Realtor... Go in understanding your situation and plan on looking at a number of houses accordingly.

But my suggestion? 4-6 houses today... 4-6 tomorrow. You'll feel better.

Rock & Roll!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where will I find out about houses for sale ?

Everywhere. EVERYWHERE.

Your Realtor will use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. That's the easiest and most organized inventory for homes for sale. Nearly all the agents in the Capital Region are members, so they put their inventory on the database within 72hours of signing the papers. Then, every member of the MLS has access to it. Immediately.

If you agent has established a relationship with you, they are most likely going to set up an account that will find the house that you've described and have it automatically emailed to you. Immediately.

This is the most up-to-date method going. Very important in a fast paced market, especially when a house just comes on that is well priced!

The rest is old fashioned, or not quite as efficient:

Harmon Homes... or other magazines that Realtors pay to advertise their homes in. Therefore it is somewhat limited and "older". Doesn't have ALL the homes for sale, and can often feature houses that you already know about.

Times Union, Troy Record, Schenectady Gazette... local newspapers... When you read an ad in the newspaper it is about a house that was listed at least a few days ago... Times has an arrangement with MLS, so the information is almost always uploaded to them each evening... So, theoretically the house was signed in today... the info uploaded to MLS today... it will be on the Times Union website tomorrow. Some of the papers make you pay to look at their sites.

Yard signs... like the old days you drive around and find signs in neighborhoods that you like. If you have a certain neighborhood you want you are keeping your eyes peeled! But, don't forget, some homeowners don't want a sign! (Yeah, I know... baffles me too, but that's the way it is sometimes!) And some neighborhoods actually forbid yard signs.

Craig's Litst... Zillow... Linkdin... etc. All these sites are nice, but remember they only have houses that were submitted by the Realtor or the owner! Somewhat limited and often difficult to navigate.

For Sale By Owner.. or "Fisbos" as they are called. You're driving around and you see the sign, or you go onto their website.

Word of mouth... tell EVERYONE you're looking for a house! You know what they'll do? They like you! They'll keep their eyes and ears open and tell you about something they saw!

Bottom line is the info about house to buy is everywhere. Talk to your Realtor about how they are going to find one for you. Be certain that every resource is going to be used. when you find out about a house that your Realtor hasn't mentioned... call him/her. Put them to work. (this includes FSBOs too!)

We'll talk more about what to do when you find a For Sale By Owner later.

I have a seminar to go to today, so I'll see ya tomorrow!

Keep on truckin!

Monday, June 16, 2008

I Saw A House At An Open House... Now what?

Lots of times your Realtor will suggest you peruse the Open House scene over the weekend. Some may go so far as to find out what's going to be open and send you on your way... and SOME say, "Let's all go!"

There really isn't any right or wrong way.

But let me make a suggestion here. If you are travelling about and stopping in at open houses without your agent... let the agent hosting the open house know you are working with someone. Why? Sometimes the person holding the open house is NOT the listing agent. They are actually there for two reasons. One, to hold the property open for the owner; but second to obtain leads on buyers. When you proclaim to the agent there on site that you are working with a fellow Realtor, they realize that you are not looking for buying help, you'd just like to view the property. A true professional will treat your courteously and not try to "hit on you".

This may be extremely important on a new construction site. Some builders have what are called pre-registration policies. These are policies imposed by the builder and their agent requiring that you declare who you are working with, or agree to be working with their agent.

Hmmmm... working with their agent. Sounds like you'd be trying to negotiate with the agent who is obligated to get the best terms possible for the builder. Remember... you want the agent to negotiate in YOUR best interests.

As you know, you are welcome to comment to me here, if you have any questions... If you'd like to communicate with me directly... email me at

Happy hunting!


"Think we'll wait...."

Interseting concept. You've been looking for a house for a while and you are at the end of your rope.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

So Dad... what do you think?

First happy Father's Day!

I'm a dad. Got three wonderful kids. If you're a dad... enjoy em! They grow up fast!

So you want your dad to look at this house you're buying. My daughter gave me one of those wall thingies that reads, "The only man a girl can trust is her Daddy" Well, that does hold a lot of truths. But as I have said in previous blogs, you really need to trust your Realtor... father or mother, male or female.

But you want your dad to look at the house before you buy it. That happens quite a bit, and there is nothing wrong with that. But remember, dads come in all shapes and sizes... Some of them know a lot about houses and buildings and structures and some of them know nuttin!

It is very difficult for me to tell your dad he doesn't know or understand what he's talking about. Especially when I know he loves you so much and he means well. Heck, I'm a dad and I would imagine I would want to get in on the house buying process for my kids. But if they're buying a house in Etowah, Tennessee... well even thought I'm a Realtor... What do I know about house values in Etowah ? I'll probably tell my kid to trust the local pro!

So, my suggestion? If you want your dad's (and/or mom's) input... just keep it in perspective. And remember who is in this business all the time and has already promised you to give you their BEST advice...

Hey! Have a great Father's Day! And If your father's not around I hope you can take some time to have some wonderful thoughts about him!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

CAN'T FIND THE RIGHT HOUSE? Buy one that's NOT for sale!

I mean it. I've done it a few times.... I'll tell my clients, drive around to places where they think they'd like to live. Call me and tell me about the houses they saw and the ones they think they'd like to own. I find out who owns it... what it has to offer and I either call or write, or both! Often I get a phone call back. Sometimes telling me their house is NOT for sale. Sometimes telling me, "Hey, Steve! We actually were thinking about selling!" I also have gotten a couple of calls where the people told me that they were not selling, but they knew of someone else who was thinking about it!

It's not easy for a buyer to do, but your Realtor can do it for you! Don't believe me???!!! Let's try it out! If you are looking in the Albany area, email me at and I'll get you started!

Keep on rockin'! Steve

Friday, June 13, 2008


You know how you hear about people getting "pre-approved" ? They went to the bank, just like their Realtor told them to do, they discussed their financial situation with a loan originator, and they walked away with a piece of paper that reads something like, "CONGRATULATIONS! You can now shop for a home with confidence, as you have been approved for up to $XXX,XXX for a mortgage!...."

What some buyers don't realize is that if ANYthing changes in their credit or job or debt load between this letter being written and a closing.... the loan can be turned down! Even the day before the closing!

"But wait!" everyone involved screams. "I thought they were pre-approved!" Well, they were, but now we can't get a "Clear To Close". A CLEAR TO CLOSE ???? this is a relatively new step in the process that allows the bank to delay or stop a closing if they research the applicants and see new debt, job changes, irregularities, OR they can't get the money at the same terms that THEY thought they could....

So the bottom line is, once you get "pre-approved" and more so, once you actually apply for a mortgage...
Don't incur any additional debt... no matter how small... and most important: Keep paying your bills. Don't miss a payment by even a day!

Don't mean to scare ya, but if you want this to go to a closing, you have to be very disciplined.

Keep on rockin! Have a great day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

How LOW can I offer on a house I want to buy?

We get this question all the time. It's only natural. And you know what? As real estate agents we really want to get you the best deal that we can. That usually means for a honkin' low price!

BUT! It doesn't necessarily work out as simple as it sounds.

When you find the house you want to become your home , you need some professional advice. So you need to turn to your Realtor and say, "What do you think would be a good price for this house?" Your Realtor is going to answer you in one of many ways.

"I think this is a really good price, and you should probably jump on it." This is when a property just got listed, within a day or so of you looking at it. Your agent has studied, and is familiar with the market so he/she knows that this house is a good price and it's going to sell quickly. You know it too, but maybe you still want to try for a "lowball" offer. Well, that's OK, but remember... if you and your agent know it's a good price... so do other folks. And if they put in an offer that is closer to and maybe even ABOVE the asking price, your approach of, "Let's lowball and see what they come back with." just might backfire.

"You know what? This property has been on the market for quite a while... and we know the market is healthy..." Here is where the agent is telling you and observing one or more factors. Why has it been on the market so long? Is it overpriced? Is there an adverse condition that is not immediately apparent? Did it go under contract and then get placed back on the market? If so, for what reason? Is there a structural issue with the property? A good real estate agent is going to look into these possibilities and provide you with in-sight, so you can put together an offer.

Some people... buyers and agents alike, try to look at the overall market statistics and find out what percentage of the asking price do these properties sell for. BE CAREFUL! This could be a mistake, in that if a property is substantially overpriced even an average % of asking price to sale price could be paying too much!

Sometimes with new construction, the builder is at the end of a phase and is anxious to close it out and get going on the next phase. So, they might be more open to taking a lower offer, just to get the phase closed out.

I often give my buyers this type of scenario: If you had to pay X dollars for this house, it would be an OK deal... If you get it for under this price... WOW! Alert the media! And if you pay more than x dollars, it would be my and most anyone in the industry's opinion that you paid too much for this house. That all being said, the biggest question when planning a negotiating strategy, is "How badly do you want this house... and... how would you feel if someone else got it at a price you would have been willing to pay?"

There's no real answer to the questions of how much is a fair offer, so you and your Realtor need to get on and stay on the same page. And more than anything, you will need to trust your agent. And if you get to the point where you don't trust your agent, you need to have a pow-wow about your level of confidence, or you need to get a new agent!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Career in Real Estate ? For you? Yeah! YOU!

I have an idea for you... Are you looking for a new career or maybe even making a career change? Either way you might want to think about becoming a real estate agent. The set up is great! You make pretty much your own schedule... and the income can be extremely rewarding!

I can give you the inside scoop on how it works! You can count on me being brutally honest, because quite frankly it's not for everybody... You have to be pretty sharp and disciplined...

If you think you want to know more... email me a note at Tell me you read my blog and you are curious as to what's involved!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Probably one of the most misunderstood issues when folks are buying a house is that the buyer's haven't got their financing in place! It is so important to get that done right up front! How? DANGER DANGER DANGER!!!! Do NOT go to an online come-on to get a "pre-approved" mortgage! It seems like it would be the right thing to do, but in the end it usually falls apart. What is happening is there are many "mortgage originators" who will issue an approval very quickly, but we find that the rules and requirements change further down the road... many times when it is too late to easily back out of the purchase, so the buyer is almost "forced" into proceeding with less than favorable terms!

So how do you avoid this? When you contact your Realtor ask him or her for a few names of local lending firms that they have a relationship with. Then when you call them, tell them you're shopping mortgages, and that Steve, your Realtor, suggested you contact them. These originators are WAY more reliable!

So, follow your real estate agent's lead... ask them who would be a couple of good mortgage companies to contact!