Do I have to disclose my assets to my real estate agent/broker?

QUESTION:

I am looking to hire a realtor to buy a home but I do not want to reveal to them how much cash I have and how much money I am looking to borrow. I only want to give them a dollar amount for what I'm ‘approved‘ for. Is it possible to work this way with a realtor?

Historically, realtors have tried to push me to reach out to certain lenders. I think who I am borrowing from is none of their business and how much cash I'm spending is none of their business.

If realtors continue to try to get me to 'up my spending threshold' by finding different 'sources' or things like that, I may just have to find a way to buy a home where I don't have to interact with a realtor, because I'm getting sick of it.

ANSWER:

Finances are a very private matter, but are also critical terms when it comes to the purchase of a home.

The purpose of disclosing a financial snapshot to your agent is so that agent can craft an offer that shows your qualification as a purchaser and gives the seller the confidence that you can close on the deal. Often times, an incomplete picture of assets will preclude a seller (or agent) from taking your offer seriously. 

Additionally, when financing, an offer MUST include the purchase price, amount financed, and down payment - there is just no way around that, if you want your offer to be taken seriously. In the event of a condo or coop purchase, a financial snapshot is also usually a board requirement, as is showing reserve funds in an account to cover monthly fees for a certain period of time.

We always suggest asking the agent why they are requesting certain information. If they can't give you a good answer, it's probably time to move on.

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