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Many buyers make the common mistake of looking for a home prior to having their finances in order resulting in precious time wasted and lost on all party's ends due to disqualification of credit or just not having an acceptable amount of capital to purchase the property. By not having an acceptable amount, meaning we know the seller is requiring X amount and you only can provide half of that - it's not adequate proof of funding.
The two most common types of proof of funding are the following:
So why are agents hesitant to show me a house without one of these? Maybe I just want to look around and see what's out there?
While we strive to provide the best service available to all buyers, like your time, our time is very precious - and as they say 'time is money' for all parties involved. There are open houses and model homes for that exact purpose for those who want to looky-loo prior to going into a bank and beginning the mortgage process. To schedule inspections and take time out of someone's day just because you're curious is just not fair to the working agent. Proof of funding letters show the seriousness and intent to the agent that you're looking to purchase a property in the immediate future. By no means would agents say you're misleading them, but it's a simple request to put equal effort into the process as we, the agents, are.
If you're serious, please provide a proof of funding letter prior to beginning work with an agent and don't take this request as offensive or intrusive. This will put all parties at ease and avoid delays with offers - as about 99% of all sellers REQUIRE a proof of funding letter to even consider going under contract.
Hopefully this explanation helps for your future Real Estate Endeavors!