I have an offer in counter, and one of the sticking points involves financial disclosure of the purchaser's assets to the seller and his agent (who happens to live in the building where my buyer is making the offer).
We sent over an excellent offer with a lenders letter from an extremely reputable local lender. And the loan officer is an absolute favorite of good agents all over town. The letter was more thorough than most, explaining that they had already done an income and assets check as well as a credit report. He had readily available liquid assets sufficient to settle and a very high credit score. The application had already gone through underwriting and was contingent upon a satisfactory appraisal.
This wasn't a months' old boiler plate letter from internetloansthatmightormightnotfund.com. And it was updated last week.
Now, I am not comfortable knowing all of my clients' personal business. So many of my buyers are close friends and relatives that I send them immediately to a trusted loan officer. I come out knowing how much of a mortgage and down payment they can do, and that's really all I need.
If a listing agents wants more information, I have my client authorize the loan officer to speak to them. But I am almost never willing to send over detailed personal information to a real estate office across town's fax machine.
It seems that with upper bracket transactions (or agents who do a lot of them), this approach works. And while the condo my guy is trying to buy is pretty pricey, the listing agent is with a firm that does most of its business in the mid to low end of the price spectrum.
In some parts of the country, it's considered rude to expect a buyer to tell all to people he doesn't know from Adam in order to buy a house or apartment. At the same time, I think it's good for a seller to have a high comfort level that the buyer is able to buy and will actually show up on settlement day with the funds to settle, from his mortgage company or his trust fund.
While I think agents are somewhat more careful than they used to be with other people's personal information, I've been in real estate offices where all kinds of stuff is on top of agents' desks.
In this day of great concern about privacy and identity theft, I wonder how agents handle financial disclosure around the country.