Why Realtors won't return your calls or emails

There are a number of reasons and probably more that I can list, but I will try to cover the most common ones. Remember, a realtor is there to make money on sales, not to be a friend, the realtor is a businessman and he has expenses and other clients to service. So here we go:

1) They see your area code and they do not speak sufficient English to deal with you.

2) They been burn a bunch of times with mainlanders coming to the island like it is a candy store, with no idea what they really want or where they want to live. This is a big red flag that you just going to waste their time. They do not want to spend too much time with you looking at stuff that you are not yet ready to buy. You are likely to just you go home and come back a few months later and do it all over again. a big red flag is when you want to look at properties that are 1 or 3 hours away from his office. After a few of these the realtor wont give a mainlander the time of the day and will completely stop responding. This is a major reason to avoid you. Do your homework, decide on a town or two after a few tourist trips to the island.
3) Mainlanders while still in the states and without signing any contract with a realtor for their services, sometimes call or email realtors asking them to investigate the cost of schools, map out bad neighborhoods around some properties that they saw in the Internet. While it is understandable they want information, if you are not in the island and are asking about potential properties that you have not yet seen and there is no contract with the Realtor yet, then you are being unreasonable and wasting his time. At the first sign of this, they will stop responding, this is a big red flag.
4) Even after the sale, no matter how nice a realtor is, a realtor can not afford to do you favors, he has expenses and his time is money, just like your time, respect must be mutual. You expect to be payed for every minute you work, well so does the realtor. So don't ask unless you can pay him for his time and he has mentioned that he is willing to assist you, even then, keep it to a minimum. His main job is selling houses, there not much money in being an errant boy, so keep that in mind before you ask. This is another big one. Don't ask him to arrange for someone to build a fence, find someone to cut your grass, etc.
5) Some mainlanders do searches in the Internet and then contact a realtor to investigate a property that he did not list, some ask him to compare it to other properties and give them his opinion. Given that it is not one of his properties, the likelihood is that he has never visited that property so he can not give you a comparison or an honest opinion. It is also not his job to give you opinions, his job is to show you properties and make it easy to close on the sale. Come to the island first, see some properties with the realtor then make your own mind. DO listen to his advice if he offers it.
6) Realtors are not available 7/24. Calling a realtor in the middle of the night with some questions that can wait until morning is rude and not thoughtful. Besides, it may be a holiday in PR while it may be a workday in the states and from time to time a realtor also wants to spend some time sleeping or have an outing with his friends or family. Would you like to be called at all times of the day and night?
7) Also calling the realtor and expecting him to be on the phone with you for 3 hours while you ask hundreds of questions is not financially rewarding to the realtor. Writing a long letter that he has no time to read also does not work well, it is not likely to be read or read carefully. You may be retired, he is not. List your questions, make them short and he can spare you 10 minutes of his time once a week or so.
8) Some mainlanders treat the realtor like hired help and or are in general rude. Some will make inappropriate comments or conversations (bigotry, politics, religion, sex for example). A realtor needs to sell properties in a professional manner and while he may not send you to hell no matter how rude or inappropriate you been, next time you contact him he will remember or avoid you. He is not your friend, lover or hired help. He is providing services for a fee or commission or both.
9) Some mainlanders have been known to flat out lie and say they are looking for a cash transaction, when in reality they need a mortgage for which they may or may not qualify.
10) Some mainlanders have lied about what they can afford, they have the realtor show them 350k homes and then turn around and maybe purchase a falling apart property for 80k. If you intended to buy cheap property it was a waste of time for you and the realtor to go look at properties well above what you are willing to pay. This pisses them off to no end.
11) Some mainlanders do not want to get pre-qualified for a loan for a number of reasons but they expect the realtor to jump thru hoops and show them properties without any assurances that they can afford the properties. You see this in the states also, but most realtors will basically tell you to go get pre-qualified then come back. Not sure why they think that things are going to be different in PR.
12) Some mainlanders have put in outrageous offers/bids on properties that insult the owner and waste everyones times. If you are going to offer a low offer, ask the realtor how likely it is that the owner will accept. Some realtors will not carry your offer forward to the owner because they know it is insulting and just tell you that the owner refused, this way he can keep the communication channels open, they are not supposed to do that but some do so the deal won't die. The economy is bad in PR and house prices are already depressed. What you as a mainlander may not know is that the asking price may already be a firesafe, so offering 10, 15 or 20% less could offend the owner and waste everyones time. First offer is the start of negotiation as long as it is reasonable. If you are sure you want the property but can not trust the realtor for an opinion on the offer, then go ahead and get the property assessed by a professional. It does cost money so you will only do it if you are serious about that property, you do not want to end conversation too early or offer way above its real value. Specially if you are getting a mortgage as the bank will turn you down because the property is not worth that much. Also keep in mind that what is reasonable in Yauco may be an insult in Fajardo.

There is a big difference between buying a home in the states and in PR for mainlanders and that is that in the US the process is not rushed, it is spread over months or a year. Every week or so you see 1-5 properties and you are partially familiar with the area. There are also Realtor databases with plenty information and pictures about all homes being sold nation wise. Finding properties is a matter of a search of the database, this makes it efficient for you and the realtor to quickly discard properties and only visit properties  with high possibility of being just right for you.

When you come to PR, you are under pressure of time and money. every single trip is costing you and draining your funds. As such you want to maximize the number of houses you want to see in the least amount of time. Perfection would be if a realtor goes around with you to show you places every single day and be dedicated to you for the week or two that you are in the island. Let me tell you, that relators have a hard time dedicating themselves exclusively to you for such long periods of time and even if they did there is no easily searchable database of properties in the market and what is there has little information and real bad pictures. It is understandable that one is in a panic since the odds are against you that you will find that perfect place in such short amount of time. That is why you need to focus on a spot / location and concentrate in what is available there. Do your candy shop number as a tourist, nail down the area, then contact a realtor.

So what I am hearing is that the definition of a "Realtor" in PR is not the same as it is in the states. I've learned that our version of "customer service" is not the same in PR which is fine but my question then becomes, how does one navigate this difference? If they aren't willing to pick up the phone for those reasons not related to the language barrier, and explain the process how are we supposed to know? The points you laid out are exactly what is expected of a realtor in the U.S. minus being considered "hired help" but let's be real, they are being "hired to help" and if that isn't the case, then what is the point of being in sales and from my view point, leaving money on the table? As someone in sales, I know that not every customer is a good customer and worth your time and effort but in times like these where the economic situation is in such dire straits, it would seem to me that the best course of action, if selling real estate in PR would be to adapt. They should most certainly explain to their clients what to expect from them as realtors and what is expected of the clients because how else will the clients know if they aren't told? Just a Sunday morning thought!  ;)

My understanding is that the problem is not so much cultural (non-customer service orientation) as it is structural.  No MLS makes it much harder to identify properties that might be of interest to a buyer.  Buyers become more work, for an uncertain payout.  As a result agents focus on  sellers and acquiring listings.

Much like their driving habits (no concept of a passing lane), this appears to be a situation where a single, structural change could make the whole more efficient. I'm not holding my breath.

Realtors that do answer the phone will explain the process, but they want you in the office and get that letter from the bank that you been pre-qualified. It is only a few minutes of their time to explain.

As to hired for their help. In the states the realtor is not hired for their help, you pay them absolutely nothing unless you buy, so I would not consider them HIRED.

Customer service, any realtor worth his salt will be pleasant and tell you about the properties they are under contract to sell. They will also have some information about properties listed by other agents but not as much information.

Realtors in the US typically will show you properties of their own and most other agents. Most realtors in PR will only show you their own properties unless they are Buyer Agents of which there are only a few.

The above note is not what they will do or won't, it is about the issues they have encountered and why they won't work with mainlanders.

In PR a native will call an agent and ask if they have any properties in a particular town or neighborhood that may meet some needs they have, this is a 5 minute conversation. If there are some, the agent will like to show them pictures they have and select 1 to 5 properties to go view if the customer has been pre-qualified. All of them close by, if the customer does not like them, then the customer has to find another realtor. It is very efficient for the realtor and hell for the customer having to deal with 12 realtors.

The native knows the island, knows where they want to live and what sort of living style they like. They are not choosing between a beach house and a country home on 15 acres of land. Transactions are quick and a realtor can sell several units a month for thousands of dollars each.

Besides not wasting time, having lots of houses under contract is king for a seller agent as this provides lots of possibilities for multiple clients. The higher the inventory the more likely they will have something to sell you when you come knocking.

There is no formal arrangements between agents, where in the states the seller agent and the customer agent typically split the commission half and half in PR there is no formal arrangement and some seller agents will not split the commission or only provide a minimal commission to the agent that brought the client.

As WarnerW said, the system is not setup to be efficient between realtors nor there is a formal agreement.

So you have to visit multiple agents, and the ones that you visit will try to get you out as quickly as possible if they don't have something for you or you are not qualified. Most agents will only show you their property they have under contract with the seller even if the house next to it is also up for sale, you will have to call and visit the selling agent for that property.

A seller agent job is to sell the property under his contract for as much money as they can get for the owner and as such to bloat their commission.

As for the "Hired for their help" comment, we will have to agree to disagree. The fact that they receive payment differently doesn't mean they aren't hired it means they are paid in a different manor but they are paid and they are paid for their knowledge and expertise to help close the sale of a property. That aside, my takeaway from  your original post was that the expat's lack of knowledge on how things work is the biggest issue so as a potential homebuyer, I would love to know the process because that makes life easier for everyone but it must be shared.

It is basically a commission job, no sale no commission. So making sure that there is a good chance of a sale is golden for them both in PR and in the states.

Locals are their primary customers and are a customer that they can communicate with and fairly easily pre-qualify or disqualify.

Once bitten by the above list, they stop looking at mainlanders. Long ago they were nice and customer focused but they are no longer that way due to what they have experienced.

Only new ones will go out of their way until they get burned a few times. Experienced realtors laugh at them.

Yes there is an educational component of the process / procedure but there are not too many willing to educate if you are a mainlander.

There are also other categories of Realtors besides seller agents:
a) Buyer agents (close to what you are used to in the US)
b) High Price seller agents (1 million and above properties mostly), they will even take you out to dinner.
c) Relocation Services: They will pick you up at the airport, take you to your hotel which they have arrange for, provide you multi month accommodations while searching for a property, make arrangements for your households or take you shopping, get your Internet, water, electricity connected, find you the property, hire a lawyer, get the house clean after the sale and take you out for a drink after the closing. All of which you are paying for at the tune of probably 30-50K for services not counting expenses for the purchase of the home. Typically this is payed and provided to VPs of corporations or high roller investors by their companies.

A good example are properties listed in Clasificados, many only have one real bad picture and most are in Spanish, a lot of times there is an agent assigned to it.

You then call a different agent, and ask him about the property listed by the other agent. Guest what!!!! He has the same information you do, a bad picture and a lousy listing.

Because of language barrier or laziness you do not call the listing agent, but you expect the agent you did contact to find information for you.

What happens then .... It depends, if he is a Buyer agent, he has you under contract and he thinks you are serious about considering that property, he may call the listing agent and ask for additional information. But he is not you and he has not seen the property either so it will only be effective to a point. The picture does not show the 3 dumps that surround that nice home. Going to see it is the way to go if you are serious about that property.

If he is a seller agent he will tell you it is not one of his listings and hang up or send you similar properties he does represent and hangup. A seller agent will not normally show you properties or want to talk about properties he does not have under contract to sell.

You are far away, he does not know you, he can not look into your eyes and have no idea of your finances or seriousness. Likely he will forget all about you until you are in the island.

PR is a country which is a colony of the US, it is not the US so some things are vastly different.

That makes sense and is very helpful to those of us who do want to learn.

Sorry to be so negative but I want to make sure that people are prepared.

If you are dealing with seller agents do so a week or two before you come. The farther your trip away the less likely they will pay attention.

Be very specific about what you can afford and if we are talking cash or mortgage. also be very specific about what you want, if they don't have it, likely they wont when you come visit. Both you and the agent have saved time.

Working with seller agents expect 1 in 5 to call you back and you will need at least 5 to show you properties in a 1 week visit, if you are going to be longer, you will likely need more seller agents. Each will show you 1 to 5 properties on average that may meet your needs. So you are going to have to make a lot of calls.

If you are going with a Buyer agent, assuming you find one, you need only one agent or at most an agent per region, it depends how far they are willing to drive. He will contact most seller agents in the area and show you those seller agents properties and his own. He makes all the arrangements. He may want 6% instead of the customary 5% and he may charge you for his time, not just commission. This is because he has to spend time showing you 15-50 properties in short order and you may still not buy anything. So spending a week or two running around the island is costing him time and money with little chance of making a sale. All the risk is on his side, so he is likely to want some money on a daily basis to cover some of his expenses as otherwise he would get zero money if you go back to the states without a purchase.

I never seen any type of agent in the states go out showing properties to a single customers every day for a week or two.

Because your time in the island is limited, the buyer agents in PR have to line up a lot of houses for you to see every day. He may spend 4 hours with you and 6 hours on the phone with other agents, trying to line it all. This is also time he does not spend talking with other customers or showing with other more likely customers.

I agree with Rey that a potential buyer should know how the real estate game works in PR.  I disagree with the implication of his first post that the problems are caused by ignorant or selfish expats.  While prior bad experience with expats can sour a relationship, I think the greatest obstacles for a buyer are the structural ones I mentioned -- the system simply isn't set up to encourage the exchange of information between agents, and as a result, realtors are neither able nor willing to give buyers the kind of service they get in the mainland.

I've had a wonderful relationship with a buyer's agent in Mayaguez - she's been simply fantastic.  Unfortunately, we haven't been able to close a deal.  In one case, the lender refused to approve a loan (and then after the house was under contract to someone else, decided that they could approve it after all!), while in the other case, a cash offer at the asking price was refused, as the seller placed unreasonable (and probably unenforceable) restrictions on the sale, and then simply took the property off the market.  I feel horrible that she has been so helpful and gotten nothing out of it.  The best I can do is give her a gift when we eventually move to the island.  She's a landscape painter, so I'm thinking of some nice canvas, brushes and paints.

Not disagreing  with you WarnerW, like you said the system is not there, the data does not exist and the agreement or industry regulations are not in place. I agree, this prevents a lot of seller agents to be like a Buyer agent and offer properties not listed with them.

As such today the system remains that you need multiple seller agents if you want to minimize wasted time and wasted trips to the island.

Based on all the negative stuff I read on line here about the buyers experience with realtors, I guess we were very lucky in connecting with a realtor who was helpful, on time, knowledgable of the market, bilingual, honest, etc etc.   We found a place and bought it on the spot.
If someone wants a contact, PM me.

But I know even good ones like our guy get stiffed every once in awhile.  I know he spent several days showing buyers property around the entire island, only to have the clients buy from a different agent.  The real estate business is very competitive and  sometimes cutthroat.

Right on the money Sitka

Excellent thread Ray P and thoughts from everyone, real estate here is basically the same as US and while not every one is a realtor, they think its an easy job and yes its easier when you are a lister agent since all you do is wait for someone to call and show, as you can see they don't answer or call back and show the property....... but when you are a buyers agent its a whole new game

I'm sure by now many of people here has got a lot to think about, the most common issues I see are:

Not knowing the island enough and asking someone instead learning yourself apples might be oranges to some people

Asking to see 20-25 properties with a buyers agent for free, btw 25 properties is excessive and I understand... but either you don't know what you want or you are not sure use the agent expertise to find you a nice place he should be able to do some Q&A to figure out what is on your mind.

Wanting to have a high end service but not willing to compensate accordingly, man a proper agent has to be a lawyer appraiser mortgage officer land surveyor property tax specialist.. only to be compensated as a real estate agent.

If you are going to finance, talk to the bank first!!!... many times people want to see a property but they have no idea of mortgage terms or if they can afford it, as the mayority, I will not move a finger until I know you are properly qualified, agents are not property demonstrators we want a sale!!

Great expectations, well you wont buy a 300k property at 50k period, on same note you won't buy a nice decent place in a good area for 25-50k that's not how it works, real estate is still valuable and worthy depending on the area, talk to your agent about your thoughts reality and expectations... its rude to make a 20k less than asking price to a private seller while the repo market is a whole different story.

Great expectations 2, hey dont say an agent you are looking for a 200k property and then go for one at 80k, even if it looks like a white lie, that's not fair to the agent since he is thinking to get a fair commision and then ends up with a mcdonald's compensation after all his work and yes... it happens.

Buyers agent will save time, money and effort, just make sure you hire the correct one, they know way more than you ever will about island real estate!, so far all the mainlanders I have work with end up finding what they were looking for or the best next thing in record time!! 



I was a real estate agent myself in one of the most competitive and rule-restrictive markets in the country. Only about one in three contracts actually closed. Comparing that to PR, I would have to say that the division of responsibility in PR is much more defined: seller agents show property -- period. Don't ask them for CC&Rs, info on utilities, schools or anything else. hey largely know nothing about financing, and don't care to know. Loan officers do loans -- period. And if you want info on rules, regs, codes, etc. you need to figure it out yourself. Although I would have to say the loan officers I encountered were more knowledgable regarding what might or might not qualify for conforming loans, VA loans, etc.

My advice for anyone considering purchasing property on the island is to get with a loan officer first. Since FNMA pulled out of much of the market you will need to know which types of properties would qualify should you need a conforming load (for example, no property in VSJ would qualify). Once you have a loan secured, investigate areas on your own, armed with the types of loans that might be available to you. Talk to neighbors about crime, schools, services, traffic, weather issues, etc. When you find where you want to live, find a realtor that specializes in that area, and TELL HIM you want to see what's available in your price range in the area you like, even if it ISN'T his listing. Some realtors take the attitude of "oh, it's someone from the states who just wants to come down to scope out the possibiities, and I'll just be wasting my time with him". So impress upon your realitor that you are deadly serious and if he shows you the right place, he has a sale. In my case, I know only "prequalified", I FULLY QUALIFIED first. I had a loan secured -- all I needed was a properly to go with it. I thought doing it this way would get action, and it did.

Thank you Rey for the information.

"I never seen any type of agent in the states go out showing properties to a single customers every day for a week or two. "

I did ALL the time.

Lack of a true MLS is a major flaw for real estate in most of Latin America.  I agree with previous comments that whether cultural or structural, current practices of poor customer service do not leave a comforting impression on potential buyers.   However I have also noticed that terrible customer service and mediocre service have become a trend worldwide.  Many people in service industry jobs, especially sales jobs, tend to put in best efforts only when the promise of a significant commission is guaranteed.  In other words real estate agents won't even cross the street if the list price on a property is below 89k.   But that is but one of many bad traits partially attributed to economic slumps.  Whether an economy is in a boon or a slump, there are no guarantees that a sale will be made when it comes to commission-based jobs, and agents need to remember that or look for a different line of work.  Many buyers are working directly with sellers when they can.  If a customer has to do all of the legwork, then who needs a middle person? some degree can be accused of the same thing.

Interesting post Rey.

While that list you put together is pretty concise, I asked for none of those things from any of my realtors. I lived here, spoke Spanish, was pre-qualed, and still dealt with zero or poor communication from 2 different banks and about 10 mortgage employees at these banks. On top of 3-4 ineffectual real estate people. For over 8 months.

While my experience is anecdotal, there have been enough postings about it now that it is no longer happenstance. The real state process is a mess down here, period. It is of no surprise that American banks , other than Sun West, do not want to be bothered. And having no MLS system hinders sellers, buyers, and the banks.

It is great to hear that some folks have gone through home buying  without issues, but I will never attempt it again. Going to try to put the cash together or consider other locations. For now, happily renting in Isabela.

As a local, even if only speaking English the process of buying should be better since the rush is not there. It is island time. Banks are an issue but granted they should not be if the title is clear and they have experience. Some branches handle few mortgages so they are inept.

I Rembrandt you were buying a farm and everything was taking forever.

Yep, they kept asking for extensions for closing, or new paperwork, or lost paperwork and needed it again. I finally asked for my closing money back. That part of the process was pretty quick since the realtors still had it. Looks like even the owner of the house was so livid with the process and took the farm off the market. Only lost about 1K, plus all of the time and frustration.

Ended up finding a fully furnished 3BR house in Isabela and it's been great. Going to keep searching for land for another year, and if I can't find what I want, will probably go.

Hope you find it.

I sent you a pvt msg

I have been told stories of seller agents telling the potential client to meet them in a day or two at a property, the agent in question shows up an hour late and smelling like a brewery. Very unprofessional.

Not all agents are full time agents, some do it part time and have a regular job so their availability is limited. If you run into an agent that has a lot of time constraints as to when to take you visiting homes, there is a good chance he only does it part time. As such he likely has limited number of places to show you.

As the economy gets worse, the number of repossessed homes increases and there are less local customers to buy, the chances of a mainlander getting a little more attention will grow, but slowly since they are used to the old system.

Hey I would love a contact. I have been in Santurce for a year and we are ready to move to a finca. We have seen 2 so far but I am having trouble basically what the thread is about.  Thank you.

If you are looking for a farm property, I know a guy that runs a tropical nursery in Mayaguez that does farm hunting on the side. He actually found the off grid farm I wanted to buy in less than a month. I looked at about 10 farms in a month. That part of the process was actually a lot of fun. PM if you want his contact info.

My recent experience with realtors: (Renting)

Called 5. 3 of the 5 returned calls.

Each showed listings they had. (Standard for P.R.)

All were helpful and friendly.

All this was done within 4 days.

Signed a lease on the 5th day.

Sent a follow up text and thanked each and everyone for their time.

Hi Frankie1adrian
Thanks for sharing.

Renting is a lot less complex since we as customers know we can walk away at any time and rent elsewhere, as such we are less picky than if we were going to buy, There are also a lot of properties for rent, the more people leave the more that are free.

When it is time to leave the US I will rent for 6 months to a year while my place is build. However I have very specific needs of the rental unit:
1) 2-3 Bedrooms
2) Good Internet at location
3) Air conditioner in working order in each bedroom
4) GOOD screens in the windows
5) Every appliance in working order and no leaky plumbing
5) Fully Fenced backyard with no space where my little dog may escape, also prefer that my dog does not see people or other dogs when in the back yard, she tends to bark instead of doing her business.
6) AWAY from other houses, I don't want to hear or smell when they go to the toilet or hear their fights. So no Urbanizaciones for me.
7) Within 10 minute drive from the property, will look into Ceiba, Fajardo and Naguabo. Ceiba and Naguabo preferred.

It does not need to be pretty, I will be using it mostly to live for a few months while my place is build.

I am not bringing much from the states and will buy just one bedroom set, a small dining room set and a couch to carry to my house being build when done.

Once the house is build we will then buy what we need a room at a time every few months.


We had the same standers as you and all were met. We will be living in Dorado. Schools were important to us. I know that's not a worry for you. Our plans is to buy when the lease is up. (12months)

Some of the rentals we looked at were not kept well.  :(

I should of added that we viewed a few private owner homes. They were in excellent condition. The problem was they were not ready until July. We having furniture coming in a week. :}

I think it was awesome we had a great response from the realtors and private owners.

There's a lot of rental properties out there. Do to people moving to the states. I'm sure you will find what your looking for. ;)

Frankie1adrian :


We had the same standers as you and all were met. We will be living in Dorado. Schools were important to us. I know that's not a worry for you. Our plans is to buy when the lease is up. (12months)

Some of the rentals we looked at were not kept well.  :(

I should of added that we viewed a few private owner homes. They were in excellent condition. The problem was they were not ready until July. We having furniture coming in a week. :}

I think it was awesome we had a great response from the realtors and private owners.

There's a lot of rental properties out there. Do to people moving to the states. I'm sure you will find what your looking for. ;)

Yes I do not expect much trouble finding a place to rent when I come a year from now. I am working on getting my house ready for the market, needs a bit of work that I been putting off for a while.


Understand. We did a for sale by owners. Out neighbor family was looking for a home. So before we put it on the market and paid realtor fees we got lucky. I wish you the best.

Great article Rey!!

My advice for anyone thinking of buying real estate in Puerto Rico, is just before calling a Agent do your research, check different sites to have an idea on what your inclining for, visit Forums likes these help alot.

It's good to have an idea on your budget, needs, location and have all your specifications on hand. Now, the next step is to start searching for a Real Estate Agent, ask for recommendations, visit their website, if they have a facebook business page check their reviews, there you will see their online presence  and what others have to say about them and so on.

If after searching and searching you get a handful willing to help, interview them, ask them questions to see if they fit you're needs. Now, be considerate, we only get paid when we sell, and even though the Agent could be willing to help you along your journey, the distance between one town to another could take alot of commitment and can be time consuming for them if you're not a serious buyer.

Puerto Rico has alot to offer, the perfect weather, outstanding beaches, delicious food, tranquility and low pace environment!

If you decide to Relocate to Puerto Rico, in advance what I could say is "Bienvenido a nuestra isla del Encanto". "PARADISE IS WAITING!!

My advice is simple: Have an approval of a loan in hand and then go shopping for an address. Armed with that, amazing how many realtors will want to work with you.
Apart from that, you have tremendous bargaining power with the seller, because your offer is a sure deal.

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