Southern Maryland Best Buys


Champagne Budget - Real or Perceived?

Loan Pre approval is the first step to having a successful home buying experience. It narrows down the correct price range for shopping purposes plus exposes the Homebuyer to the types of loans that will be offered to each Buyer. Step one is the important one!

Champagne Budget - Real or Perceived? Find Out BEFORE You Shop for Homes in Charlotte NC!

Charlotte home shopping -champagne taste, beer budgetThis topic has been discussed repeatedly but, it certainly bears further conversation as the issue repeats itself, creating problems for everyone involved.

My mantra is that you must have a pre-approval letter before getting into my car.  Granted, I spend more time with sellers these days than with buyers but, my buyers agents spend 100% of their time with buyers so, I’m speaking on their behalf here.

I’m generally a trusting soul--when a potential buyer phones me and is seriously interested in purchasing a home in the near future, my first two questions are:

  • Are you working with a real estate agent?
  • Have you spoken with a lender and have you been pre-approved?

If the answer to the latter question is yes, I ask them what their pre-approval involved and we discuss the price range of homes that they would like to remain in when they purchase.  

Many of the recent prospective buyers have stated that they have these pre-approval letters and are armed and ready to go!  Let’s just say their price range is supposedly $300,000.  They are then partnered with a buyers agent who matches their area/lifestyle needs and the search is on.  

More often than ever before, I’m getting calls from agents that the buyers are not qualified for the amount in the price range in which they are searching.  They have been shopping online for homes in the $300,000 range and only qualify for a home in the $200,000 range.  

Charlotte home buyer tips - Find out first if you're on a beer budget

This ‘fatal error’ has not only cost the buyer time but, the agent’s time has been wasted as well.  The worst part of the situation is that this buyer has been eyeing several $300K properties and now they are going to have to ‘settle’ for a $200K property--quite a difference in our area.  It’s difficult to ever then find a home in the price range for which a buyer truly qualifies when they have been looking at the champagne homes!  

So, for your best interests, your smartest move BEFORE shopping (even online) for homes is to consult a lender to obtain a pre-approval.  It really doesn’t take that long and can even be done over the phone.  Give us a call, we’ve got a great list of lenders to share with you!

This quick, easy and painless process can save you hours and hours of home shopping and can save you from heartbreak when your champagne tastes are truly a beer budget! 

And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with being on a beer budget--oftentimes we ALL need to be reeled back in to acknowledge that we’re on one!

Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage loan?  Here's a great place to start your home search:

Search Charlotte Homes for Sale


     search charlotte real estate information at 

  Charlotte NC Homes for Sale

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Debe Maxwell, CRS/Realtor®/Broker
Phone (704) 491-3310


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Comment balloon 3 commentsCheryl Ritchie • March 28 2012 05:18AM


Chery, This is a good post to reblog. I have worked with buyers who have champagne taste on beer budget.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 8 years ago

Good Post, Cheryl ... and to add to this - as a sellers agent, be SURE the pre-qual is current when the offer comes in --- IF NOT, do your homework and check with the lender ... BE SURE IT WAS A REAL QUAL and not just the credit check and the BUYERS statements ... ck that the lender looked at the paperwork and such.... I had an offer on a home with a pre-qual that was 2 months old ... after the back & forth with the offer and the home inspections, etc ... with a 45 day closing ... then, when the lender re-ran the credit -  NEW liens came up and the loan was dis-approved ... Sheesh ... talk about a waste of time!   Lesson Learned! 

Posted by Marianne Infusino, RE/MAX - FLOW Area - 201 (RE/MAX HomeTowne Realty) almost 8 years ago

Hi Cheryl - this is real estate 101 for us, but the buyers don't want to listen. What do we know anyway.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) almost 8 years ago