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posted: 5/26/2012 4:41 AM

There's nothing unusual about pre-approval letter

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Q. I'm confused. To purchase a property we are looking at, we need a commercial loan. My realtor says she can't bid unless we have a pre-approval letter from a bank. But the bank wants to know the purchase price of the property before they will preapprove us.

We have A+ credit and income and should not have any issue being qualified. I don't know what to do. Can a Realtor bid without the pre-approval or not? Others have told me she can bid.

A. It's not the agent who "bids" -- it's you, the buyers, who sign an offer. The law requires agents to submit all written offers. But the seller's agent must also obey the seller's instructions. Perhaps the property owners have said they only want to hear from buyers who are already preapproved for financing.

It's not clear why you can't get that before you have a binding purchase contract. Pre-approval letters are usually issued to qualified buyers who have not yet found the property they want. The letter would state that the buyers can borrow a certain amount, but only if they buy property that meets the lender's standards.

Talk with a mortgage broker, who may have other lenders to suggest.

• Edith Lank will respond to questions sent to her at 240 Hemingway Drive, Rochester, N.Y. 14620 (include a stamped return envelope), or readers may email her through

2012, Creators Syndicate Inc.

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