Being an allied professional in the real estate industry means spending your days guiding clients through the pitfalls and travails of the process with an observer’s cool detachment and level head, all in the name of helping them realize their goals and achieve their dreams.
Always Be Closing.
Then comes the day you find yourself on the other side of the table. You become the consumer of someone else’s professional services. Short of a sugar-laced, mid-afternoon double espresso, what better jolt to the system than being on the receiving end of lackluster service?
“Good morning Mr. Luzier, this is your wake-up call.”
For me it started innocently enough. A quick email to a previously-utilized mortgage resource led to a phone application and a rapid approval for a refinance at a favorable rate. Then, the real work began – providing account statements, insurance information, expense verification, tax returns, blood type – and so on and so forth. Over, and over, and OVER again.
For One Hundred and Sixty. Nine. Days.
Yes, you read that correctly: 169 days. My own refinance was taking so long that my office colleagues kept track by counting down for everyone to see – along the lines of the way the world waited with unfailing anticipation during the Iranian hostage crisis – i.e. “Day 145 – need updated bank statements AGAIN.” Meanwhile, I convinced myself the repeated delays, unanswered questions, and glacial pace were no different than the treatment I often see my own clients endure at the hands of their mortgage lenders.
“This is the nature of the beast.” “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have – everyone gets treated the same way.” “Getting a mortgage these days is a marathon, not a sprint.”
These are all words I’ve said to others (in earnest) to assuage their feelings of having been chewed up and spit out by the mortgage process. They are the same words I told myself to divert my attention from the cycle of disinterest demonstrated by those who had agreed to help me achieve my goal of completing a garden-variety refinance.
Thankfully, somewhere around Day 155 I had a moment of clarity, and on a hunch picked up the phone to reach out to a mortgage originator many of my clients hold in unusually high esteem – someone whose low-key demeanor and ability to answer people’s concerns in a methodical and intelligent way made me hope that perhaps even my simple project could one day reach its intended conclusion.
The difference was like night and day.
The approach from the new lender was simple and logical. They took a quick look at my credit history in the context of the requested loan, then drilled down to assimilate the information necessary to provide their underwriter with a fully-defensible application package. Since all was in order when application was made, the approval occurred promptly, and the list of pre-closing conditions to satisfy was reasonably short.
Barely 30 days will have elapsed from the first contact with the originator to the closing of the new loan. Granted, all of the information requested of me was close at hand thanks to my prior experience, so I was able to short-circuit much of the document assemblage challenges that hog-tie so many in their effort to move their mortgage request from application to closing.
Meanwhile, I’ve received regular status updates throughout, enjoyed prompt responses to my inquiries, and was repeatedly impressed with the interactive nature of the conversation with my lender who expressed genuine concern about me, my financial goals, and what would work best for me and my family with this particular transaction.
Out of the morass came the simple affirmation that just because many have a dismal experience in a particular business sector, doesn’t mean this is the new normal.
As with most things, the right people on the job can make all the difference – because they are veterans who know the ropes and stay on top of the process – because they want to do a good job for you and earn your repeat business – because they care.
Life is all about choices, and the moral of this story is to choose wisely when it comes time to suggest to whom your clients should turn to satisfy their mortgage lending needs.
Realtors and novices alike know the mortgage approval process is not what it used to be thanks to drastic changes in regulatory oversight in the wake of the Great Recession. So why waste your time with those who are not totally invested in or easily capable of delivering a 5-star experience under the new rules and regulations, when there are professionals out there who understand the challenges, and know how to negotiate the process so you come out the other end happy and satisfied?
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