When you combine a mortgage transaction with a deadline, meaning a “closing date”, the dynamics change. While I could make the commodity versus service argument on a refinance just as compelling, you are viewing this more than likely considering a purchase money loan transaction. When you look at the “lowest rate”, realize you are still looking at an advertisement. Someone is marketing to you this way to get YOU, the consumer, to call their company. There is a possibility you may be talking to a call center telemarketer with minimal mortgage knowledge whose number one goal is to get you to apply for the loan with them. After all, your main driving factor is price, not service at this stage.
[ For a Rate Quote or to Discuss Lending Options, Please Contact Chris Lester with PrimeLending ]
Once you complete the application, the call center loan officer is on to the next call and you are likely not going to speak with him or her again. Your application is processed to what you applied for, with little thought to your financial profile and possible options which may better fit you. Information on your transaction is as secretive as a cold war missile silo. But you still got the great rate, right? Saving a couple thousand dollars compared to the local lender your agent or financial planner recommended. You are the smart one, not falling for the apparent “buddy” arrangement they seemed to have going. All is great, at least for the moment.
Fast forward a few weeks and you are approaching your much anticipated settlement date. The date which you have set numerous expectations with friends and family about your pending move. You may have planned a housewarming, or trying to be host to family for a holiday, or taking a day off of work to get it all done. The lender will not return calls, or if they are talking to you, it is about needing more information to support your credit application which was overlooked at application.
Your closing date comes…now, your furniture is on a moving truck with a daily meter ticking. A seller and listing agent are burning up your phone discussing the seller’s hardship and expenses which you are made to feel guilty about or even possibly financially liable based on the terms of your purchase agreement. You are checking in at the local Marriot just to take a shower. Your loan is in Minneapolis, or Detroit, Portland, maybe Miami…who knows? You certainly can’t find them, drive to the office, and see any display of accountability. A lost day at work and maybe more to come. The great rate and the perceived savings at application because of your diligent shopping just went up in smoke and now you are incurring thousands of dollars per day waiting for your loan to move from a black hole to a magical place known as settlement.
Of course this is a horror story no one should live through. I am not saying all call center or online lenders are awful or would deliver this experience, but what I am saying is the key to great mortgage is the Loan Officer. Being referred to a great Loan Officer is critical. If you don’t know where to start, go to someone in the business world with whom you trust. Realtors know the reputation of Loan Officers in the market – so do CPA’s, Builders, Insurance Agents and Financial Planners. Reputable Loan Officer’s depend on these networks for opportunities take care of them like a glass ball. They know negative feedback to a business partner about a customer being offered a high rate or excessive fees or being a terrible communicator would be like dropping that glass ball and watching it shatter to pieces. Their future relationship, and hence their livelihood, depend on their ability to deliver and continually impress their referral partners. Their ambition is turn you into an equal advocate, a known trusted, reliable and proven resource. They are inspired each and every day to deliver the customer experience so the business partner is reinforced positively for their recommendation.
Additionally, great Loan Officers are plugged into the industry and know what is changing daily. They are well-versed on a diverse range of products and offer up advice and/or options to best fit your financial profile. You can talk with them before, during and after the transaction. You know where they are, and if you know that you will know where your loan is. There is a lot to navigate during a real estate mortgage transaction, a great Loan Officer provides the advice, experience, coordination, and communication you need to be successful. They know a mortgage is a financial tool, and not a commodity. Great Loan Officers are worth the price. Be sure when you shop for a mortgage, don’t shop for a rate…shop for YOUR Loan Officer.