It happened several years ago. A buyer made an offer on a home my client was selling, and gave us a strong pre-approval letter from a large local bank. All the better, we discovered the buyer was an employee of that bank…so we did a little happy dance expecting they were treating his loan process with extra special care since he was part of their team. Fast forward to 23 hours before closing. His loan is denied. Denied? The day before closing??? Whaaaaat? They said he didn’t qualify because of the amount of his student loan payment…which he had disclosed to the loan officer at their VERY FIRST MEETING. He had provided all the documentation, had given complete and accurate information and nothing had changed since that first meeting. And through 8 weeks(!) of loan underwriting, and assurances to us that all was going well, the lender had not done the math…until 23 hours before closing. When the buyer’s belongings were already on the moving truck, and the seller was ready to close and move on.
Now if this were an isolated incident, one sorry tale of one sorry lender who forgot to pull out a calculator (really??), it would just be a chilling anecdote without much to do with you. But, sadly, versions of this story happen over and over again. Loans stuck in underwriting delaying and delaying and delaying closings (while buyers scramble around to find a temporary place to live, and sellers find their next chapter held hostage to a process that is hopelessly bogged down), loans denied at the last minute (based on simple info available all along), loan officers that are often impossible to reach by phone or email. I’ve now witnessed the 23-hours-before-closing bank do horrific things to borrowers so many times, that I cringe at the mere mention of the bank’s name. I’ve only seen them close a loan on time ONCE (and that situation almost imploded the day before closing as well).
Literally, as I am writing this, I am also trying to contact a buyer’s lender whom we have not been able to reach for a week. And closing is supposed to be in just a few days. And we need some information. But there is radio silence.
So, does this make you think that you don’t want to engage in the craziness of trying to buy a house? No! No, that’s not the message! The message is: YOU NEED TO FIND A LOVABLE LENDER! And there are plenty of them! Ask your real estate agent for a referral or two. Agents are immersed in the process all day, every day. Your agent will know a lender who gets the job done.
The Lovable Lender will talk with you, review your situation carefully, and let you know whether you can be pre-approved for a loan, or whether there are issues in your credit history that might make it impossible to get a loan at this time. No one likes the disappointment of hearing they can’t get a loan at the moment, but EVERYBODY would rather hear this before they start looking at houses…instead of 23 hours before closing. And if there are credit issues, a strong lender can let you know what steps you can take to repair your credit, and give you a guesstimate of about how long that process might take.
A Lovable Lender will be proactive about pointing out the loan options that might work best for you. Are you trying to get your monthly payment as low as possible, or is it more crucial to you to minimize the amount of your down payment? Are there buyer assistance programs that might be beneficial to you? The Lovable Lender will spend time discussing the options that might make the most sense for you.
The Lovable Lender can let you know the price range of houses you’ll qualify for. He will let you know just how high you can go on pricing…but will also let you how that kind of investment might play out in your daily life (in the famous words of a lender to one buyer: if you actually bought a home that costly, you would not have cash left to grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Ever.). She can let you know what monthly payments would look like at various price points, so you can decide which purchase price translates to a payment you would be COMFORTABLE with.
And, with your pre-approval lined up and ready to go, you will be all set to make an offer when you find the house that is meant to be yours!
Once you are under contract your Lovable Lender will spring into action to get the loan processed for you. The experienced loan officer can anticipate much of the documentation that will be needed by the underwriters who will give the final approval on your loan. He or she is doing you a great favor by getting everything in order early in the process…so they can get it done for you.
And as you move through the process from contract to closing, one of the MOST lovable things your Lovable Lender will do is communicate with you. You’ll be able to get her on the phone, or reach him by text, or get quick responses to your emails. If you have questions, the Lovable Lender will provide answers. And when you honestly don’t know enough about the process to ask the question (“Did the appraisal on my house come back okay?”), the Lovable Lender will reach out to you to pass on the information you deserve to know (“The appraisal is back and it looks great! Here’s a copy for your records.”) And the really Lovable Lenders are proactive about keeping your real estate agent informed about the process as well, since things flow smoothly when all the parties are informed and updated, and can keep things moving efficiently toward your closing.
On the surface it looks fairly simple, and many buyers assume that the easiest way to get a mortgage is just to call the bank where they have checking or savings accounts, and get the ball rolling. Maybe. Maybe not. Ask your agent for some referrals. Ask a friend or family member who bought a house recently (“recently” is important). Find out who gets it done. I have had loan officers call me and begin talking about the “Smith deal” or the “Jones file.” Nope. You’re not a “deal” or a “file.” You are a real person who is investing a bunch of money, making significant life plans, and putting everything you own on a truck; you are a real person whose real life is going to be impacted by the work your lender is (or isn’t?) doing on your behalf. Lovable Lenders absolutely understand that. And they’ll treat you with the excellent professional care you deserve!
On Facebook: Laurie Simon Goldman, Sibcy Cline Realtors