The Power of Persistence - (When the builder's lender couldn't)

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He first called me in August when Novation Mortgage was still around. He found my name on the internet by search Google for "fha home loans" and called me for one reason: I was the first link on the list.

After reviewing the story I understood why he was searching. He is an H1B Visa holder with a high ranking, high paying position with a very well known company. He had been pre-approved for an FHA loan as non-occupant co-borrower on a home for his daughter who is on an H4 Visa which has been amended and she now has her EAB and her I485 is completed. In other words they are supposed to be here and the Department of Homeland Security has approved them.

Since his daughter is a full time student and has little to no part-time income but a good credit score I knew the deal would meet FHA guidelines so I told him I would be happy to take the deal. He indicated he was only contacting me as a "back-up" because he didn't have good feelings about the builder insisted mortgage company - which happened to be a local mortgage broker and not a direct lender.

Customer AwardThe builder, it seemed, had said he would only contribute to closing costs if that particular mortgage company was used. (Forcing a home buyer to use a specific real estate service by paying for one and not paying for the other? Wake up builders, it's a new day.)

In the meanwhile we decided to refinance the caller's primary residence and lower his payment to help offset costs while his children go through a very expensive University. That, however, is another story for another day that also involves a great amount of persistence.

In December, just before the end of the year, he called me again and said the builder's mortgage company wasn't getting the job done and he needed to switch to me. So I took the application on the daughter and a new one on him, scrambled like nuts to get him and the transaction approved before the Christmas break, and succeeded. All we needed was the FHA casefile number transferred to my new company, AmericaHomeKey, so we could finish the loan. 

The other mortgage company dodged us and played games about not receiving our request for the transfer. When we finally looked at it again we saw it had been transferred to a completely different mortgage company. Obviously I was not pleased and the customer had no idea what was going on. It turns out instead of releasing the casefile ID number to us as is required by law they had submitted to yet another lender without the customer's knowledge.

The builder and the mortgage broker begged and promised and pleaded to convince the customer to stay with them and, since they were a full 1/4% cheaper on rate (no idea about closing costs but I know they were making money somewhere - maybe a builder kickback?) the customer decided to go with them. 

The weekend before New Years I suspended his application.

On January 23rd, just before his application "came off the books" he called me back. They couldn't get it done. He asked if there was any way I could get it closed by the end of the month. Sure! Which month? Not this one :)

In the end it was a very difficult loan to process and close. Multiple visas, multiple borrowers, multiple properties, multiple streams of income. Here is what helped it close: The borrower.

He had everything in order and got it to me within an hour every time I asked. We asked him for things that would have had the average loan applicant whining and complaining about why we ask for so much stuff. One difference? Because of his job he understands when you are loaning money there is a mitigation of risk on the front end which must be satisfied. 

Relentless persistence with focused drive.

That was the motto of Novation Mortgage when we were in business and we brought it with us to the new company. We do not give up when we know the loan fits guidelines and we do what it takes to get all the evidence from the applicant to prove it. Had we not proven it in this case there would have been a home built for him with a builder holding a mortgage on it still sitting vacant today. Instead two agents were paid, the builder was paid, the daughter has her home for the next six years while she finishes her programs and everyone is happy.

It's very much a great big thank you to the AmericaHomeKey team but most of all to the home buyer.

Thank you sir for also demonstrating relentless persistence with focused drive.

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Comments (19)

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Good for you. However, if the buyer had been working with a good buyer's agent, his agent should have made sure that, if the first lender couldn't close, he could move the loan without delay. 

Of course all areas are different, but in my area with new construction, the buyer had to "make application with the builder's lender, but if the builder's lender can't do the loan and match terms/conditions, etc., we can use another lender. 

Or, maybe the builders just let me have my way.


Feb 28, 2010 09:36 AM
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

Welcome to the club!

In Las Vegas if we could force the builders lender to provide a "Good Faith" (choke, choke!) We could normally beat the deal with out cutting our fees and without the builder concessions! And, watch the "T in L" often when the rates look fair the loans is fixed only for a year or two!

What we couldn't do was over look so called cash back scams.


No comment on the direct lender remark. In the end "The only protection the consumer has is the personal integrity of his loan originator!"

Feb 28, 2010 10:50 AM
Aaron Vaughn 830-358-0455
Conifer Builders LLC - Canyon Lake, TX


Nice work on this. Hard to believe you could et it done in this climate.

Feb 28, 2010 11:27 AM
Chuck Carstensen
RE/MAX Results - Elk River, MN
Minnesota/Wisconsin Real Estate Expert

That is a great story to share.  That has to be one of the toughest ones I have ever heard closing.

Feb 28, 2010 11:48 AM
Jason Crouch
Austin Texas Homes, LLC - Austin, TX
Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653)

Ken - That sounds like a ridiculously challenging loan to close.  I respect your abilities more all the time.  :)

Feb 28, 2010 12:26 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Ken - I AM impressed. This was clearly a major trial of patience and persistence.


Feb 28, 2010 12:51 PM
David Krichmar - Legend Lending - Sugar Land, TX

Great Job Ken. 

Feb 28, 2010 12:52 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Persistence is so important in all areas of real estate these days.  It's great he had you to get this done for him and his daughter.

Feb 28, 2010 03:57 PM
Barbara Kornegay
REMAX Essential - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes

Great Work!!!!  This is what it is all about...  You are correct it is all about persistance, we and being positive....  Here is to a wonderful new month!

Feb 28, 2010 08:12 PM
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566

What a story. It never stops to amaze me the power of persistence in all we do.

Feb 28, 2010 09:06 PM
Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR
Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA - Dalton, GA

Most would just give up -- this redefines persistence! Re-blog!!!

Feb 28, 2010 11:22 PM
John Mulkey - Waleska, GA
Housing Guru

Ken - You would think the builder's chief interest would be in selling his home as quickly as possible.  Your persistence and the work of the buyer did the trick.  Congratulations for a job well done!

Mar 01, 2010 12:18 AM
Gerry Suarez Jr.
New American Funding NMLS 6606 - Orlando, FL
FL Mortgage Guru

But I know people that say they can close that loan in 10 days Ken!:)

Seriously that was am awesome job you did to save everybody involved and keep the customer's dream alive. Kudos on an extraordinary job well done!

BTW- may I suggest you drop the builder's closing coordinator a note and urge them to add you to their approved lenders list? That's exactly how I've become many a "builder's lender".

Gerry Suarez, Jr.

Your FHA Loan Pro!

Mar 01, 2010 01:37 AM
Stephanie Stringer
First Choice Loan Services NMLS#210764 - San Antonio, TX
Mortgage Loan Originator

Ken - Great job... In this mortgage environment only the strong will survive and with your persistence and dedication to your customers you will go along way!!  Good Luck to you...

Mar 01, 2010 01:37 AM
Paul McFadden
Responsive Pest Control - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Ken: Great story. Congratulations! You are correct. The builders need to determine if they want the deal done. No more backroom deals. Either the builder sells their stuff or they go under these days. Again, good job!

Mar 01, 2010 01:52 AM
Frank Castaldini
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco

Being in San Francisco I'm not facing this as there is very little new construction.  The city's 99.9% filled in.  There are high-rise condos but again I haven't face this issue.  Congrats.

Mar 01, 2010 02:15 AM
Kenny Salame
All Western Mortgage Broker # 14210 - Las Vegas, NV
NMLS ID 313873


Builders require their lender, their Title company and no true options for the client. Kick backs to the builder for using their companies does not offer choice or value for the client.

Mar 01, 2010 02:20 AM
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the good words and just want to re-state: this would never have happened with a buyer who did not have his act together.

Mar 01, 2010 05:27 AM
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Ken, good post. We have the same problem. The buyer wants to use the Builder's Lender to get the closing cost but they don't always approve them. Or if they do it's usually at a higher rate.

Mar 01, 2010 08:44 AM