It seems no matter how good my mortgage kung fu gets, I always get schooled one way or another. Many times, it isn't that I have forgotten a technicality or missed a piece of documentation, it's managing, or mismanaging, my clients expectations.
Early on, the Loan Assistant who was tasked with guiding me during my first days as an LO taught me a valuable lesson that I continue to apply to every aspect of my life: "Don't ever say anything definitive to the client without all the information from everybody." Wisdom, folks. Straight up pearls of wisdom I tell you.
So much damage is done when I forget this lesson, mainly to the expectations of the client. I forget that getting preapproved for financing is as close as most people get to being awarded a sweepstakes check, or getting a genius grant. Either way, most people are just high on the idea of getting a whole lot of invisible money to buy a house with. Then, if I don't tread carefully, I am the one who says, "Oh, I didn't realize that. Sorry, no house for you." Or, "The appraiser doesn't think your place is worth half as much as you thought..."
My wise Loan Assistant was trying to save me and my future clients much wailing and gnashing of teeth by teaching me to get all the information I possibly can, and then prepare the client for potential pitfalls ahead. So much of this process is out of the Loan Officer's hands, but a good LO will identify the different parties involved, what their part of the process is, and the implications. The loan process is far from intuitive. The clients just want the house at the end, and they are relying on me to navigate it on their behalf, in their best interests.
The worst situation in this particular minefield is trying to navigate for a client who arrives with completely unreasonable expectations. Internet research can be useful, but it can also be the gasoline of delusion. In that case, then I have to be the "Client Whisperer" and try to train the client to deal with reality. Firm, consistent, but attentive and caring. This kind a training alleviates anxiety for everyone later. But, as Cesar as taught us, some creatures are crazier than others...
With every new situation, I try to keep all these lessons in mind. First and foremost, listen and ask questions. Then tread carefully with these brand new babies of financing. Then protect the babies and get them a house. No pressure, right?
Thanks Pete, my long ago loan guru. I miss you something fierce!