Some of them want to use you, some of them want to abuse you
This month @Kathleen Daniels invited us to write about the thing in our job that drives us nuts - the Joker to our Batman. I loved this analogy, because thinking about the topic I wanted to write about, I realized I have a lot of villains that I constantly battle in the mortgage business.
The Penguin is a formidable foe (the internet lender that entices clients in with low rates without revealing the "loan officers" are as green and ignorant as they come and have an embarrassing rate of getting those low rates to the closing table). I often do battle with the Riddler (the underwriter that can look at the same guidelines I look at, but interpret them in a different way, to the detriment of applicants...thankfully, this is usually an easy win). Mr Freeze sometimes puts a damper on my business (those out-of-my-control things like inspection issues, a short appraisal, or hurricane/tornado/flood damage just shy of a deal closing). Fact is, everyone in the real estate industry has a whole cast of foes they do battle with each and every day. But the Joker? No other foe is like the Joker. He's the arch-nemesis. He's the one that drives you crazy again and again, and no matter how many times you beat him in battle, it seems the war never ends.
Oddly enough, my "Joker" is sometimes difficult to tell apart from my superhero sidekicks. A wolf in sheeps clothing, my Joker sometimes so closely resembles the things I love most about my job that it's difficult to separate the two, until it's too late. My least favorite thing about my job is also my most favorite - the people.
Generally, I love the people aspect of the mortgage business. Meeting great professionals and wonderful clients from all over the country and from all walks of life is incredibly rewarding, an educational experience that I cherish, and leaves me with relationships that have come to span a decade+.
The wolves in sheep's clothing, though - the Jokers, are my biggest peeve - the "clients" who are total flakes. The ones that will use you, abuse you, call you at all hours of the day and night for months (or longer), and then disappear. The total wastes of time that don't mind wasting your time. The time sucks who will have you on the phone for hours on weekends, leaving family and friends to help them, answer questions, and doing everything you can to educate them and make them feel comfortable about the home buying process, only to do business with someone else because "my brother said I should use his guy", after I've done 95% of the work needed to be done for the mortgage process.
I have such an incredibly difficult time dealing with flaky people that don't mind wasting my time, because it's the exact opposite of my personality and way of doing things. I value my time, but I value the heck out of others, too. If I shop, I'm going to do it before asking someone to invest hours and hours into me.
Losing a battle doesn't hurt my feelings. If someone is shopping, I give them my best and allow them to make a decision. If their decision leads them elsewhere, I accept it, wish them the best, and move forward. I'm happy to spend my time educating people, helping them, and guiding them as they prepare to buy a home. I will gladly take the time to cross-qualify someone for a listing agent with no attempt at getting the buyer because I know it will give the seller a level of comfort with an offer. I don't mind spending my time doing things that don't lead to closed loans, but I certainly do mind wasting my time on people who don't appreciate it.
I encourage people to shop. Everyone should shop for their mortgage. But do it before wasting hours upon hours of my time.
People who put their time at a premium and don't give a damn about mine are indeed the Joker of my business.