Thank you Sonja Adams for your original blog.
If you are asking the question above, read on to find out about an experience that defines the answer to whether or not the mortgage lender you choose matters.
Recently, I represented a listing for a seller who wanted to move out of Loudoun County to West Virginia. Now was the perfect time to move to a lower cost of living area and get out of their HOA neighborhood to gain a little more privacy. The seller was working from home and the location they chose had a great commuter access via the train to DC should the need to commute arise as well as a nice 3 acre lot.
We placed their home on the market and it sold quickly. The buyers were using a lender that appeared to be good. They were a mortgage lender whom the buyer agent had supposedly done many deals successfully over the years (so he said). As a listing agent, I did my due diligence to check with the lender to find out if they had their own in house underwriting team, in general how things looked to meet our closing date, etc. All seemed good. Unfortunately there are many factors that go into a smooth mortgage process and not all can be predicted ahead of time.
The deal proceeded, however, several weeks into the process, there were some issues with the lender during the underwriting process. As things unfolded, the lender was not very communicative and their process for underwriting and Quality Control was very slow. It also became apparent that the lender had made some critical mistakes such as not verifying enough money for closing – this is a pretty basic item! Several underwriting setbacks caused the buyer to need a closing date extension. The buyer was working diligently providing the lender with whatever was needed, but their lender kept coming back for more conditions and re-underwrote their loan several times.
Not all loans are easy, and not all loans will be smooth, but the lender’s representatives should be able to look at a deal upfront and request the right documentation and review that documentation for anticipated questions from underwriting. In addition, the loan officer and/or processors need to be able to communicate timelines and explain to the buyer what is needed and how to resolve potential questions.
The lender was asked many times to provide timelines, set expectations and keep all the people that were working on the deal and subsequent deals in the chain informed. Realtors and others don’t need to know personal or financial details, however, timely communication is needed and expectations need to be set for all the parties. In this case, the lender provided one line or sometimes one sentence responses. This particular loan did eventually close – 2 + weeks late!
This deal was a nightmare and stressful to all of the participants. It could have been better though with good communication and more attention to detail upfront. There were many items asked for at the 11th hour which could have been requested much earlier in the process.
How do you prevent this from happening to you? Check reviews. Check with our agent about the lenders success rate and communication skills. Google the loan officer and the lender. Ask your agent to get details about the lender if possible such as if they have their own in-house underwriting team. Try to work with a company who isn’t just an 800 number if possible… if something happens with a company that you only have an 800 number for, you may be just a number to them and your success rate might not be as high. Its possible that won’t be the case, but scrutinize their communication avenues at least.
This deal ended up being a Christmas miracle. To keep it together and get my sellers home sold/closed and to get them into their new home was really tough for me. I solved the communication problem by constant and consistent communication with all parties from the agents involved, the attorneys and title companies as well as the lender. By doing this, the lender was at times responsive because he had to be. Questions and communication requests were not only coming from me, but also the attorneys and title companies. This kept the lender in the forefront of all of us so we were all on the same page. I literally had to email everyone 3 + times a day and send multiple texts and made multiple phone calls daily. My sellers lost sleep through the process and so did I. I care about my clients and would wake up in the middle of the night stressing about their move. At the end of the day, we did finally close and my sellers were ecstatic to move!
If you need a lender recommendation in Virginia or West Virginia, drop me a note. I’ve got a few good ones I can recommend.