I'm in No Rush
"I need a preapproval letter now"
"Offers are due!"
"Please call the listing agent!"
"Could you help on short notice?"
Ever heard these phrases? If you work in lending or real estate, odds are they're a pretty regular part of your every day conversations. And to be clear, for the people I've worked with in the past and have a relationship with, I'm very much in a rush. Evenings? I've got you. Weekends? As long as I've got cell service I 'll do all I can to help. Holidays? Unless I'm in the middle of something with family or beyond my 2nd 4th of July celebratory beverage, I'm more there for you than Bon Jovi could ever be.
But it's our first time working together? Lol.
I recently made the mistake of breaking 2 rules I have in my business.
1. If the first time I ever talk to you is the day you're trying to put an offer in and you expect me to drop what I'm doing to help you and you're not a referral from a real estate partner, then I'm not the droid (or loan officer) you're looking for.
2. If you want to drive the process, then you're driving solo. Aka, I've been doing what I do for a long time, my team consistently ranks atop the best in the entire country in customer service scores, and though it's important we remain humble, it's probably best we don't let a first time buyer with no industry experience tell us how our job is best done.
The first situation, I had a referral from a loan officer not licensed in a state I cover. I'm happy to help! But the borrower was immediately demanding. "We're putting an offer in tomorrow and need the preapproval right away!". They lost out on that offer. "Our Realtor thinks we lost out because our preapproval wasn't from a local lender and they want us to work with their lender". Ummm that's funny because the 2 buyers I had last month in your state (more transactions than your agent has had in the last quarter, but that's none of my business) didn't have the same problem. "We need a new preapproval". "I can't be on the loan, it MUST be in just my husbands name". They then found a new house, went under contract (I offered to call the listing agent, then called the co-listing agent, and voila! offer accepted). Then there came the "call me, it's urgent!" messages. All along, I dropped what I was doing. Evenings? Yep. Weekends? Yep again. We rushed their appraisal order, holding the bag for the cost of the appraisal. Then, once we received appraisal, title, and had the file prepped for underwriting, I received the email that I should have known was coming all along. "Thank you for all your hard work, but we have decided to move forward with a local lender here.". That was the last correspondence I received - no returned phone calls from them, or their agent, who I suspect steered them. When I called the agent to just let them know, the response was "well you know you can't count on anything until it closes!". What a peach.
The second situation was a buyer that knew it all. You know the type - they interrupt every sentence you utter. They constantly remind you of the money they have saved and their 800 credit score. They listen, but only to know when it's their turn to talk again. They repeatedly put in low ball offers (yes, in this market) and are baffled when their offers get rejected. They refuse to set up time to review market data that would increase their odds of an accepted offer. Normally, I simply refuse to work with this type of buyer, but in this case, I broke my own rule primarily because he came in as a lead while I was training a new LO and I wanted the LO to see the process from start to finish. Finally, the borrower went under contract, after we worked with him for over a year. Then the phone call came, one that annoyed the hell out of me but didn't surprise me - "John, I'm shopping for the best rate I can get, can you send me what you can do so I cane compare?". No sir, I can't. I've done about a full week's (about 40 hours) worth of work for you - the time to shop was over a year ago - you have 27 days on a contract on a property that needs an appraisal, so no, I won't participate in the auction you're performing to find the lowest bidder. Even if I were the lowest bidder, I would want no part of this. Good day!
If you're a home buyer or agent and you can't understand why a lender won't get back to you immediately, even if you're ready and willing to work with them right away, the above examples are why. We've seen it too many times. We've been burnt too many times. Maybe you are different. But we put boundaries in place, and damn near every time we make exceptions, we get burnt again. Eventually, we stop with exceptions. If you're calling for the first time the day you're ready to make an offer, you're calling too late. If you're an agent that needs "URGENT!" help that could have been gotten a week, two weeks, or more ago, then your urgency isn't going to become mine.
If you're a referral partner that my team has worked with, or a repeat customer, we'll bend over backward and go to the end of the earth for you. But if from our first communication you make it clear that your time is more valuable than ours? Well, I'm in no rush.
Our industry as a collective needs to stop accommodating these abusive customers (and agents). We handle the transfer of millions of dollars each day and the swap of assets that each account for hundreds of thousands into the millions of dollars. Just because someone can get a pizza delivered in a half hour without ever leaving the couch doesn't mean the rest of the world operates on a "I want it and I want it now!" basis. The more we put up boundaries, the better our industry (and the mental health of those working within it) will be. Work hard, communicate, and be available - but respect yourself, respect the process, and when you put up boundaries, expect to be disappointed when you allow them to be broken.
As for me? I'm in no rush.