I'm in No Rush

Mortgage and Lending with Mortgages in AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, MD, MT, NC, NJ, NV, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WV NMLS #138061 MMCD #1141

I'm in No Rush


"It's Urgent"

"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.   

Comments (26)

Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

We all need to have boundaries as to what we will or will not do and who we will or will not work with. We learn from getting burned. 


Buyers should always get pre-approved before looking for a home. That would eliminate those kinds of "emergencies." Especially in today's crazy market!

Aug 03, 2021 06:29 AM
John Meussner

You're absolutely right on all fronts!  As professionals, we need to stop bending to bad behavior - it'll make life better for everyone.

Aug 03, 2021 10:45 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

John I have had all that happen to me and more, but the one thing I have not had happen and will NEVER have happen is to go on the hook for the appraisal.  If they will not pay for it up front that is a major red flag, and the process STOPS until they produce the money.

By the way, like you, I don't have any problem wish a borrower well, and moving on.

Aug 03, 2021 02:36 PM
John Meussner

In this market w/the difficulties of getting appraisals back in a timely manner, we use our best judgment and role the dice sometimes.  Unfortunately, it ends up costing us sometimes, but "risk the cost" or "miss closing" are 2 poor choices we have to decide between sometimes with today's 30 day or less closing environment.


But yep, on to the next one!  Thanks for the comment George!

Aug 03, 2021 04:25 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

John Meussner - When it comes to mortgage lenders and real estate agents, what the world needs now is truth, honesty, and integrity. No one in this real estate industry is Superman, Superwoman, or a Super Hero. Real Estate is serious business  (not fantasy) and if buyers want to buy a home they have to listen, be rational, and reasonable. Plus, they have to be honest, truthful, and respectful for the ethical values we take when we get licensed and certified.


Congratulations on an excellent featured blog post! You represent the very best in the industry.  

Aug 03, 2021 04:51 PM
John Meussner

AMEN - I once had an agent tell me, upon letting them know what they needed done wasn't going to happen, "well I'll just take my clients to another lender and we'll be disappointed there" -- basically giving me the ultimatum between losing out on a commission or letting them down.  Spoiler alert - they were let down, and I was paid, but I was honest from day 1.    I appreciate your kind feedback and support Patricia : )

Aug 04, 2021 11:17 AM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

John, Spot on!  It does seem when I deviate from my personal boundaries, I wind up regretting it.  I've had to teach myself that just because I'm up late and a client sends an 11 p.m. email, it doesn't mean I HAVE to answer it.  I do carve out some time that is completely off limits (e.g. Sunday mornings are reserved for church), but I'm pretty flexible outside of that.  Bill

Aug 03, 2021 05:41 PM
John Meussner

Same with me, Bill - - I have my "off" time when I make myself unavailable, but I'm probably too guilty of the 11pm  replies as well!

Aug 04, 2021 11:17 AM
Brenda J. Andrew
Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX

Good morning John.  I love this post.  It doesn't matter if your a realtor or a lender, this holds true to both parties in this day and age with buyers and sellers for that matter.  It has taken a long time for me to get to this point as well.  I am so thankful for my community of professionals - loan officers, title companies, inspectors, etc. that take care of my clients and I know there won't be any suprises come closing time.  A lot of people don't realize the value of someone who has a lot of experience and takes pride in what they do.  We are working for them, and if they cannot see that value, then I am not the right one for them.  Great post and Congratulations on the well deserved Feature!

Aug 04, 2021 06:35 AM
John Meussner

Thank you Brenda, it does take some time to figure it out, and to take our bumps on the way to being able to have boundaries, but as you said, when we're there - we provide true value, and that needs to be appreciated.

Aug 04, 2021 11:18 AM
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

Ahhh...those cardinal rules for yourself! So hard to follow sometimes! I feel your pain, but every day is a learning moment so onward and upward!

Aug 04, 2021 08:52 AM
John Meussner

So very true, thanks for the comment Erik!

Aug 04, 2021 11:18 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

The ole hurry up and wait while I shop your rates game. 

The things people do to agents and lenders are unthinkable. That is the value of "Free" because they don't pay buyers agents and for the most part, we are paid when a sale closes. 

We must all be better at setting boundaries - teaching people how we will be treated or they can find someone else to work with. 

Aug 04, 2021 09:03 AM
John Meussner

Exactly!  As a lender, we're lawfully prohibited from collecting money up front - - if I were an agent, I think I'd demand a deposit : )  We all work far too hard to do it for free!

Aug 04, 2021 11:19 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Right on target, John! Congrats on the feature on a topic that plagues many of us in the business in different ways at times. Seems things have been even more challenging in the last year, as a result of the market conditions. Setting boundaries and expectations is important.


Aug 04, 2021 05:27 PM
John Meussner

Thanks Jeff!  And yes indeed, the market has brought out a lot of bad behavior!

Aug 04, 2021 05:36 PM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear John,

Years ago, I used to answer the phone starting at 5 am and ending at 2 am. Crazy! Now I start at 9 am and stop at 9 pm, but the hardest person to convince of this is me.

Aug 04, 2021 07:06 PM
John Meussner

Nothing wrong with offering plenty of availability - as long as it's within the boundaries you're comfortable with : )

Aug 05, 2021 04:36 PM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse specialist

One of my favorite lines I learned in prior profession (I managed Professional Learning & Development in Capital Markets) - "Your failure to plan is not my emergency". This was often the case when the firm failed to invest properly in training or even documenting proper procedures, and things blew up, and now everyone needs to attend emergency training. 


Your post is a good reminder that all Real Estate is local. I always tell my clients- you may use whatever bank you wish- as long as the banker is local (or at least has a comfort level with my market because it's very niche) and I have great relationships with a wide variety of bankers that will actually get the deal done for a spectrum of buyer situations. This week, a client used a national call center of one of the largest banks- huge mistake- and they are already learning the hard way why I originally suggested specific banks and bankers and will pay through the nose for that mistake. The call center banker used a similiar line- that they just did a deal in NY last month. I asked if the deal last month was in NY or NYC- because that distinction is night and day. Most of Manhattan is portfolio lending...and exactly as I suspected the building doesn't meet agency lending requirements. The banker was wrong to assume that the building would qualify for agency lending.  Meanwhile the bank that I had suggested to them would have been able to qualify my clients for a CRA loan which the big bank isn't offering (and I have sold in the building before-so I knew the building was already on the approved lending list). The spread between those two loans is quite wide. Hopefully things go smoother from here.

As you correctly pointed out- even if you aren't local- unless there is something extremely different in a particular market- most lenders are working in a variety of states. My market just happens to be a rare exception (oy- between Portfolio lending as the norm, co-op's, condop's, land leases, Income Restricted co-op's, SRO's, etc.).

Great post- keep up the great work. 

Aug 04, 2021 08:07 PM
John Meussner

Adam Feinberg there are reasons I don't lend in NY, and you mentioned many of them : )  Although it's a wonderfully profitable market and some people I adore live & work there, take all you mentioned and add the CEMA process on refis, and it's more worthwhile to simple stay away (I wish the state would take notice that the roadblocks they put up hurt competition and raise prices for NYers).  But yes - expertise in an area is extremely important, and you're also correct that someone else's lack of planning isn't my emergency ---- when it's a partner that I know needs a favor, or a past client in a bind?  I'm there.  But for a stranger that just wants me to be their 'easy button', no thanks.

Aug 05, 2021 04:40 PM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

YES!!!!   I wish more professionals set the boundaries like you've described and not reward the ill-behaviors you've described... 

Aug 05, 2021 04:54 AM
John Meussner

I do too Brenda Mayette - everyone says "it's what people expect", but they wouldn't expect it if they didn't get it from some poor soul being used and abused that would likely be better off in another industry : )

Aug 05, 2021 04:40 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Hi John Meussner ,

Excellent post! Setting boundaries are so important..in work and personal life. It gives you the freedom to work with those that value your time and expertise. You can pull out the stops for those loyal clients and not waster time spinning your wheels on those who are just using you.

Aug 06, 2021 10:47 AM
John Meussner

Agree Dorie, 100% : )

Aug 06, 2021 11:50 AM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Well deserved featured post!   I do love your boundaries, and your follow up and the way you work. 

And we have both shared experiences that prove this:

"...we put boundaries in place, and damn near every time we make exceptions, we get burnt again."

Aug 06, 2021 09:44 PM
John Meussner

So very true!  Although, when you're answering your phone at 11pm or calling me back late in the evenings and weekends, I'm not sure where your boundaries are! ; )

Aug 08, 2021 11:43 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

Great post, John Meussner! I was sorry to see when you went against your better judgment it backfired. I was also glad to see I'm not the only one! :-)


Yes, setting boundaries is key, and it is clear you are very good at this. This is a great illustration for all of us and thanks for sharing. 

Aug 07, 2021 11:14 AM
John Meussner

Thanks Greg - you're definitely not alone.  It took me many years to realize the time I waste on people I go outside my boundaries for is more time than it takes to find other, like-minded customers respectful of my time & expertise.  Thanks for the comment!

Aug 08, 2021 11:44 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

John - I don't care to work with anyone - in any industry or any capacity - who makes it clear that their time is valuable and mine is not. Sorry - don't need them in my life.

Aug 07, 2021 02:45 PM
John Meussner

That's a good way to live and maintain peace of mind : )

Aug 08, 2021 11:45 AM
Matt Brady
Finance Of America - Del Mar, CA
One of San Diego's Best Lenders

Hi John, Do you notice the people you do the most for, often are the most difficult or cancel after sucking all of the knowledge we provide? Drive to the house to pick up paper files from a technology-challenged client and there is a 50% chance they will cancel. 😑



Aug 07, 2021 06:45 PM
John Meussner

Yes sir!  One of the things I train my team on is that it's fine to work with difficult loan files, but it's never OK to work with difficult people - the ROI is always far into the negative.

Aug 08, 2021 11:46 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

John Meussner ... Thank you for reminding us, that there should always be groundrules to how you conduct your business with clients and customers.  AND... it is good to make sure they are aware of those groundrules, too.  My first rule is always my "boiler plate" rule.  1)  Do not break any rules for any reason.

Aug 10, 2021 11:33 AM
John Meussner

That's a good rule to have : )

Aug 11, 2021 04:46 PM
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Raleigh, NC
Carolina Life RealEstate & Relocation 919-602-8489

John, as agents we see those types too. I have a process, potential buyers must get pre-approved, have a buyer consult with me and sign an agency agreement before we even begin looking at homes. I've been burned by those who want to "use" you. I try to protect my lenders from those types but sometimes they do what they want to do.

Aug 13, 2021 05:44 AM
John Meussner

yep, it happens, we do our best to avoid it, but some people are just flaky : )  

Aug 13, 2021 10:07 AM
Jeff Shipwash
Shipwash Properties LLC - Knoxville, TN
Home Buyer/House Flipper

Nice post! I have a set of "codes" I follow in my business too to help me eliminate time wasting activities. They are definitely hard to follow sometimes, though.

Aug 13, 2021 07:04 AM
John Meussner

they can be, especially if/when business dips, but I've always found it easier to find new, better business, than work with flaky folks

Aug 13, 2021 10:07 AM
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates - Middleton, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

John Meussner this post was a good reminder for me to set boundaries.  I currently have a seller pushing my buttons.  They send an email and want immediate action taken but than disappear when your try to set an appointment. 


Aug 26, 2021 08:50 AM
John Meussner

sounds like you may want to wish them the best in finding someone that works better with their schedule ; )

Aug 26, 2021 07:01 PM