When searching for a mortgage, how many times have you given your lender or broker a chance to overcome a miscue – or allowed them to redeem themselves by providing you with better service? You believed they were genuinely trying to help you. So – you decided to give them the benefit of the doubt once, maybe twice… but then you realized you should have trusted your instincts and found someone else right off the bat.
Do you stay the course at this stage? The next time you don’t see eye-to-eye, or you are not receiving the kind of attention you expect and deserve, save time by being upfront and honest with them!
Imagine applying for a mortgage in-person, and being given a detailed list of exactly what would be required for the underwriter to make their decision. You gathered and provided all of the items on the list, and were told that no further information would be needed – and that a decision would be forthcoming shortly. A week later, and without explanation, they send you a new list with 10 other items they would need to proceed (all of which were entirely new items with little connection to what you had already provided).
As seemingly crazy as the above example sounds, unfortunately in the mortgage industry this sort of thing can happen all the time. But it is the way in which it is communicated to you that matters the most – which boils down to the basics: experience and customer service.
Isn’t that really the key question we are asking our clients when we meet them for the first time? Yet most of us are, appropriately, not so candid with our word selection. We would all acknowledge the importance of that initial greeting: the eye contact, the handshake, and the opening dialogue – all of which could be very different depending on our instincts and sense of the other person.
We get better at this with experience, or even perhaps with age. The question is whether we are consistent, or if we sometimes lose a little focus and leave an unintended impression.
Don’t forget how essential it is for your client to interview you. If you are a mortgage broker, lender, accountant or financial consultant, your client prospect needs to decide whether they can trust you with highly confidential information – i.e., their tax returns, social security number, bank statements, pay-stubs, divorce papers, bankruptcy documents or all of the above. If you make one odd gesture or leave them with a tiny bit of uncertainty, they are not likely to call you back – nor should they.
But if you are a borrower or investor looking for a trusted advisor, it’s a two-way street. Your prospective advisor is interviewing you for the same purpose. Leaving an impression that you have not been entirely forthright may require you to settle for a less professional or inexperienced advisor.
You will know if an acceptable level of mutual trust has been gained.
Does the Seller truly have the authority to sell the property to me?
One of the biggest red flags is having a Seller who is a trustee. Not only should you quickly confirm that the declaration of trust, or trust agreement, exists and is fully executed (by all appropriate parties), but that the agreement hasn’t expired or been revoked. Without such confirmation, a whole host of issues could arise that might cast a shadow on whether you or your lender will receive clean title. And, by the way, the Seller’s name on the title report needs to match the owner of record on both the chain of title and appraisal.
Worst Case? Your lender will decline the loan based on an unacceptable title report, and you will have wasted untold amounts of time and money on a property that was just never going to close.
Best Case? Your closing will be delayed until the title company, escrow agent, attorneys, and lender can sort things out.
Finally, you might be surprised to find out later that your Seller would have been happy to provide you with certain documents you needed to satisfy yourself or your lender. All you needed to do was ask for a: