Homebuying March 15, 2022

Agent Advice on Lenders

Buyers want the best interest rate and lowest fees. Why does an agent care which lender you use? Why do they try to give lending advice? It’s your money. Right?

I’ll tell you why: experience.

Agents have close familiarity with lenders. We know their track record, dependability, capability, communication style, and success rate. Put simply, these factors establish your customer service experience.

Put even more boldly, if rates and fees are the only metrics you measure, you may be choosing to receive poor customer service.

What?! No one ever chooses to be treated poorly! But quality customer service isn’t just being treated kindly and with respect. Human decency should guarantee at least that amount of service. Quality customer service means having someone knowledgeable who is available, willing, and capable to explain the intricacies of the loan process. An explanation or clarification can mean hours and emotions saved in understanding rather than worrying.

In this market, it is standard for a preapproval letter to accompany an offer. Without a lender available to create a quick letter on an evening or weekend, you may lose your dream home (or, in this market, the only home available in your price range).

Quality customer service also means being able to reach a human when there are bumps in the road…and there WILL be bumps in the road.

Quality customer service also means having a lender who meets deadlines. Real estate contracts have a “time is of the essence” clause. That means that deadlines must be met or the contract is voidable. Who cares what interest rate you secured if you can’t close?

Believe me. These nightmares happen.

Client Story #1
I had one buyer whose loan was denied 4 days before closing. Why? Because an inattentive lender clicked “Whatcom” rather than “Whitman” county on a form. That one click meant my client was no longer eligible for the loan and the deal fell through.

Client Story #2
Right now I am working with a lender who will not answer our calls and only sometimes responds to emails. We were supposed to close last week. My clients had a rental truck and planned to move over the weekend. It’s Monday and we have no idea what’s going on. It’s a helpless feeling.

It’s fairly standard for buyers to have faith that they will not encounter these crazy problems. This happens to other people. I wish I were wrong. However, it is more typical for the client to go with an unreliable lender, then when it’s almost too late, we have to call one of the dependable lenders to save the day. This path is not fun.

Ask your friends which lender they used. Read reviews. Listen to your agent.