The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Not all lenders are created equal…

When I first started working at Century21 Arizona Foothills, I had a deal to do before I even had any training at all. In order to complete this deal, I had several meetings with my manager about the basics of what I needed to handle in order to get the transaction to close. I remember, in one of the very first ones, he said something like, “And ideally, you’ll have the members of your team taking care of everything from escrow to financing.”

This left me mystified, “Um, OK… so who are these ‘team’ people? Do I have a team? How do I find my team?” My manager laughed at me for a good several minutes at that one, and then he introduced me to Matt Puzz. He explained that Matt is a loan officer with Hamilton Mortgage and that he works out of our office. He said it benefits my clients and me to work with a lender we know, so if I ever have a need for financing help, I can use Hamilton or our in-house lender, Century21 Mortgage.

To me, at first, this seemed presumptuous. As an agent, what right or need do I have to get involved in my clients’ financing decisions? And in my first deal, this logic served me fine. My clients actually worked for a lending institution and their financing proceeded flawlessly. My second deal was not as lucky. We actually had a lender call the day of closing as he was leaving town to let us know the deal wouldn’t be financed. It was ridiculous. If you know your loan officer, that is not something that should happen. You should be working with your lender every step of the way.

This is the lesson I’ve learned: yes, financing is ultimately the decision of the buyer of a property. It’s something they have to live with for possibly the next 30 years. However, it is part of my responsibility as their agent to educate them on the ins and outs of financing. Sure, Company A may offer you a lower interest rate, but are they making up that money in other up-front fees? And will they actually come through with the cash? Is it an Internet-based lending company or have they spoken with an actual human being?

When it comes down to it, what they want is their new home, and there are sellers out there who aren’t going to wait for the buyer to fix his financing when it falls through at the last minute. At least if my clients use a lender I’m familiar with, I have some leverage, some rapport, to keep things moving smoothly.

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