I was in the office late yesterday talking with a fellow Realtor who was waiting for the hopeful call of the title company that would bring news of a closing, two days before Christmas. The family is in the car.. their belongings are in the truck, and their lender went on holiday. Wow.. really? 60 days of emails, phone calls, promises of a closing that was to take place on November 30th… and here they are a month later.. and the lender took a holiday and can’t be reached! Another family will spend a long weekend in a hotel,.. a Christmas with their family in a hotel. They probably would have spent it in the car had their Realtor not chipped in for a hotel…. a completely, non-reimbursable and amazing gift. Many a time, I have had customers stay in my home until we could get their closings settled.
Talk about disasters! These stories are increasing as the large corporate banks who are already on foreclosure and short sale overload, such as Bank of America, Chase and the unknowns.. operating from what seems like suitcases as they shift you from city to city, office to office at times as they attempt to serve, or shuffle their customers. Out of the 18 failed closings in my little circle of Realtor friends alone, 12 were Bank of America, and the others the “Internet” lenders who offer the sun, the moon and the stars,..except on holidays, third Tuesdays, Days of the week beginning with “M, or F!” It doesn’t matter anymore how prepared and savvy a Realtor you get,.. if you are dealing with the voices in cyberspace, prepare for the delays, the mis-communication, the constant need for more documentation and the very good possibility that your well organized financial statement just looks “funny” so you may not close at all because your credit score is one point short of a new requirement! the NEW RESPA guidelines are in effect January 1, 2010… want to know what THAT means? Whew.. it just got a little tougher!
As silly as this sounds..it is just this bad in the lending world. I offer you buyers ONE piece of advice.. and if you never listen to another Realtor… this you must hear,.. “Listen to your Realtor.” If your Realtor gives you the names of three lenders that he or she works with on a regular basis… it is because they CLOSE their transactions on time,… it is NOT because they get money or any other benefit from these lenders. They are “preferred” because they are reputable, reliable and responsible. it is because they are most likely workaholics like your Realtor, and because they are successful and forthright… no suprise kind of folks! The likelihood of you knowing whether you can close a transaction should take no longer than two weeks if your documents are in order and you are not hiding anything from your lender. If it takes longer than this, you will know it, you will have a suggested remedy and a timeline for any delay in your closing so that you can negotiate this with the seller immediately. Don’t fool around folks. Listen to a Realtor, cooperate with a lender that you can see, touch and speak with in person. There are enough local lenders that will give you better service, more competitive rates and who charge less fees than 9 out of 10 internet and corporate moguls.
Again.. don’t spend a holiday in a hotel.. don’t pay for five days or a month of storage for your belongings.. and for goodness sake, don’t get to closing only to hear,.. “sorry.. we need more money or we won’t be able to close Mr. and Mrs. buyer!” If you are shopping for a home.. consult a Realtor and acquire a reputable local lender.