Times have changed in the mortgage industry, haven't they?
There used to be a time when I actively discouraged my clients from a) the use of online mortgage services, and b) independent mortgage brokers. This is why:
Right in my first year of business one of my buyers insisted on working with a broker from somewhere in southern Virginia. Of course, he was the warmly recommended cousin of a friend of a colleague. Or something like that. The guy had given them a nice pre-approval letter, so who was I to question that. We had a couple of strange phone conversations, but I chucked the funny feeling off to the fact that they probably did business differently down there in Richmond or whereever he was from.
You guessed it. The loan never materialized. We didn't find out until two days before settlement, when I was desperately trying to get some figures. The young couple, first-time buyers, were in default. Only with a lot of begging and the swift rescue operation by a large national lender could the transaction be saved.
(Oh, and needless to say, the buyers blamed me.)
So for years, pretty much all of my buyers had to go to direct local lenders or national lenders with a local presence. No more brokers, please! I felt this was safer, and I didn't know any better.
Until a couple of years ago, when one of my clients, who moved to DC from New York, brought Seth into the picture. Seth Opert of Royal Mortgage was who he would use for his loan. No discussion. I tried not to roll my eyes.
It turned out that Seth, in the business for himself, was one of the most impressive mortgage people I'd met. He delivered exactly what he promised; he held everybody's hands through every little crisis along the way; he had the appraisal approved on time; he had the money at the settlement company a couple of days before settlement; he distributed HUD-1's several days early; he showed up for each closing.
Right now, however, I feel a special need to celebrate Seth (licensed in DC, VA, MD, NY) because he just gloriously saved a transaction that a large national bank/lender had dropped for obscure reasons.
In short, Seth not only changed my mind, but I also have recommended him ever since.
It occurs to me that the changing mortgage market has created a new, special stage for independent mortgage brokers. With increasingly limited (and daily changing) underwriting guidelines for most lenders, a broker might have a lot more flexibility and options in finding the right loan for you.
What do you think?
© 2012, Catarina Bannier