Finding Mortgage Professionals Who ‘Get It’

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This could be called a tale of two agents. In a recent article I discussed how I came to select a new agent to work with (article). Here I want to talk about a recent meeting with two mortgage professionals. One worked with a major lender while the other was with a smaller firm that acted as a broker dealing with many lenders.

You will always have the typical debate as to whether it is better to work directly with a lender or deal with a broker who can shop for the best deal. Working with a broker may mean incurring additional fees but that isn’t always the case since brokers often get wholesale prices on loans. Working directly with a lender may help cut through some of the red tape involved and might also get a better deal if that lender has what you want.

However this article is more about the professionals involved rather than the firms they represent. Both have sufficient experience and would be considered successful. The firms are reputable so there is no issue there. It is really a question of who is the best person to work with.

Behind Door #1

One thing that wasn’t even a matter for debate was that the broker knew his business. He proceeded to discuss what was available in the market and how he was the best at what he did. He spent so much time blowing his own horn and bragging about everything he could do and how he would get deals done. There’s nothing wrong with confidence but this bordered on narcissism.

The one thing I kept waiting for never happened. Not once did he ask what I wanted or needed. It wasn’t long before I realized that his primary goal in life was to hear himself talk. It was all about him and how he was the greatest mortgage broker since sliced bread. No matter how good he may be at his job, I could never envision using him or referring anyone to him.

Candidate #2
The second mortgage professional runs the local office of a national lender. While his firm offers a wide array of products and has the ability to offer FHA loans, there are things they he may not be able to do. On the other hand, he has direct access to the underwriters and decision-makers at his company that can allow him to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

What really makes him stand out, however, is that the first thing he did was to ask about me, my business, and what my needs were. The kicker is that not only does he readily tell you he can’t do something, he refers you to someone who can. That is so refreshing in a time when it seems that everyone will claim they can do the impossible just so they don’t lose your business.

The Bottom Line

Everyone that you work with has a right to earn a living and to be compensated for the services they provide. That doesn’t mean that they should put their needs before yours. I walked away from the meeting with the first lender with the impression that he would always do what was best for him even if it wasn’t good for me.

The second individual clearly demonstrated through his actions that he puts the client first. In the long run he is much better off. I have referred numerous people to him in the short time that I’ve known him because I know he can be trusted. I’ve often received thanks from people I’ve sent his way and had them tell me they’ve never worked with anyone like that. In reality shouldn’t everyone be that way?

Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time. – Arthur Ashe

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  1. Rich –
    Your first hand examples are wonderful teaching tools. If you’re not focusing on the needs of your customer first instead of a) your ego, b) your pocketbook, c) yourself, then anyone stuck working with you is simply not getting the attention they deserve. I choose door #2 every day of the week in this one.

  2. Richard,

    My partner, Jacob Planton, always runs into this sort of problem, except more on the flip side. Jake works for Rose City Mortgage, and often has to compete with bank lenders. Problem is, banks will tell just about anything you want to hear to get your business, and you often have to give up the one-on-one service you might expect because of sheer customer volume. I’ve watched client after client leave Jake for “better” rates, and later come back and say they should have just stayed with him from the start.
    It’s important to remember that banks are limited to what their corporate rules and rates are, vs. the broker side which has the wholesale values you mentioned. Finding an excellent loan officer who knows their stuff, looks out for the interest of the client, works past 5pm on weekdays, and does everything in a timely fashion, is rare indeed. It’s my policy to look for local lenders if you want to feel more like a person than a number, and be more educated on the whole home buying process.
    Great article!

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