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  • Writer's pictureJan Johnson

In Praise of Local Lenders

“Have you been pre-qualified for a loan?”  It’s the first important question any Realtor asks at the beginning of a relationship.

As a customer, you might think the Realtor is just trying to find out if you’re worth wasting time on, hoping your answer is YES.  Which may be true if you’ve hooked up with a profit-driven agent who’s looking for the fastest, easiest commission possible.  And best of luck with all of that…

However, you might be surprised to find that many great Realtors hope your answer is NO, because it gives your agent the opportunity to recommend local lenders.

Okay, stop thinking “kickbacks” in your head.  Stop it right now.  It doesn’t work that way, not to mention it’s ridiculously illegal in the real estate world.  You might be surprised to learn that there’s something more important than commissions to a good Realtor:  Great service.

Borrowers are all different, and each comes with a unique set of circumstances.  Your Realtor will know which lender in your community will make a good match with your needs, from a financial standpoint and perhaps even from a personality standpoint.

More importantly, your Realtor knows how these lenders perform.  They know the mortgage professionals that are willing to go the extra mile for their customers, the ones that will hurdle any obstacle to make sure your real estate transaction moves smoothly to the closing table.  That’s right.  The local super-heroes.

On-line or out-of-state lenders have an extremely slim chance of doing business with anyone in your transaction again.  While some are good, many prove that they do not care nor expect to get a referral from you.  They aren’t as familiar with regional or local requirements.  And if something goes awry, there’s no opportunity for you or your Realtor to stomp into someone’s office.  That’s right.  Send another email, leave another voicemail.  “Are they ignoring me?”  Hmmm…

Local lenders have “skin in the game.”   They are members of the real estate community, just like your agent, and value your referrals to friends and family.  They also hope your Realtor will continue to refer customers in the future.  This is all accomplished by keeping YOU happy.  Communication, transparency, problem solving – it all adds up to your successful purchase.

Buying property takes a 3-person team – you, your Realtor, and your lender.  It’s a great feeling to have your local lender sitting right there at the closing table with you, celebrating your success.  Do your homework.  Check out multiple lenders to find who’s the best fit is for you.  But be sure to check one or two your Realtor recommends.  You can thank me after you close.  Cheers!

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