When Quicken Loans first came on the scene in Sacramento, I was not overly thrilled but have since changed my initial opinion. The problem back then was no personalized service. You could not speak with a rep when you needed the person. Customer service was fairly lousy. Then, all of a sudden, it seems, Quicken Loans changed how it handles loans. The company became more responsive and equally effective, probably through implementing an overall customer service upgrade.
They learned it’s not enough to suck in the customers, you need good reviews. They learned that loan reps needed to out-shine local lenders in Sacramento. Home buyers choose Quicken Loans for several reasons. The first is interest rates and fees. Every lender advertises pretty much the same rates, but sometimes Quicken is a bit cheaper. I once worked with a lawyer who would feed his grandmother strychnine if he could save another one-eighth of a point in an interest rate. Customers also like Quicken because it makes the process easy for them.
However, like most Sacramento Realtors, I prefer that our buyers work with a competent local mortgage lender. A guy we know. A guy who doesn’t let us down, will always be available for us, and gets the job done when other lenders can’t. But we don’t always get to choose the lenders we work with. Sometimes the buyer has already contacted Quicken Loans, and that’s OK as long as the buyer is happy.
My main beef with Quicken Loans is they don’t often use local appraisal management companies. Yesterday, for example, I received a call from an appraiser pool in Minneapolis, of all places. She was ready to send out an appraiser as long as somebody could physically meet the appraiser at the property because the appraiser lacked the tools of her trade. This appraiser wants to play in the big leagues, but she could not afford to join our local Board of Realtors. Without board membership, she has no access to the Supra lockbox through a display key.
An out-of-area appraiser or an appraiser who is not equipped to do her job can’t enter a home without a lockbox key. We use Supra lockboxes in Sacramento. Not contractor boxes. Sacramento appraisers need board membership to get a key for access. By requiring an appraiser to belong to our board, we can provide access to the right information, increase the appraiser’s own level of professionalism and hopefully receive an accurate appraisal.
Realtors ought to ask themselves the tough questions. Don’t you want our business to stay local in Sacramento, if at all possible? Do we want to support an appraisal management company outside of California? Do we want to hire an appraiser from Stockton? A guy who doesn’t belong to our board or hasn’t done enough appraisals to afford membership in our board? Don’t our clients deserve an experienced local appraiser who won’t mess up our appraisal?
Listing agents should stop saying yes to allowing inexperienced or ill-equipped appraisers into our lives. All it does is endorse, perpetrate this sort of business, and that’s not the kind of message we want to send to Quicken Loans. The message we sent to Quicken Loans recently was: please choose a local appraisal management company that works with experienced appraisers who belong to our board. Get professional.