sacramento mortgage lenders
A friend promised yesterday: tomorrow will be better. Well, honestly, tomorrow will be different but it won’t necessarily be better because there is always room for stuff to get much worse. And tomorrow is already here. The important thing is to keep a sense of humor about the roller-coaster ride called Sacramento real estate. Because managing real estate transactions as a listing agent involves sometimes jumping into the middle of a tornado, even if it’s not necessarily your job to fix the situation.
One of the biggest problems we’re facing right now is a shortage of appraisers. We are selling about 80% fewer homes than we were 10 years ago but our pool of appraisers has shrunk. A bunch already dropped out. Plus, many appraisers are aging, getting older, near retirement, and I think they’re leaving the appraisal business because of the way the business is moving:
- Being plucked out of an appraisal pool as nothing more than a number and not based on value or experience, and
- Getting their paychecks sliced by at least a third because the appraisal management company needs to get its cut, and
- Now, with all the new regulations, especially collateral underwriting, the same job takes 3 times longer.
Who wants to be an appraiser anymore? Being an appraiser is a sucky job and it’s getting much suckier.
There’s like one appraiser left standing on the face of the earth in all of Sacramento, and nobody can find that guy to do an appraisal for several of my listings which are so far past due for a contingency release it’s insane. Throw into that mix an East Coast internet lender, and I don’t think I have to tell you which company, and we’re lucky if the loan ever closes. There is something to be said for dealing locally and not using an appraisal management company out of Ohio or Pocatello, Idaho, or American Samoa.
When will buyers wake up and realize that no internet lender is going to give them a break or some special deal that a local lender cannot provide? There is nothing magical about getting a mortgage loan unless you end up with a person managing the file who doesn’t pay attention to detail. Doesn’t hit all the marks when the marks should be cleared. Lets things slip through without noticing. It’s all the same bag o’ money and rates can change hourly. Don’t get suckered by slick websites and false promises.
Pick a local mortgage guy you like and trust and stick with that person. You very well might find that your Realtor is recommending a mortgage lender for a reason. That mortgage lender can find you an acceptable rate. You don’t have to hop online to find some stranger who can mess up your transaction ten ways from Sunday in exchange for waving a low interest rate in your face. You can get the best rate available and competent service if you choose a local lender with a strong track record.
But no, buyers go with the fast talker they found online who works several time zones away and is accountable to no one. By the time they figure out they had made the wrong choice, it’s too late. Instead, listen to your buyer’s agent. If the agent is recommending a lender, it’s for all the right reasons.
There are many reasons to use a local mortgage broker when buying a home in Sacramento, but there are sometimes more reasons to rely on a person who is paid on commission over a person who is paid a salary. Yeah. It makes sense. I’m not saying every salaried person hates their job, but enough do that they often develop lackadaisical attitudes. A person paid on commission cannot afford a “who gives a crap” attitude or she’ll end up standing in the soup lines.
It’s probably not even a conscious thing. These guys don’t go into the bank to work with a screw-you mentality, and they probably don’t actually plan to mess up a home buyer’s closing, but dollars to doughnuts they are not emotionally invested in anybody’s time to move. They’re not the guys sitting on packed boxes, twiddling thumbs and staring at their silent iPhones. They’re the people for whom the lunch hour is but minutes away and there’s a new place down the street they’ve been meaning to go to try the tacos. They punch out and go.
Meanwhile, calls go to voice mail or the lender’s voicemail box is full. Emails go unanswered. When the lenders do respond, it’s to say the file is still in underwriting, and they let it go at that, feeling they have fully explained the quandary about why the buyers can’t move into their new home over the weekend. Where did they put that appraisal? It was right there on their desktop a moment ago. Oh, look, here’s a YouTube video of a cat chasing chicken treats.
It’s not just banks that employ these types of people on their payroll, credit unions are guilty of this, too. The employees are just doing a job to the best of their ability. I think it’s the Peter Principle on display. Perhaps they’ve risen to their own level of incompetence.
Of course, there are commissioned individuals who develop poor work ethics, too. I’m not saying all people on commission are motivated, but if I would have to choose between a banking institution or a local mortgage broker, I’m going with the Sacramento mortgage broker whose personal reputation is on the line and whose track record speaks volumes. They all have access pretty much to the same bag o’ money. Why not pick one who gives a crap?
Out of the 7 closings this Sacramento real estate agent is working on this week, only 2 transactions, according to the mortgage lenders, are closing are time, which makes closing delays pretty much par for the course for this week. Why? Because of the mortgage lenders. A few of the escrows are delayed because the buyers could not qualify for a conventional loan and were informed at inception that they should choose FHA but instead opted for conventional. Or, at least that their mortgage lender’s story and the guys are sticking to it. In others, everybody else thought somebody else was doing a job that nobody else was doing. Total cluster-you-know-what.
It’s also possible that the buyer’s agent felt the buyer didn’t stand a chance in hell of getting an FHA offer accepted upfront so the agent wrote the purchase contract with conventional terms and obtained the preapproval letter showing conventional financing, figuring who gives a rats if the transaction doesn’t close on time. But most buyer’s agents aren’t that devious. I suspect the truth of why some mortgage lenders can’t perform lies somewhere in between.
When a buyer runs past the closing date, the contract has expired. The seller has the option to cancel the transaction. The seller is not obligated to give the buyer more time to close the escrow. A lawyer might argue on behalf of the buyer and say the buyer invested money for the home inspection, paid for a pest inspection, perhaps other reports, and showed a good faith effort to close. She might say it’s not the buyer’s fault that things were delayed in underwriting or the mortgage lender messed up.
But that’s a tough argument if the contingencies haven’t been released, and the seller might believe the buyer is in breach of contract. The seller might give the buyer a Notice to Perform and then cancel. And let’s face it, many first-time home buyers barely have two nickels to rub together, and they can’t afford to hire a lawyer. So, they better choose a mortgage lender who can properly advise them and then follow that advice.
Here is my advice for home buyers today. For crying out loud, mortgage lenders all have access to pretty much the same ol’ bag of money, and you’re not gonna save 1/2 point here nor there, so pick the mortgage lender in Sacramento who can perform. Pick the company that won’t lead you astray. Pick the loan officer who will have your back. Don’t go with the guy who dishes out apologies when you’ve lost the house.
In all of my years of working with and referring business to Dan Tharp, this mortgage lender in Sacramento has never disappointed.
Why can’t Sacramento mortgage lenders close escrow? Almost every single escrow nowadays has some loan delay that causes a Sacramento home buyer not to close. But just because everybody is doing it doesn’t make it right. Why can’t home buyers close escrow? Because their lenders can’t perform. If you’re looking for a mortgage lender to finance a home in Sacramento, I’d say an important question to ask is can they promise — can they guarantee — that you will be able to close escrow in this century? Get a timeframe and hold them accountable. This is the big white elephant in the room that everybody seems to be ignoring — lenders who can’t perform.
You know what happens when a mortgage lender can’t perform? They come knocking on the door, whimpering like a dog, holding their tails between their legs and begging: Please sir, will you extend our escrow? Sometimes that answer is NO. Especially in a seller’s market like the real estate market we have in Sacramento at the moment. Sellers get tired of waiting for buyers to close. It’s not just seller’s remorse. Sellers can and will cancel your escrow if you can’t close on time. Sellers might decide they’d rather wait until spring, when maybe prices will go up even further.
If you’re trying to close a Sacramento short sale, it’s even worse. It’s not just the seller who might refuse to extend, it’s also the seller’s short sale bank. Banks are refusing to provide a short sale extension. Those short sale approval letters contain an expiration date. If the bank will agree to extend, the bank might charge the buyer $100 or so a day for that extension. It’s a no-win situation for that first-time home buyer. It doesn’t matter what the contract says, that verbiage won’t save you. It matters how long the short sale bank will give a buyer to close, and that timeframe governs your transaction.
Perhaps a bigger question is why can’t mortgage lenders close escrow on time for today’s home buyers? What is the problem? It’s not like the banks are overwhelmed with business because there aren’t that many buyers in escrow. We have very low inventory — we have fewer than 1,600 homes for sale in Sacramento County. Interest rates are low, but they’ve been low for months and months. Yeah, loan restrictions have tightened, but we’ve been jumping through hoops for a long time. Nothing has changed overnight. I propose that banks are swamped because they refuse to hire enough people to get the job done. They’ve made so many cutbacks in personnel during the downturn that they’ve gotten used to thin payrolls. Cheapskates.
Perhaps there is some little old lady sitting in a dark room with a single light bulb dangling from the ceiling over her desk. This little old lady is working on your file. She looks at her watch. Stops working. Oh, my goodness, deary me, it’s time to go to Starbucks. She leaves. And she doesn’t come back for a few days, and nobody cares.
It’s no big secret why home sellers in Sacramento prefer a cash offer over a financed offer. The performance in underwriting is pathetic. Totally sucks. Big banks, little banks, makes no difference.
The solution: If you’ve got a choice in choosing a mortgage lender, stay local. Pick a person you can grab by the shirt collar and shake a little bit. And get that guarantee upfront that your file will be processed in a timely manner or you might not be buying a home in Sacramento.