Anybody who has ever experienced the mortgage process will tell you….it’s complicated, it’s confusing, and it’s more than a little invasive. I can’t count how many times we received a letter in the mail from some company we never heard of telling us more about our mortgage than we knew about it. I always found that a bit creepy.
Nonetheless, due to some unforeseen expenses, I found myself on the internet and the telephone, checking rates and terms and trying to decide if this was a good time to refinance. The first thing I did is throw away any promotional letter I received that was in any way deceptive, (for instance, those that looked like a check) because I won’t do business with a company that is hoping I am stupid. I’d really rather they condescend on the assumption that I am financially illiterate. I really hated the ones I got that promised me savings of $800.00 dollars a month on my mortgage payment! Okay, so, after eliminating those, my pile was down to……nuthin. On to the inner-tubes!
In years past, I had a handful of websites I liked, they usually offered current rates from various banks and I could simply ring them up if something appealed to me. Not any more. Now they almost all had various tactics they used to get me to fill out personal info so that a banker could “get back to me”, or, just to see today’s rates. After wading around in that cesspool for a bit, I finally narrowed my choices to three companies: One of them rhymed with “chicken.” I called them first, after reading more than a few testimonials regarding their professionalism. The best way for me to describe the experience is imagine standing on a used car lot, and being assaulted by a 20 yr old kid on his first day on the job. He just left a sales meeting, where he was promised riches beyond measure, women, rainbows and unicorns if he simply sticks to ‘The Plan.” Armed with a fool-proof script, and whipped into a frenzied state by his managers, he breathlessly explains why his product is perfect for you, without once ever hearing a word you said. Been there? That’s pretty much those guys. NEVER EVER, EVER give these guys your cell phone number. For that matter, NEVER EVER give them your land-line number either. Even cancer and herpes go into remission once in awhile. These guys are constant. Needless to say, I was more than anxious to move on.
I am happy to report that on my second and third calls, I hit pay-dirt. I was so pleased working with these two people I feel compelled to mention them by name: The first is a local person:
Suzanne Casey, Reliance First Capital (Nashville) (615) 224-6512 or (888) 751-0230 x6512 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Suzanne was courteous, knowledgeable, and diligent. She listened long enough to determine what my needs were, and never once tried to sell me a product that didn’t meet the criteria. When you deal with her, and you want to think about it, she will ask permission to set a time and day to get back to you. Some people might find that a tad aggressive, I do not. It is a good idea for a couple of reasons, one of which is that it will prompt you to actually consider what she offers. Another reason is that, if you are like me, you may forget. lastly, if she calls you, you know she has set aside the time to answer any further questions. She is easygoing and quick to laugh, and I enjoyed dealing with her.
The last person is based in Kansas, of all places:
Everything I wrote about Suzanne Casey applies to Maggie as well. She had one other quirk that appealed to me; I never once felt like she was trying to sell me something. Clearly, she was trying to sell me something, but her manner is relaxed and within minutes of first speaking with her, I felt like I was talking to a best friend. That might sound a little corny, but I promise it is true. She is a very good salesperson to be sure, but she does it honestly and in a manner that makes you feel like you have her complete attention. She did a great job of responding to emails and calls in a timely fashion. I cannot recommend her enough.
I’m no economist, even though I played one on TV. (Some you might remember the short lived series, “The Accountant”, about an accountant. Hard to believe it fared so poorly during Sweeps) Rates, points, closing costs, buy-downs and such can be a tad intimidating, but each of these people patiently explained my options and in a way that didn’t make me feel stupid.
If you are considering a new home loan or a refinance, I say do yourself a favor and get in touch with one of these people ASAP. The process itself is a bit safer, it seems, there are many disclaimers now required by the Feds that should prevent many of the abuses so prevalent in the mortgage business in years past. Even so, from the time I first picked up the phone until I closed was 14 days. Not bad.