A while back, John Jones talked to you about the perils of using online lenders like Quicken Loans and Lending Tree. This advice rings truer today now more than ever, with the increase in the online lending companies that have been established in the past few years. As a recap, here are the top 3 reasons to choose a hometown lender over an online lending broker:
Accountability & Integrity When you’re talking about the most important investment of your life, a more personal relationship with your lender is a no-brainer. With online lenders, you’re talking to people working out of a call center that might be in a different part of the country. With an investment as big as a home purchase, wouldn’t you rather look the person in the eye when getting advice about this purchase? Hometown lenders want to work hard to keep you satisfied and win your business so you can be a good long term referral source. They know one of the best ways to do that is by offering superior customer service. A good local lender, just like a good real estate broker, creates a relationship of trust and reliability. They will hold your hand through the process, help prevent you from making major mistakes and answer all of your questions. There’s less accountability when you use an online lender. They never lay eyes on you in the first place and once the transaction is complete you're not going to run into them at your local grocery store. Would you trust an online doctor to diagnose your cancer? In my experience, home buyers find accountability in the face-to-face relationship with their lender to be imperative in the already-stressful process of buying a home.
Fluid and Timely Transactions: There’s always an advantage to working with people who are more familiar with the area and often have an existing relationship with your realtor. This puts local lenders in a better position to resolve conflicts during the transaction. In the past few months alone - and as indicated by numerous others on various online message boards - our agents have had to navigate their clients through several issues with Quicken Loans, including delayed closings, lack of communication, and lengthy turnaround times for simple submission of basic documents and forms. And as you all are aware, one delay leads to multiple delays in the cycle of a real estate transaction. IMHO, these are unnecessary headaches that can be avoided by using local lending.
Fueling the Local Economy When you shop locally for a mortgage, your investments are used in that same local economy in which you now live. You’re helping a local company who supports local businesses, events and charities, thus sinking money back into their local economy. It’s a true win-win for everybody. Like the old saying goes, “Love your lender, love your town, love your agent and there will be love all around.” And by “old saying” I mean, 30 seconds old because I just made that up. But it’s still true.
Moral of this point: Trust your local lenders to maintain integrity, provide you with superior customer service and an all around smoother transaction. If you do choose to work with an online lender, perform thorough research on the company, check out online reviews and engage with people on online forums to become the most informed consumer possible. We work with some of the best mortgage lenders in the business so give us a call at 615-867-3020 for a referral. I'd love to hear your feedback on the choice between online vs. local lending. As agents, what do you recommend to your buyers considering using an online lending company? Homebuyers, what has been your experience working with these lenders?