My office keeps a list of lenders that are tried and true. We add lenders once we see that they have done a good job for one of our clients. When one of our clients comes in with their own lender — recommended by a friend, coworker or family member — we do not interfere (unless the lender is on our blacklist.) Lenders join our blacklist for repeated minor offenses or any major offense.
- Lenders need to have an organized process for applying for a loan. Most of the good ones have a finite list of paperwork that the buyer needs to provide. The lender does not ask for more, in drips and drabs. (Sometimes one more pile is necessary, based on underwriter’s questions.)
- Attention to the borrower’s file. The loan originator* or the processor must have their eye on the ball and be aware of upcoming deadlines. Last-minute requests for additional paperwork or deadline extensions are a sign of poor attention.
- Communication is important. The loan originator or the processor should be telling the borrower when important steps in the process are achieved. The buyers should not have to call, text, or email to find out what is going on.
- Changing requirements. If a lender adds requirements to the approval after the application, it is a sign of poor organization. It may also mean that the lender did not do a responsible job of pre-approving the buyer.
- Missing deadlines with notice. This is a sign of over-promising and under-delivering. There are plenty of lenders who give honest deadline estimates. We prefer that our clients choose them.
- Creating drama.Last-minute rush to meet deadlines, late arrivals of Settlement Statements and other signs of poor organization make for unnecessary stress. We prefer our clients work with professionals who will get the mortgage completed without the 11th-hour bravado.
- We had a lender once (and only once) who issued a loan commitment for one of our clients, then withdrew the commitment several days later, after reviewing the file. Nothing had changed; it was just that someone else read the file and took exception a condition of the property. At that point, the loan commitment contingency had passed and the buyer stood to lose her five percent down payment if the sale did not occur on time. We were able to satisfy the lender with additional paperwork and the buyer did not lose the house. This lender made a commitment, in writing, then rescinded it; we do not ever want to work with them again. Only one strike, but they are out.
- Asking for last-minute additional paperwork. Pretty much two strikes, they are out. Sometimes, one strike is enough for a particular originator.
- Poor communication with underwriters. The underwriter is the person who recommends or rejects the completed loan package. If the originator and the underwriter cannot communicate directly or do not communicate well, mortgage applications get more complicated and stressful then they need to be. When the underwriter is not accessible to the originators, this is a chronic problem throughout the office. The whole office is out, after two or three strikes.
- Losing paperwork. Multiple offenses indicate a poorly run office. Three strikes, they are out.
Do listing agents have blacklists, too?
Yes, they do.
Agents who represent the Seller are responsible for advising the sellers about conditions of the sale. Whether a mortgage lender is reliable is one of those conditions. Over time, many real estate companies have created lists of lenders who cause drama or cause sales to fall through. We have good relations with many listing agents. Some will call us and say something like this,
“The Seller wants to accept your Buyer’s offer, but they want them to get pre-approved by another lender.” Then, we know that the buyer’s lender is on their blacklist.
“We’ve never heard of this lender, do you have experience with them?” Seller’s agents who know us will often accept our opinion, “Yes, we know they are good; we’ve seen many on-time mortgages with them.” Some will speak to the originator, too. Sometimes, the buyer must pre-approve with another lender, just to show that they are qualified.
We suspect that lenders join their blacklist when the mortgage process leads to a delayed or cancelled closing.
*the person who pre-approves a borrower and takes the loan application is called a “loan or mortgage originator,” “loan officer,” “mortgage consultant” or some variation on that. This person is an employee of a bank or mortgage lending company. Sometimes, another person is put in charge of completing the documentation. This person is called a “processor” or “loan specialist” or some variation on that. A completed application, with all the documentation, is approved or rejected by another person, called the “underwriter.” As buyer’s agents, we seek to find good originators who are in companies that have good systems for these people to communicate and effectively get our client’s mortgages cleared for closing.