I think most of us agree it is better to shop locally. Communities benefit and consumers can be proud of helping neighboring businesses.
As these are important, other reasons make it almost necessary when engaged in a real estate transaction.
Have you ever called a big-box bank and spent many frustrated minutes navigating through their phone queue? How did that make you feel? Or have you called about your transaction only to explain what was going on to another “new person” involved in processing your loan?
The two biggest reasons local lenders are almost always preferred deal with time and accountability. If it takes so long to get through to your service provider, how long will it take to close the entire transaction?
I think we have all experienced the allure of using a well-known institution, possibly one you have seen on national television, only to be let down by the reality of their execution. Furthermore, if the transaction fails, or closes late, who is going to be held accountable?
Most local direct lenders are very efficient at what they do. They have a vested interest in providing stellar service to the affiliates and customers they work with, and are there when and if challenges arise.
One observation of large institutions is that their right hand does not know what their left hand is doing. A common example is when processing is off-site, and communication becomes clouded or is untimely.
In-house processing is great for the consumer, but regional processing, in a far-off state, is better for Goliath. The consumer’s concerns and timely service often conflict with the big-box bank’s bottom line (wow, say that 10 times). Many times a question can be answered locally, within the on-site team that could take days to be effectively answered otherwise, time ill-spent when the normal transaction takes 20 business days.
A final rule of thumb is the time-tested referral. Often, we are tempted by an online offer, one which overpromises and rarely delivers (you know the ones), only to be let down in the end. Why do we do it? Why do we put our faith in a total stranger, hiding behind a computer screen, when we are doing something as monumental as purchasing a home?
My advice is to ask friends and associates who they would recommend. Ask how they were treated, call local title companies, ask a Realtor.
If you are serious about world-class service, spend a little time getting to know the people who serve your community. My guess is your best bet will always be – a local lender.
Michael O’Rourke is branch manager for Big Valley Mortgage, a branch of APMC. Reach him at 455-7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org.