One of the reasons I wanted to be a Realtor is that I’m fairly social, and I enjoy being around other people. The difficulty is that I’m not sure I like them.
Oh sure, other people are perfectly lovely to sit down and have a lunch with. But in a work context, they don’t always do what I would do, which makes me nutso. In this, I am my mother’s child – she was a southern judge famous for her way or the highway. (In nice polite southern terms, my momma didn’t suffer fools gladly).
And neither do I, but somehow other people get tetchy being told they’re fools simply because they don’t wanna do things my way. Weird, huh? Unfortunately, I have to manage my tendency to dictate — I mean lead — in this job, because I am not my client’s only advisor. I have to constantly leave myself post-its to play nice with the other people on my client’s team: their attorney, their architect, their mother-in-law, their Aunt Sally — and in the case of a buyer, their mortgage guy.
If I am giving the impression that I am the kind of real estate agent who dictates — I mean leads — commitment letters, well, that’s right. It’s not my fault mortgage representatives can’t write. But of course this can lead to a little bit of an intra-team struggle.
“You’re going to be nice to my mortgage guy, right?” one of my clients said the other day.
“Of course I will be,” I said. “I’m nice. I’m always nice. I only swear at you.”
By “swear” I guess I mean “sound like David Mamet” because that’s what one of my fellow agents said to me, but honestly, we were in a best-and-final situation, and I was just trying to wrestle this pre-approval to the ground. We had a letter for a different property, so I wanted the agent to change it to make it good for the subject property; acceptable. But the commitment we had was for a specific amount, and when we changed the amount I wanted to change the wording: apparently not acceptable.
“Will lend up to $XX” was the phrase that came over in the draft letter.
“Up to?” I said. “That sounds weak, and we’re going into best-and-final. How about in excess of $XX?”
The mortgage guy, while I’m sure sticking pins in a doll that looked like me and was wearing a little NAR pin, very patiently explained to me that brokers can’t write open-ended pre-approvals. (In my defense, the original letter’s loan amount was $XX plus $200K, so I know my client had more room to borrow). We settled on “for a loan of $XX.”
Then there was the issue of timeframe. The original timeframe said “7 to 10 days.”
Now, I’m not a mortgage broker but doesn’t that sound slow to you? Client has been employed at the same firm for nearly 10 years, is making a 30 percent down payment (and she’ll have the same amount left over as cash in the bank) and is borrowing less than twice her HHI. I’m thinking this decision should take a lender maybe four hours, tops.
Yet somehow my suggestion of “imminently” as a wording for the pre-approval letter was rejected.
The broker did tighten up the timeframe to appease me. We ended up losing best-and-final anyway, not on price, but on terms, as the winner had an all-cash bid. At least the whole episode was over quickly, and my client was very understanding.
“Well, we’ll find something else,” she said. “Not this weekend, but maybe next weekend. And at least you and the mortgage broker have ironed things out.”
Yeah, we have. Now if I could only get rid of this little stabbing pain in my side…
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