Why Do Realtors Prefer Local Lenders?
Delayed Closings. According to the survey, delayed closings are much more common when the buyer is not using a lender with a local office. You know from your own experience that Realtors get very nervous when it begins to look like the closing may be delayed because the lender has not obtained a final approval from underwriting.
Lack of Accountability. A home sale with a $250,000 purchase price is worth $7500 commissions to each of the Realtors in the transaction. With that much money on the line, they don't like surprises, and they especially don't like having to deal with a contact person in a faraway city that doesn't rely on the Realtor for their business and is in no way beholden to the Realtor for the current transaction. It is almost impossible for a Realtor in this situation to get a straight answer from anyone in authority at the out-of-town mortgage center. And if there is a problem at the closing table after office hours, there is no one the Realtor can call to get the problem resolved.
Lack of Experience with Local Lending Laws. You know your state's laws as they apply to mortgage lending. According to the Realtors who were surveyed, Call Center companies that loan in all 50 states make more mistakes that can lead to delays or worse.
The Inside Mortgage Finance survey (conducted by Campbell Research) was apparently focused only on Call Center lenders, but many of the complaints voiced by Realtors about the call centers also apply to the nationwide megabanks. My coaching clients have frequently told me that Realtors are constantly complaining about the big banks, as well as the call centers, but they are often reluctant to say anything about it to their buyer clients. They don't want to appear to be trying to influence the client as to their choice of lender, and ultimately they're afraid of losing the client altogether. In many cases, the Buyer has already gotten "preapproved" online by the call center or the big bank before they even approach a Realtor. From the Realtor's point of view, it's hard to un-ring that bell.
Suggested Action Step: Every time a Realtor tells you about a negative experience with a Call Center or mega-bank, take down enough information from the Realtor so that you can construct a narrative of what happened. Collect as many of these as you can, and put them together into a report that you can circulate directly to your own clients and prospects. You can also make these reports available to your Realtor Partners for distribution to their clients and prospects. Remember: nothing beats evidence. (In assembling the stories for your report, be sure to quote the Realtor who is telling the story, and get permission to use their name. Avoid directly naming the call center lender or the mega-bank in question. Use as much detail as possible, including dates, numbers, specifics of the transaction – especially specifics on why the loan was held up or declined – but don't name the consumers involved unless they have given their permission.)