Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Shmuel has over two decades of industry experience, including licenses and certifications as a certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. Shmuel provides a uniquely holistic approach to comprehensive real estate and financial matters that goes well beyond any single transaction. Shmuel is an award-winning financier recognized for maximizing the short-term and long-term objectives of his client. As a contributing writer to many local and regional newspapers and publications, his insights have been featured in the media for many topics, including mortgages, personal finance, appraisals, and real estate trends.
A few weeks ago I was leaving my office fairly late for a Friday afternoon, making my way up to the Catskills as I have been doing each weekend of the summer. While my “Waze” was evaluating, I proceeded to follow my normal route as I frequently do, which Waze has directed me to each and every week. Unexpectedly, on that particular day, Waze directed me to stay on Route 17 and avoid the Garden State Parkway altogether. I was very surprised by this because the road seemed fairly clear – certainly no worse than any other Friday in the past. I decided to ignore Waze because I wasn’t sure it was giving me “real time” guidance, and even scrolled ahead on my screen to see if there were any heavy red lines denoting substantial traffic. I didn’t see anything out of the norm, so I decided to stay on course. Persistently, with each passing exit Waze implored me to get off, but I kept ignoring. After a few moments of driving on the open road – I suddenly came to a standstill. Again, Waze recalculated … only this time staying on course, but now adding about 30 minutes to my estimated arrival time. Needless to say, this was not something I wanted to see on a late Friday afternoon.
I’m sure I’m not the first one to ignore Waze, and I’m sure this won’t be my last time – although this situation will certainly give me pause before I disregard their direction in the future. The incident however got me thinking…. In the mortgage and real estate industry, it is all too often that a client attempts to do their own research, and thinks that they are adequately equipped to take matters into their own hands in spite of the expert guidance they receive. Equally, there are times when people work with the wrong “professionals” who completely fails to anticipate any of the challenges and encounters that this client will experience along the way. I recently had a situation where I got a fretful call from a past client whose relative was supposed to be closing on home purchase imminently. Apparently their loan officer disappeared – “has been MIA,” and stopped answering texts or emails which was very alarming and very nerve-wracking to say the least.
I found out the factors of the situation, and identified what the potential issue was, and assured my friend and his relative that we can do the mortgage relatively quickly without issue. My team and I spent the next few hours sorting through all the paperwork and making sure that it was in fact something that we can do. We expedited all of our background-checks, and started doing all of our formal processing to have this loan expedited for approval. I noticed however that the rate and term that this client was getting from the other bank was exceptionally favorable based on the fact that loan was locked in over 6 weeks prior, when the market was much more competitive then it was now. I quickly called him and let him know that although I can guarantee that I can get this loan approved and closed in a timely matter, I was sure that I would not be able to match the rates and terms that he was originally offered. His response was ‘at this point – something is better than nothing,’ and he was willing to move forward despite those numbers.
My team and I continued to do this work trying to update everything needed, so that we can be in a position to get this loan closed. Upon further review I called him back and suggested that he continue to pressure the underwriter and closing department manager – giving him suggestions for possible resolutions. Finally, he got a nebulous response, and a special form, which he sent over to me for review. I confirmed that it was something we can work with, and guided him how to get it handled in a timely manner. We continued to do the work on our end, but I was hopeful, and encouraged him to continue to pressure and push them giving him whatever insight I could.
In the end my hunch was right, and they were able to approve his loan albeit with a slight delay. Obviously he was ecstatic and felt bad for all the effort that I put in, but I wasn’t disappointed in the least bit. I was satisfied that in spite of not getting a new client, that I was able to help and give somebody who was distraught the proper guidance and advice to successfully navigate his situation. The misguidance and the lack of meticulousness that he obtained from the loan officer when he first started his application was more than apparent. It is the job of a competent loan officer to anticipate and avoid any of the hurdles and detours along the way – to get their clients to their endpoint in a swift, straightforward and efficient manner. This is something that Waze is able to do extraordinarily, and is something that a skilled professional should be able to do equally as well. My advice is to always listen to Waze, and always listen to the “ways” of a competent and knowledgeable Mortgage Banker who can accurately anticipate the bumps ahead for a safe and successful journey to homeownership.
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