March 9th, 2016 5:50 PM by Gregg Mower
In today’s world we have seen a dramatic decrease in customer service in all sectors of our lives from the service we receive at the local restaurant to the service a Real Estate service provider should be providing his or her clients. I think we as a society have lost that unique ability to provide excellent customer service to those we wish to conduct business with, with a few exceptions. I am not sure if it is due to the fact that households have to have both spouses working to provide a living for their family at the expense of our children, or it is taught in our schools that simple manors are no longer important, or we are simply accepting poor service as the norm. Whatever the reasons are, we as a society have to wake up or we will be living in a world of self-serving individuals where we are forced by law to be courteous and nice (Or are we already there?). I have been in the Real Estate business and mortgage business for the last 32 years of my life, in fact, I grew up in this industry as my father was also in the mortgage business all of his life and I have never seen the lack of respect and down-right rude behavior that is running rampant in this business today.
I was taught the Golden Rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” which I have lived my life. It seems that this basic rule of life is no longer taught or if it is it may have been changed to “Do unto others as they have done unto you”. This entitled attitude of our society is quite frankly going to be the downfall of America, but that will be for another day. For now, I want to explain how services related to the Real Estate industry should be handled, and some red flags you might see that should make you run and find a provider that will fit your need for good service and basic manors.
First, when you interview an Agent or Loan Officer you should know what their experience level is. Obviously, the more experience they have the more knowledge that can be offered, but even if they have all the experience in the world and they rub you the wrong way it probably is not going to be a good fit for you. I say this as the Real Estate business is so complex in today’s world that you need a degree of experience to be able to navigate all the necessary disclosures and procedures necessary to close a transaction, but you can still be nice while doing this. A new Agent is fine to work with if they have a mentor that can guide them through the maze of a transaction. You should know what their character is, for no other reason than you have to work with them for the duration of the transaction and if they have a bad attitude that could cause you to lose out on transactions. You may not believe that someone in a business like a Real estate Agent would stoop so low as to argue with other professionals in a transaction to the point the transaction falls apart, but I can assure you I have seen this more times than I would like to admit. I would highly recommend that you talk to the person at length if you don’t know them to get to know the way they are and what their core values are and if they align with yours. Let’s face it, we were all new to this business once, but it takes tenacity, aggressiveness, and courtesy to be good in any business, and you can generally pick that up in a conversation you have with anyone.
Second, and most importantly do you get along with this person. In a Real Estate transaction today you will be communicating daily with your service providers so you had better like them. No matter how busy an Agent or Loan Officer is they should always treat you like you are the ony client they have. I just recently closed a transaction for a Veteran who was declined by two other lenders because he did not file tax returns. In fact, he was referred to me by another Loan Officer thinking I could do an Alternate Income Loan for the Veteran. I simply sat down with the Veteran and listened to what he had to say. I asked him why he had not filed tax returns in several years even though he was retired. The answer was so simple that all I had to do was google his answer to see if it was in fact true. Then I had to locate a lender that would fund the loan without tax returns and a low credit score. It turns out that my Veteran was a Vietnam war vet and was injured in the line of duty and was discharged prior to 1971 which is a little known tax code that exempts him from having to file taxes. So I printed out the tax code ran it by an underwriter who said it would be no problem and Boom, he was approved for a loan. He was told he could not get a loan for no other reason than no one else listened to what he had to say and do a little investigation on it. This to me is about the most basic of service that should be afforded anyone, but I have a special place in my heart for all Veterans and I go the extra mile for them as they did for all of us. I also found the home for him and represented him as a Realtor, so I could make sure he was fully taken care of. Mind you, he only purchased a small condo but I felt he was owed a level of service I would provide for a multi-million-dollar client. (Thank you for your service Talbert).
I did not want to write this article to toot my own horn, but I tend to do that as no one else will. I do want all potential home buyers to be treated with the same respect and courtesy as I treat my customers. So at what point should you drop the Agent or Loan officer you are working with currently? I would kick my Agent to the curb if he or she won’t pick up the phone to talk with me or won’t call back in a timely fashion. If your Agent gives you “that feeling” that something is just not right with them, use your gut and move on. If Your Agent talks bad about other people, especially other Agents, to build themselves up, run away. If they complain that they can’t seem to get deals closed, that might be an indication of their skills and a bad attitude, run away. If it is always someone else’s fault that things go wrong, run away. If they can find it within themselves to be on time for appointments, your business might not be that important to them, run away. Common courtesies should be afforded you as a client as a bare minimum and even that, for me personally, is not enough. I might be on the other end of the scale as I obsess about doing the right things for my clients and sometimes lose sleep over transactions wondering if there is something more that I could be doing to get the deal closed, approved, or moving through the system more efficiently.
So, as I would love to be able to work with all clients, that just is not possible, that is why I have chosen to train Agents and Loan Officers that work with me to be able to provide that kind of service. Over the years I have had to let several Loan Officers and Agents go due to the fact I was getting complaints from clients, and I have no tolerance for poor service levels if you have not noticed by now. So if you are working with an Agent from a “Big Box” firm with fancy offices and they have an attitude that you don’t like run away. Small Local companies are important for Real Estate firms, however, for the Loan side you should have a Loan officer that resides in the state you are trying to get your loan in for no other reason than to keep your hard money in the local or California economy. You have to ask yourself, who do you have to hold accountable if you chose to do business with Quicken or a Rocket Mortgage if something goes wrong during a transaction. From a local economic point of view, do you want your dollars leaving the state you live and work in? The answer to that should be no. Did you know that up until 1994 Banks had limitations of only being able to operate in the state they were chartered in? There was a good reason for this and that can be explained as local dollars should stay in the local economy, but it is up to us as good stewards of our local economies to keep our dollars local so our local economies can thrive.
The Local Realtor associations and The California Association of Realtors (CAR), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have codes of conduct that all Agents should abide by, but that still can’t make someone smart if they are not, nor can it make them nice if it is not their nature. So it falls on your best judgment, as an informed consumer, to find a Real Estate service provider that you can get along with and you can trust will work hard for you. Here at MAE Capital Real Estate and Loan we know these core values and we practice what we preach, so we look forward to working with you on your Real Estate ventures.