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Monday, August 17, 2009

PJ's Real Estate Joke Back to School 2009

With the beginning of a new school year here in Austin, TX just around the corner, I thought I'd share with you my latest ad which will be included in the LT football program and LTISD school directory. I truly enjoy writing these jokes and I hope you enjoy reading them too.

This is the marketing side of me which I truly enjoy. I always like to drum up eye-catching ads which makes me different from the other real estate agents, therefore, my marketing properties, I make sure that they are always eye catching. Enjoy and leave comments if you wish. Select on the photo to view the image larger.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Importance of a Good and Knowledgeable Lender

Buyers, do you think it is IMPORTANT that you know who your lender is and that your lender is actually knowledgeable and professional of their business?

In a recent closing, I represented a buyer who already went thru the pre-qualification process with a lender that was supposedly highly recommended by a relative. I surely will not oppose to this especially when my buyer chooses to go with the referral rather than someone out of the phone book or the internet. From time to time, I would email the lender to make sure that the loan paperwork is complete and that the lender has submitted the file to underwriting, ordered appraisal and survey etc. I always copied the buyer to make sure that the buyer is also getting the appropriate communications.

So far so good, the buyer wanted to close at Week 4 just before the long holiday weekend, instead of Week 5 as written in the contract. The lender assured that Week 4 was not a problem. At Week 3, the lender emailed me a HUD document asking me to sign and return on the same day which I did. On the early part of Week 4, I received an email from the lender that I have not turned in the document to kindly send it back that day, which I did the second time. A few days later, the lender emails the buyer, copies me, stating that I have not turned in the paperwork she has requested from me twice. I immediately called the lender and assured her that I did!!! I immediately faxed and emailed the same document to her and the buyer and miraculously she does get it! At the end of that same week (Week 4), the lender called the buyer stating that the approval could not be completed because of the long holiday weekend and that the underwriter would resume the following Monday, week 5, supposedly the day before closing. That Monday came and went and the lender needed the wood treated by a termite company which was required by the bank. The buyer gets a termite professional immediately, gets the paid invoice to the lender for proof. The lender tells the buyer to postpone closing until the next day. The next day came and went and more documentation was requested from the buyer. Luckily the buyer had the documentation available and sends it right back to the lender. The lender once again asked to postpone closing until the next day. At the end of Week 5, the buyer is really upset, and has already re-scheduled her day off and the moving company 3 times. The buyer called me after she just got off the phone with the lender after a SCREAMING MATCH! A lender screaming at her client? WOW! The closing does not happen that Friday and the sellers had advised us that the husband was going to be out of town for work and to re-schedule the closing the end of Week 6. I get the amendment to extend closing for the following week done. Week 6 comes in and the lender has asked for more documentation regarding proof of payments on some loans which the client could not find. At this time, lender has asked closing to take place on Friday of Week 6. On Thursday of Week 6, still no signs of underwriting approval. The lender has stopped responding to my emails and phone calls on Weeks 5 and 6. I finally decided to step in and contact the lender's manager. Little did I know that the manager was only the owner of the mortgage company. I complained that the lender stopped giving me updates and that the closing keeps getting postponed daily. The manager has assured me that he will take over the file from now on and communicate with me the progress of the loan. I emailed the manager to do his magic for the Friday closing, instead, he promises a Monday closing of Week 7 or better if the day after, Tuesday of Week 7. The lender calls me telling me that her manager spoke to her and said that she did respond to my emails. Yeah right. We finally got clear to close Friday morning. Did you see that, FINALLY!!!! Fortunately for my buyer, they were not available on Monday so we once again move closing for Tuesday morning. I got the amendments to extend closing signed again. On Monday evening, the closing docs get to the escrow officer at literraly 6 pm which means a Tuesday am closing was not going to happen. The HUD settlement statement needed to be approved by all parties. The closing finally takes place at 3 pm (2 weeks after original closing date) and even at the table, the lender was still emailing changes to the escrow officer!!!! Naturally, the funding does not take place since the seller did not get to sign until 4:30pm.

The story gets better, read on.... The buyer has taken the day off, day after closing, waiting nervously for the green light so she can pick up the keys and get the movers to the house. The keys are not released to the buyers until the loan has funded. BTW, the lender has assured my buyer that she can get the keys on the same day she signs the closing docs, even before she sits down to sign. 9 am, 10 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm comes along, the buyer has already called and txt me at least 2 times, "Have I heard anything?", nope I reply. Then I get a call from the title company stating that they have received the wire but the funds were SHORT! SHORT? How could the wire be short? Not enough money!!! The escrow company does not have an answer but will have to recalculate and see where the lender was short. The wire was short less than 3 dollars, another mistake by you know who. The lender drives to the title company to bring a check so that the keys would get released to the buyer. The buyer goes to the title company, meeting the lender in the parking lot. The lender tells the buyer AFTER ALL THIS, that the lender will pay my buyer a $500 fee for her referrals from friends, etc. You think she would after this fiasco? My buyer tells the lender under her breath that she was not willing to lose any friends over $500! SCORE!

Moral of the story, get a professional lender that knows the process and won't scream at the clients. The professional way to approach this situation is to have the lender not schedule a closing date until a clear to close has been received. Once a clear to close is given, the closing department needs 24 hours to get the docs to the title company. The title company needs a few hours to draw the HUD Settlement Statement and get it approved. Wouldn't it be simpler to just say "Miss Buyer, let's not make any plans to take a day off or schedule a moving company until I have the clear to close" PERIOD. This way no one gets stressed out! The best part about it when I heard my buyer say "My realtor is getting referrals but my mortgage lender is not getting anything from me."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Austin is a Hot Place to Live in 2009

I’m not surprised that our city is ranking well in several polls. Here are only a few of our city’s recent accolades:

Austin is #8 in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the country’s best cities. This is due to solid job growth and stable economy.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that our city was the only major city that added jobs last year.

Austin is #1 in’s top city for relocation. Once again, the city’s economic growth forecast, housing affordability and strength of community contributed to this ranking.

Austin is #9 in the annual American Fitness Index awarded by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Are you looking for more reasons to move to Austin? If you are convinced that Austin is the place for you and your family, give me a call and I can help you find a home to buy or lease in Austin. Call me on my “SELL” phone at (512)786-SELL/7355.