by Dean Hartman on June 9, 2011
As people go through the mortgage process today, I believe that they wonder if their lender has gone insane. Lenders ask for documentation repeatedly, constantly updating, asking for further clarification and explanation for everything. Income, credit, assets and appraisals are scrutinized at a level unseen in my 25+ years. It almost seems like they are trying to find reasons NOT to lend.
But, I assure you, that is not the case. The only way lenders can stay in business is to lend money. It is what funds the operation and pays for salaries, rent and paper clips. Lending is what creates the value of the company. No closings, no revenue, no company.
So why the perception of over-documentation and over analysis when we know the lenders have to make loans? This is the reality of a post-subprime world. Lenders got too liberal and under-documented files and forgot the primary role of underwriting (judging a borrower’s ABILITY and WILLINGNESS to repay the loan) as they approved files. And now, the pendulum has swung back to a very conservative stance. Common sense seems to have been replaced by a “Cover Your Butt Mentality”.
No one is immune. Appraisers error on the side of lower valuations and heightened criticism of a home’s condition. Underwriters labor over pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements and credit information. Closing agents meticulously examine title and closing documents. Each of them has learned that their mistakes, miscalculations, or errors in judgment (no matter how minor) can result in a loss of their job, a bad loan, and/or monetary damages to their companies.
So, today I just wanted to counsel home buyers. Your lender WANTS to make your loan. However, understand that they have been burned by borrowers, burned by their bad judgment, burned by moronic industry trends of the past. Lenders are going to be a little gun shy. If you can prove that you are willing and able to repay the loan, lenders have lots of money available at incredible (once-in-a-lifetime) rates. When you think your lender is asking for too much, know it’s because they want to say “yes” AND know that their decision is both a good and defendable one.