Common Irritations with Big Banks
It doesn’t matter whether you are a real estate agent, a home buyer, a home seller, or a mortgagee, almost everyone has had or read some sort of negative story about a nightmare experienced at the hands of one of the major lending institutions.
Most experiences aren’t nearly as bad as the experience of a borrower who, making mortgage payments in a timely manner, woke up as a victim of foreclosure. The majority of complaints seem to be about long hold times, inefficiency, poor processing, unqualified employees, and inability to obtain accurate information.
You may be thinking that the easiest and most obvious solution to this problem is to deposit your money or obtain your mortgage from a small local lender. But, even if you do that, who is to say that they won’t transfer the servicing or sell your mortgage to a large lending institution? So, chances are that no matter what you do (unless your money is in your mattress), you will be forced to deal with one of the major lending institutions at some point in your life.
4 Ways to Overcome Frustration with the Big Banks
- Be cognizant of gatekeepers. While it is possible that you are calling about something simple (such as a fax number, a mailing address, or a loan balance), often times the first tier of customer service—the individuals that answer the telephone—do not have the knowledge necessary to address your concern, yet they answer your question anyway (often incorrectly). Consider whether your question or concern should be answered by a gatekeeper or escalated to a particular department head or manager and make the appropriate request to be allowed through the gate.
- Never call on Mondays. If you are frustrated by long hold times, my best advice to you is to avoid calling lending institutions on Mondays. Everyone that received mail over the weekend and has concerns makes those calls on Mondays. The phone lines are usually extra busy on Mondays.
- Take names and contact information. Always take note of the name of the person that assisted you and his or her contact information. Note the date and time that you spoke and the information that you gathered. In this way, if you have a concern that needs to be escalated to management, you can provide the information from your log. (Also, when a person knows that you have taken his or her name, s/he knows that this means accountability. Just asking for this information may compel the employee to do a slightly more diligent job in assisting you.)
- Follow up. If you are told that you will receive an email in two days or a letter in four days, and you do not, then you need to follow up. Don’t just wait patiently and expect that things will happen because they may not. Follow up the very day that you were supposed to receive the material, and (by all means), try not to follow up with the gatekeeper.
In order to overcome some of the frustrations experienced in dealing with lenders, you need to adhere to a “take no prisoners” philosophy. Literally, “take no prisoners” means killing the opposition, and I am not advocating that. What I mean is this: In order to deal with large institutions and their countless employees, you need to be persistent (almost ruthless) in your ability to obtain the answers that you desire.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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