If the Process of Getting a Mortgage is too Confusing, Shoot the Messenger

by Alex Stenback on February 8, 2011

In this space and elsewhere I have characterized getting a mortgage as a “financial colonoscopy,” a “forensic financial examination,” and “a special form of torture designed to weed out the non-creditworthy and bad-at-paperwork alike.”

So in some ways it is unsurprising that the Wall Street Journal Developments blog reports that many find the mortgage process too confusing:

“Nearly one-third of respondents said that understanding the mortgage process was the most difficult step in buying a home, according to the survey conducted by MortgageMatch.com, a unit of Move Inc. That was higher than the share of borrowers who said getting approved for the mortgage (23%) or negotiating the home purchase price (25%) was the most difficult step in buying a home.”

The first thought I had when reading that quote was that 30% of borrowers worked with a lender that was horrible at communication, though that may be too harsh given the semi-dysfunctional state of the mortgage industry. 

[Aside: Speaking of dysfunction, maybe we should should celebrate the fact that 2/3rds of borrowers did not find the process "too confusing?"]

But here’s the thing: Borrowing a large sum of money to purchase residential real estate is probably the single most complicated transaction one will undertake in their lives.

It can be difficult. It can be intimidating. It can be irritating. It can be an outright pain in the ass. But it should almost never be confusing.

Seriously, in mortgage banking, the customer experience story begins and ends with clear, informed, and timely communication – when you don’t get that, you get confusion. Confused customers are never happy.

Not unrelated is the near universal fact that the borrower who has the “best experience” securing a home loan has gotten the best communication and education from their lender.

So if you find yourself hopelessly confused, remember, it may not be  the process, but that you were not properly educated about the process, what it would entail, what to expect, and what the rules apply to your specific situation. 

In other words, you might have just picked the wrong lender (think person, not organization here.)

So go ahead, shoot the messenger, not the message.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jennifer February 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I still remember when we got our first mortgage… I think I called you every single day from signing the purchase agreement to closing. You were so nice and patient with me. I honestly thought that there was a good chance that we’d walk in to the closing and they’d say “Nah, we changed our mind. No house for you.” So silly.

Everything’s easier the second time around.

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