[Josh is a good friend of mine who has a great deal of knowledge and expertise in physician home mortgage. I’m happy to share a series of educational posts from him regarding this topic. So here you go, Josh’s debut on DWM. The Mettle Group is a sponsor of this website.]
Second 3 of 6 Steps to a Flawless Home Purchase
- Carefully Select Your Realtor
It is so important that this is not just someone who’s qualified in helping the average person move across town. You are looking for someone with relocation, ideally physician relocation experience. You should be able to find such realtors through an online search, via referral from the medical department you are joining, a colleague who has recently relocated to the area or through a referral from a loan officer specializing in physicians. If you can’t find a realtor with experience with physician relocation, then the next best thing is a realtor who specializes in relocation because that person will have a little more specialized knowledge of the potential pitfalls and be attuned to serving clients remotely.
Remember, the timing of your employment contract start date, relocation and remote closing all add complexity to the transaction. The realtor who is the biggest short sale or foreclosure specialist in the county might be capable of doing amazing things for his short sale clients, they may be busy and sell more homes than anyone. BUT that same busy realtor, if not experienced in the nuances of relocation, is more likely to forget the remote closing timeline and leave you keyless on move in day. I see it much more frequently than anyone would like.
A great realtor will map out the transaction with you, pull out a sheet of paper and talk through all the dates with you and map out the transaction. That way when he is structuring the offer and the deadlines, everything flows and matches, so you don’t get to the end of the deadline, and realize, you’re family is homeless for two weeks because of a delay on the seller’s side or because the Realtor and loan officer we’re not in communication about when your loan could close.
- Stay in Communication
Make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same dates in mind for the loan approval, wiring of closing funds, loan document signing and move-in date. This is especially important for relocating physicians who often have movers scheduled and a relatively short timeline to move in and get settled before starting their new position. Make it a point early in the transaction, even before you write up your offer or go house hunting, to get your loan officer and Realtor on the same page. This is important that these two advisors are in communication about loan type, financing and appraisal deadlines, as well as the all-important closing and move in date.
What can happen in a transaction is that everybody gets focused one thing, like the appraisal or the outstanding final signed employment contract or whatever the potential hang up might be and they take their eye off the relocation piece and end up missing a date.
If you get into the habit of staying in communication with your realtor and loan officer throughout the transaction, you’ll prevent a lot of problems. It is as easy as firing off an email to both parties saying: “Hey, team, I’m selling my house on Wednesday and I’ll be in Ohio that day, I need to move in and have keys Friday afternoon for the Arizona home. Everybody on board, do you see any problems with those dates?”; “Hey, did you get everything you need from me? Is there anything else you need?”; “My financing appraisal deadline is coming up this Friday. Just wanted to make sure that was on everybody’s radar and we were not going to have any problems with that.”; “Hey, team, Just verifying that financing and appraisal deadline is next Monday, which means my earnest money is nonrefundable. Can you confirm we are good to pass this date?”; or “Hey, team, closing deadline is a week away. I’m confirming that everything is set and my family will be in a moving van on Wednesday.” For anything having to do with deadlines or the dates you will be traveling, I would recommend being in direct communication with both the Realtor and the loan officer.
The frequency of your communication may vary depending on the transaction, but I think once or twice a week is probably the recommended dosage. That’s not too much and not too little. If you send communications a couple times a day or daily, you’re going to drive everybody crazy.
Even if you are working with a great Realtor and loan officer team, keep in mind that things happen. The loan processor goes on vacation, the kids get sick, real-life stuff happens and things can slip through the cracks. As a consumer, if you’re not communicating what your expectations are with the deadlines, you’re leaving yourself open to possible mistakes.
- Be Proactive
Take responsibility for the deadlines you sign on your purchase agreement and ensure you don’t lose your earnest money. This is truly your responsibility and all you have to do is to be aware of your inspection, appraisal, financing and settlement deadlines. I find most home buyers rarely even know the deadlines in a purchase agreement even exist. It’s extremely seldom that we get any kind of communication from the client following up on these dates. This is typically because the Realtor rushed through the purchase agreement and did not bring it to your attention, but at the end of the day this is on you, it’s you who is risking your earnest money. You can do this simply by paying attention to the dates in your purchase agreement and set yourself reminders to follow up with your real estate and mortgage team before the dates are upon you and your money is lost.
Follow this advice and you have a 99 percent chance that your transaction will be a successful and enjoyable one!
The following success story is from one of our favorite physician clients, Dr. Peters, who orchestrated the perfect transaction.
Dr. Peters had built a conservative home in a great new neighborhood when he was new into practice. They had purposefully bought a smaller, less expensive home so they could focus on eliminating all debt, which he did over the next six or seven years. Several years after he had built his home, the house directly across the street from him was built and from the minute it was framed, it was his wife’s dream home. It was bigger, with nicer finishes, on a better lot and of course more expensive. It was what they wished they could have built when they built their home, but they felt it was out of reach until they had finished paying off their student loan debt.
Dr. Peters stuck to his plan and paid down all of his student debt. Shortly thereafter, as luck would have it, the owners of the house across the street, told them that they were going to sell their home.
Dr. Peters started researching lenders. He called a few doctor friends but nobody had particularly enjoyed the lenders they had worked with and he was unable to get a good referral. He went online and searched for “physician home loan” and came upon our site. He called me and we had a nice conversation discussing his situation. He had some unique factors and had made a few investments that had gone bad. Although he had paid off all of his debt, he hadn’t accumulated the savings that he would have liked for a down payment. I advised him a physician home loan without mortgage insurance was his best option because he needed a jumbo loan size with less than twenty percent down.
After our conversation, Dr. Peters continued his due diligence by visiting our website and reading all the testimonials. He knew two of the clients who’d given us testimonials. One was a doctor and the other was a member of Utah Medical Association Financial Services and coincidentally Dr. Peters’ financial planner. He called them both to ask them about their experience with us.
When we had our second phone conversation, Dr. Peters was certain that he was comfortable moving forward with us. We had a great relationship and trust because he really had done his due diligence and research upfront. I advised him, before you write your offer and become completely emotionally attached, allow me to gather all of your documents, complete your Credit and Income Approval and ensure you will qualify without any surprises. Dr. Peters was very prompt in getting me all the documents we needed and we submitted his file for Credit and Income Approval. Within twenty four hours, the file came back, underwriter approved.
He then was able to make a very strong offer to his neighbor, saying we’re completely qualified, already having been through underwriting, we have our down payment ready and we’re willing to make you an offer with no realtors involved and we’ll close in two weeks. Of course, the seller took the offer and Dr. Peters got a great price on the house.
We closed two weeks later and his wife finally got her dream home.
Seeing success stories like Dr. Peters is what it’s all about for us. I hope you will take these Six Steps to a Flawless Home Purchase to ensure that your loan process goes as smoothly and is as stress free as possible.
Josh Mettle is an industry leading author and mortgage lender, specializing in financing physicians, dentists, fellows, PhDs, and physician assistants. You can get more great physician real estate and mortgage advice at http://www.utahphysicianhomeloans.com/ or his book site: www.whyphysicianhomeloansfail.com. Josh is also a fourth generation real estate investor, and owns a number of rental homes, apartment units and mortgages. Josh is dedicated to helping physicians become more financially aware and able, download Josh’s latest tips and advice at www.physicianfinancialsuccess.com.
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