Recently I closed a transaction in which the lender was a total flake. (The buyer did not find this lender by referral of his Realtor, but instead was induced by the lure of a rebate.) The sale closed almost 2 weeks late because the flaky lender dropped the ball, repeatedly. Needless to say, this caused aggravation but also extra costs.
But there was a saving grace: she and her office were both local. The buyer’s agent was able to drive over to that flaky lender’s office, and when the lender herself wasn’t in, the buyer’s agent was able to speak with the manager – face to face. And that helped a lot.
Never underestimate the importance of getting a lender who is both local and highly referred – preferably by your agent. Why? Because you might only have one transaction but that agent or Realtor might be the source of many. The lender will literally try harder since a bad experience will cause referrals to stop but a good one will cause them to flow.
I have found this true even at the handyman level. If I call a handyman once a year, he may not be super interested in doing an outstanding job for me. But if he thinks I’ll have a lot of jobs for him, that’s another story.
About half the time, my buyers come to the table with their own lenders, people I don’t know at all. Sometimes it’s OK and sometimes it’s a disaster. But when they work with the lenders I suggest, there’s seldom a big problem, if even a small one. If you are working with a good Realtor, there’s a lot to be said for asking him or her for a list of lenders who are trusted and choosing one of them. In my experience, the odds are better for a favorable outcome if you do.