Friday, October 12, 2012

If You Build It - You Have To Let People Know

Here is another example of my overall point that a BIG part of the real estate crunch is because of how poorly marketed it is. And it's not just the shoddy advertising of properties that plagues the residential real estate community.

Now the Niche Report is informing us about the MILLIONS of home owners who could be benefitting from the HARP Program, which is designed to enable "under water" home owners to refinance at a lower rate. In many cases, it's the difference of being able to keep a home or being out on the street with years of consequences.

Let me tell you there is a lot to be said for the "Some people don't know about it" reference in this story. Personally, I am in contact with at least 200 mortgage lenders and banks (which handle mortgage loans) around the country every week. Yet, only a small handfull devote even a portion of their outside advertising to the HARP Program.

Even if more of them did, it doesn't mean that the road is easy. Frankly, it's not, and it should be. This Niche Report story doesn't even begin to tap the surface of how ridiculous it is out there. Some of these lenders, including the banks, don't seem to know to execute the program properly even when they get applications for it.

I recently had a situation where Fifth Third Bank "blamed" a computer glitch for not being able to complete a HARP loan application. That didn't explain why the applicant was not notified that the loan couldn't be completed until AFTER the scheduled closing.  Then the manager who "decided" this ducked e-mails, phone calls, and an in-person visit attempt to clarify. The applicant got another bank to correct this supposed "glitch" within 2 business days - and to eventually complete the loan. (Even though the promised deadline was missed by nearly 3 weeks.)

So, yes, unfortunately it takes more than educating the public about this. Some of the lenders and banks need to be educated about servicing what they sell, and customer relations, just as badly.

This totally impacts the real estate community as much as the mortgage lenders. The more people that can afford their home, the more buying and selling there will be.

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