Tucson AZ Home Loan Info


Be Demanding. Three Things To Expect From Your Preferred Lender

The lending industry is falling apart.  What can you do as a buyer's agent to make sure it doesn't hurt you or your buyer?  You can demand three things.

1.  Demand Accountability

Your work, your reputation and your marketing dollars brought you a buyer.  You refer that buyer to your lender for prequalification.  You should expect the loan officer to tell you the truth about the buyer's ability to perform.

True story:  A Tucson REALTOR called me yesterday to see if I could help his buyer.  The buyer qualified (according to the Big Bank lender) for a VA purchase on an REO.  The REALTOR submitted the offer three months ago, and the seller signed a contract six weeks ago.  On Tuesday of this week, the Loan Officer told the REALTOR to schedule closing for Friday, December 19th.

Yesterday (Wednesday,) the lender's processor called the borrower and said "Sorry, your loan was declined.  You had a mortgage late in 2007."  The processor!  Not the loan officer.

The Buyer's Agent referred his client to the Loan Officer three months ago.  Do you think someone might have noticed the mortgage late when they pulled credit back then?

Neither the Buyer's Agent nor the Listing Agent will have a payday on this contract.

2.  Demand Stability.  Many great people have left the lending business unexpectedly.

A quick Active Rain search indicated that more than half of the loan officers who blogged in 2007 haven't commented or written a post in the last six months.  Google their company name, and you'll find that many are out of business. 

There are 160,000 fewer LO's still originating loans.  Since late '06, 374 major US lending operations have gone belly-up, according to the Implode-O-Meter.  (Google that. It's an eye-opener!)

NMLS License Requirements:  The National Mortgage Licensing System under the SAFE Act is being implemented at a time when States are cutting back on employees who actually do the licensing. 

Arizona, for instance, has only two employees to handle every single loan officer license application between now and July 1, 2010.  Once an applicant has completed the required education hours and passed the National and State tests, the State has 120 days to issue the license! 

If your preferred loan officer hasn't started the process yet, he or she may not be able to originate loans come July 1st.  There's likely to be a huge backlog of loan officers who won't meet the deadline.

(FDIC Institutions and their subsidiaries are exempt from the licensing requirement.  But the big banks have cut back on staffing.  Ask yourself how long Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Chase are taking to issue a Clear to Close on your buyers' purchase loans.)

3.  Demand Availability (so that communication happens early, easily and often)

Buyers Agents who refer me business have my cellphone, my home phone, my Blackberry email, and my schedule.  That's right.  My schedule.  They know when I'm going on vacation, where I'm going, and who's watching the store while I'm gone.

In addition, I've purchased software that automatically updates EVERYONE in the transaction simultaneously at every critical stage in the loan process.  We closed a loan today, and using my software program, I sent out an email to everyone involved when the loan docs went to title. 

Here's the history on this loan.  The buyers were pre-approved on the 17th of November so they could go house-hunting with their REALTOR.  We had a signed contract on 11/30/2009.

This purchase will fund and record tomorrow.

When it does, I'll send out another email, thanking each participant in the process for their exceptional work in making this purchase happen smoothly and quickly.

That email will go to

  1. the buyers,
  2. the listing agent and their assistant,
  3. the buyer's agent and their assistant,
  4. the escrow officer and their admin,
  5. the insurance agent,
  6. my loan processor,
  7. and to me.  (I like to make sure the message actually was sent.)

Be demanding.  Your buyers and your livelihood require it.

EDIT: 4.  Demand Attention for your small purchase clients from the same preferred lenders who get your big purchase clients!

Deanne Olivas (comment 19) mentioned having a client who is buying a condo for a small amount of money (still an important client to me) so she had to go to one of those highly visible online lenders because the loan amount was too small for the any local loan officers.

That should NEVER happen!  (Or is should never happen more than once before you switch lenders.)


I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.

NMLS #223495
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Call me
if I can help you or someone you know
with a purchase or refi mortgage in Tucson, or anywhere else in the great state of Arizona.

(520) 349-9090


Comment balloon 38 commentsMike Jones • December 18 2009 12:14AM


Nice I like the information in a system that we can understand and handle.

Posted by Elite Home Sales Team, A Tenacious and Skilled Real Estate Team (Elite Home Sales Team OC) about 11 years ago


Thanks for being the first to comment!  See you on your blog.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago


Is there any chance you could clone yourself and send one of them up to St. Louis??  i have worked with some good loan officers and a few bad but none have ever given me their schedule!  Good for you! 

Posted by Bill Dean, William Dean - Broker, Salesperson (Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo.) about 11 years ago

Great post, Mike.  I think a lot of buyer agents are being disappointed by some lenders' totally cavalier attitude toward contract deadlines, whether they be for the appraisal, loan approval or settlement.  And if there is bad news to be given, I want to hear it on Day 3, not the day before we are supposed to be settling.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago


Thanks.  I've read some posts here on Active Rain by loan officers expressing frustration with real estate agents for expecting things that they themselves would demand if they were on the other side of the transaction.  It got me thinking...


I'll fax my clone shortly.  I wish you much success in the New Year.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

Communication generally solves issues. This is the big key.


Posted by Bonner Thomason, CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago

You wrote:  "The Buyer's Agent referred his client to the Loan Officer three months ago.  Do you think someone might have noticed the mortgage late when they pulled credit back then?"

Sorry loan officers out there, but, if that had been my buyer/client, I'd have been all over that loan officer after the first week for a review of the credit report.  Now, I don't communicate with processors, only the loan officer to whom I entrusted my buyer/client.  If the loan officer hadn't reviewed the credit report and had underwriter review before ordering the VA appraisal, I'd probably have moved the loan before the second week. 

I know I'm a pest.  However, I've worked very hard to get a buyer to the contract stage and now it's time for the loan officer to work hard to get the buyer to settlement. 

I actually fault the buyer's agent in these cases for not managing their buyer/client's loan process. 

There is never a reason for a contract not to close if the professionals responsible for the transaction are doing their job.  There are only excuses and in the case about which you write, there is no excuse.

Gone are the days when a loan officer and their processor could "tickle" credit review and processing to a few days prior to closing.  Loan approval and loan commitment should be no more than 30 days.  If handled property, there could easily have been a written explanation for the VA loan that would have permitted underwriting and LAPP approval.  Anything less is, IMO, a failure of the buyer's agent for not (1) referring the buyer to a competent lender, or (2) not monitoring the loan process from day one. 

Otherwise, the buyer's agent is no more than a walking keypad. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) about 11 years ago

My biggest pet peeves is that the LO do not read the contract in its ENTIRETY. Later, I get emails asking me closing dates, where we would close, etc. If they would just read the contract....

In the end, I'm going to imagine that this lender will not watch my clients' backs on Buyer Financing Contingency. We specifically give Sellers a dateline for buyer financing approval. When we come close to the dateline, I do expect a communication on whether we need an extension or it's approved, etc.

When LOs do not do that, they get dumped so fast they dont even realize it.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 11 years ago

Thanks for sharing. Agents need to be selective when recommending loan officers.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) about 11 years ago

Accountability is so important in my mind. There is no excuse to me that will justify a x 30 TD in the 4TH quarter with the last play. That's why I only refer the best.


Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) about 11 years ago

Good post, Mike.   I would love information on that software that you purchased.  I do try to do that manually...and I often miss something when I am busy.

Lenn...I think that talking with the LO is a practice that all Realtors should "demand".  I process my own loans so that nothing gets lost and the buck stops with me.  Similarly...as Realtors go...I much prefer to talk to my Realtors than their assistant.  What goes around comes around.  And team work is essential.

Posted by Sarah Eubanks, Preferred Oregon Loan Consultant & Notary Public (Hill Valley Financial Services) about 11 years ago


It is always good to have a system that works and keeps things moving forward.  It looks like that is exactly what you have and I wish that there were more folks in the business that had a working system.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) about 11 years ago

Mike - couldn't have said it better myself. Lenders must be accountable and available not to mention active. I too provide updates to all parties involved in the transaction.

As for availability, I personally give out only one phone number - my office number. That phone number is on a virtual system that is designed to track me down no matter where I'm at so you can reach me. In other words, it dials the phone numbers for you until it finds me. It eliminates a littany of telephone numbers leaving you guessing which one I'm at. It makes it easy for you to find me!

Posted by Lew Corcoran, ASP®, Home Stager & Real Estate Photographer (Scena Home Staging & Decora Photography) about 11 years ago

I have run into bad situations and even lost a client because my loan officer/friend was not available enough and didn't respond to the client. Thanks for the post. Wish you were in my area.

Posted by Blatt + Cutino, Broker-Associate 831/206-8070*Call today* (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 11 years ago


Do a background check on your loan officer relationships.  It's critical to your survival.


I should take a page out of your book.  That's a good system.  I'll see you on your blog.


You look good in that beard!  "Let's ask questions" is a good motto, even when you know the person and have worked with them previously.  At closing yesterday, I asked the Escrow Officer "What can I do to make your job easier?"  She was surprised by the question, but quick with an answer.

"When the seller is paying the closing costs," she said, "do not have them pay the per diem interest.  That almost always changes the final HUD, and can result in one or more day's delay."

I learned something.


There's nothing like processing your own loans to teach one the pitfalls of the loan process!  Good for you.  I did that for my conventional conforming loans for two years prior to coming to Sunstreet Mortgage, LLC.  I'll get with you on that software.


We're going to see some very critical changes in the coming months, as the number of loan officers dwindles.  The broker model is fast disappearing, and correspondent banks that have not had tight reins on their systems are failing when buybacks of failed loans overwhelm their financial capacity.  Harvey Mackay said it right:  "Dig your well before you're thirsty."


Amen to that!  Thanks for stopping by to comment.


There's no excuse for not reading the credit report...and the contract...and the preliminary title report...and the appraisal...and the termite report...and the home inspection.  All of these can contain pitfalls that can kill the deal prior to closing.  When a transaction is denied at the closing table, it's never capricious.  Whatever killed it was foreseeable.  Someone just didn't read something.


Thanks for your comment.  Our livelihood depends on the competence of other professionals.  We'd better know them well.


Communication early and often!  That's the key.  It's like an airplane taking off down a long runway.  Each person working the transaction needs to anticipate potholes in the runway, and either fill them in or abort the takeoff to avoid disaster.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago


Now that I've found a Preferred Lender with the same work ethic and reliability you consistently demonstrate, I'm keeping him near and dear!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) about 11 years ago

I do the same on my end. It is not enough to say that your professional you must act and have the systems to be professional

good post


Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) about 11 years ago


You've developed a reputation in the Rain for "walking the walk, and talking the talk."  Thanks for commenting.


That's a good idea!  Thanks for stopping by to visit.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

I have a client who is buying a condo for a small amount of money (still an important client to me) so she had to go to one of those highly visible online lenders because the loan amount was too small for the any local loan officers. I have worked so hard to get the lender there to do what needs to be done and then he will tell me he did something on when he hasn't done it yet (condo cert, etc.). It takes an experience like this to really appreciate you loan officers who are professional.

Posted by Deanne Olivas, Your Home Matters (eXp Realty) about 11 years ago


That's a fourth thing you should demand.  If your preferred local lender turns down a small or difficult loan, look for another lender.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

Great post Mike and so true.  We work so hard to land these buyers and we need to be able to trust that the lender we are referring them to is capable of giving us a reliable LSR, not just a piece of paper to pacify us.  Our relationship with our lender has always been a personal one too.  To get a call from the processor would be unheard of!  Keep up the good work!!

Posted by Joyce Thomas, Your Home Sold Guaranteed! (The Thomas Group Brokered by eXp Realty) about 11 years ago


Excellent treatise on the path of attaining a mortgage and the pitfalls to watch for along the way.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 11 years ago


I work hard to land a buyer....I would expect the officers that I recommend to take the same level of care with my client that I do...and communication is key for all parties involved!  I really like your software....wish more used a method like that...

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) about 11 years ago

Mike - Referring to a great lender doesn't mean a hand off for me. It means we have another team player in the game to finish the job. Benchmarks and communication are key. Very nice post

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) about 11 years ago

Some loan officers have gotten lacks in communication and with out telling us the problems how can we solve or advise our clients. Thanks for the info.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) about 11 years ago


Your systems are comprehensive and commicate professionalism.  Keeping people in the loop is the most important part of the process these days.

Posted by Bob Prevelige, CMPS (Zenith Mortgage Advisors) about 11 years ago


Great post! I agree with all of it!. Can I ask how you keep Realtors informed of your schedule? And what software program are you using to email those updates on the loan transaction?

Posted by John Neil (Bank of Utah) about 11 years ago

The lending industry is falling apart.

That's not good.  I've had several clients report a lack of accountability with some lenders.  Earlier this week one of my clients even fired his lender.

Posted by Bruce Brockmeier, Coached By Crouch (Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS®) about 11 years ago

Hi Mike thanks a lot for the post on what to look for and pitfalls when trying to get a loan for your buyers. I really liked how you used a program to keep track of when steps on the loan process are completed. I believe keeping a system like this not only helps yourself as an agent but also lets your client know that things are getting done and gives a rough timeline on when the process will be completed. I was wondering what program you are using to do all of this?? Thanks again for the post.

Posted by Thomas Feng (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 11 years ago

My biggest bugaboo is not being able to get hold of the lender.  I only recommend those that answer their calls or return their messages promptly.  Having to chase them and wonder what is happening during a time-critical process is just not on.  Very well crafted post, Mike.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) about 11 years ago

This is one of the best articles I have seen in quite some time. There is no question agents should be demanding these things.....and when they find someone who can these to them, they should hold on to that loan officer like gold!!

Outstanding Michael! :-)

Posted by Bob Stewart, ActiveRain Ambassador (ActiveRain) about 11 years ago


Thanks for stopping by; I appreciate the comment!


You should always be able to get ahold of your lender.  During the refi boom, a lot of lenders abandoned their realtor base because purchases are less certain than refis, and require more work.  We didn't do that.


As always, it's good to see you; thanks for commenting.


I'll contact you through Active Rain.  Thanks for reading and commenting.


I understand that that's happening.  What I don't understand is why a lender would not be accountable, especially in this market.


Yes you can; I'll contact you through Active Rain.


Amen to that!  See you on your blog.

Terry & Bonnie,

It's hard to communicate bad news, so some people just avoid it.  I can deal with "what is" if it gets communicated; I can't deal with a non-communicative member of the team.


...another team player in the game to finish the job.  That's perfect!


You have every right to expect that, and even demand that.  See you on your blog.


Merry Christmas to you and yours.  Thanks for stopping by!


The LSR (for non-Arizonans, that's a Loan Status Report, required by law) was incomplete, and there was no Loan Status Update.  Go figure!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago


Unfortunately the way we are compensated we can only go so low on loan amounts.

We either do a predatory loan with respect to fees or we lose money.

Neither are an option to me.


Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) about 11 years ago

I am going to agree with you that a weakness I see in our industry is loan officers NOT willing to read the purchase contract, extract the important dates, and develop a timeline...  then COMMUNICATE it.

But reading it is the first step.


Posted by Janet Guilbault, San Francisco Bay Area Direct Mortgage Lender (Platinum Home Mortgage Company) about 11 years ago

Great post things I need to apply to my lenders

Posted by David Whitehead (RE/MAX Pace Realty ) about 11 years ago


Thanks for stopping by.  You're new to me, and I'll be right over to check out your blog.


Right you are!  Thanks for commenting.


Your comment back to Deanne surprised me somewhat.  Predatory lending (a Section 32, or HOEPA loan) applies only to a primary residence refinance.  Section 32 doesn't apply to purchases.  And as far as doing a loan for a valued realtor where the benefit to me is somewhat in the minus column, or break even?  That doesn't happen very often, but for a realtor who sends me business month in and month out?  I'm doing that loan.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) about 11 years ago

These are great things to demand of our loan officers and a reminder of the new licensing changes to come.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) about 11 years ago


This is a relevant post. I will be interested to see how many LOs are hung out to dry when they don't have their license by July. I would also be curious to know how many drop out of the business due to the add'l cost, time and effort involved and how many that simply don't get in due to these little roadblocks. Happy holidays to you and your family. I'll see you soon, I'm sure.


Posted by Patrick Randles (Nova Home Loans) about 11 years ago

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