What can mortgage companies do to assist borrowers during these difficult days of social lockdown? Is it still possible to apply for a mortgage loan and successfully proceed to closing? Of course! Absolutely! Yes, you can!

Procedures are different and many common practices have been altered. In some ways, procedures and practices have been shut down all together. I want to help readers understand what mortgage companies can and can’t do during this time of caution, and I also want you to know what my industry should be doing to make the process easier and more accessible from start to finish.

The following describes what both the mortgage lender and the borrower can put in place to expedite the successful closing of a loan.

Transparency: Borrowers must be in the loop on every detail, roadblock and hiccup to ensure timely handling of applications. Borrowers right now are fearful and need to know the status of their application, their point of contact and how COVID-19 is impacting their chances for approval.

Clarification: Mortgage brokers must clarify approval criteria like never before. Inquiries are at an all-time high given mortgage rates, economic circumstances and fear. Mortgage lenders should revise or create clear guidance for customers, describing every detail required for loan approval.

Digital provision: Under present circumstances, alternative service options should be available and presented clearly to applicants up front.

Flexibility: Mortgage brokers must compassionate yet strongly address changes to the loan process caused by the pandemic. Workers in hard-hit sectors like hospitality might have suffered job losses, reduced income or credit impairment. Explain how such developments will impact loan approval.

Marketing: It is important to maintain fair and consistent advertising. Any advertisements during this time should be fair and clear, and any disclaimers should be prominent. Brokers must specify the state of affairs as they stand, avoiding predictions of the future.

Maintaining the health and safety of our clients, our team members and our community is our highest priority. We are also focused on keeping real estate transactions moving forward. As always, a home purchase requires a visit by an appraiser and a closing appointment with the title company representative. At a time when social distancing remains in effect, we understand this may raise concern. So, in order to be open and transparent, mortgage brokers are actively engaging with appraisers and closing agents to ensure no one is conducting inspections or closings who has recently traveled, shows symptoms or has interacted with anyone ill.

A challenge like the coronavirus is unpredictable. That’s an understatement, I know. Every journey will involve varying degrees of denial, fear, confusion and stress. But we mortgage brokers are eager, willing and able to help initiate, process and close loans as quickly and safely as possible.

Jim Gay was a real estate broker for 20 years and has been a consultant to Fortune 500 companies. He is currently a broker/owner at The Mortgage Place Inc., 505-986-9080, and can be reached at jim@tm-place.com.

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