When you consider a mortgage on a home costing $329,900, whether the interest rate is a quarter percent either way is a big deal.But in Northern Maine when the mortgage you are shopping for is $32,900, whether the rate is a quarter percent higher or lower is not as critical as a banker thinks. For Houlton Maine financial options, there are six primary banks and a credit union on the local level. And at local Rotary meetings or about town, when you run in to a banker, they seem excited if the rate is an eighth of a percent lower than another bank. I explain that that slight difference alone does not cause a home mortgage borrower exodus from other bank lobbies to the fellow or lady with the "my rates lower than your banks" chant.
The closing costs charged, the turn around time, heck even the appraisers used to get the loan can all factor in to which banks get a larger share of the local lending pie. Service, turn around, what the folks in a small town hear on the street. People talk at the local diners, sitting on bleachers between sporting event periods, when they run in to each other at Walmart, local hardware stores and even after church eating fruit cake and slurping a coffee. Comparing notes. If a bank has an appraiser in their stable that habitually comes up with a list of 35 items to fix, 4 areas to hire an expert to check this, this and this whether the inspections are needed or not, that bank suffers. Real estate brokers, buyers avoid the bank and happy borrowers sing the praises of other places with a vault, teller line, drive thru window and a local presence. Does the manager of the bank meet with people at their home? On a Saturday morning, during the evening if the couple have a quivver full of kids? And getting in to the lobby with that passle of kids spaced nine months twenty minutes apart, and work all make both of the parents in the same room a rare thing?
So bankers, lenders, mortgage brokers, it is way way more just the fraction of a bank interest rate that seperates you from the competition in rural low cost real estate America.
The bank to bank differences are usually pretty subtle anyway. And in a comparison, it often is razor thin the factors separating the interest rates of various products. Free orange hunting cap or a choice of four camping gifts if you tell a friend about your bank, and they open up an account. Local bank servicing, fixed rates, and spelling out the financing options without a slew of intials that sound like Klingon. The talk rapid fire like an auctioneer that makes them feel way way over their heads, worried, scared about the biggest purchase they will ever make in their life time.
Getting the real estate loanclosed quickly, with less hub bub or real estate drama. Keeping the borrower, broker, attorney in the loop on what is causing a log jam helps everyone know what issue needs attention before the deal seizes, wheezes. That is why the closer the processing center is to the local bank we deal with, the better the communication, the turn around so you can get on to other deals you are working on. A successful real estate broker does not sell one property at a time...he/she juggles several but has the ability to make each buyer, seller feel well cared for, attended to like a waitress that just senses you need a refill as you do, and delivers it with a smile. The old axiom 80 percent of your business is handled by 20 percent of your professionals. Are you a Spartan REALTOR that buyers, sellers love for hustle, service, knowledge but that your competition would just as soon not have in the local market? Not sending you a Christmas card because you market share year after year is way larger than theirs? Or are you a Mister Rogers everyone loves you like Raymond but maybe because you are not a force to be reckoned with. Producing a real estate trickle..a few co-brokes, enough sales to get by but not stepping on anyone's real estate toes?
And what happens to our real estate prices as markets cool or heat up in small town rural Maine, like Aroostook County? Marketing time extends, but you don't see giant knee jerk price reductions when the price tag already says $44,900, $69,500 or in between for a quality home. Or hundreds of acres for a few hundred dollars per acre. That's the way we roll in Northern Maine.