Added Broker Competition
I met with Beth on Friday afternoon and was... hmmm... less than impressed. I'm not sure what it was. I guess I felt like she was selling me too hard on using her services. Like, an impersonal sale, rather than a genuine concern for what's best for me. She was nice, though, and she did have lower closing costs than Ann did. I put in a call to Ann (and left a message) to see how negotiable some of those things are.
I was strongly leaning towards Ann for my mortgage broker until the people from MortgageDesignGroup.com called Friday evening. I first talked to Nicole, who, it seems, just gathers information so they can get a feel for what you're looking to do. Then, a few minutes later, Ben (the underwriter) called.
MortgageDesignGroup.com is an interesting beast. They're apparently both a bank and a mortgage broker. What they do is they fund you through their own bank, then they show your loan for 10 business days to 275 other banks. If they can get you a better rate elsewhere (and, according to Ben, they do about 20% of the time), then you get the better rate. Not bad, eh? Plus, being their own bank, the speed with which they can process things seems much better. Ben said they were on track to close things in 7 days in some cases. I think that's pretty fast (though, admittedly, I don't have anything to compare to).
After talking to Ben, I find that I'm pretty comfortable with him and with Ann. So I guess now it's down to who can get me the best rates and the lowest fees. I feel good about Ann; she's spent a lot of time with me and I sort of feel personally involved in that relationship. That said, Ben offered some pretty good benefits and, after all, we're talking about money here - not being best friends. Friends is good; saving me money is better. If I can have both... well, that's where I'll be.
I'll get the estimates - three separate ones - from Ben on Monday. Then we'll see. In the meantime, I guess I'll wait to hear back from Ann.
I went through all 54 properties that Gregory sent me to look at and, based on feature set and location, narrowed it down to three that I am interested in checking out. Jenn and I will do drive-bys to see what the neighborhoods look like and generally how far out they feel in relation to the MAX and my work. One property in particular is currently standing out to me, but it's about \$13K over my price limit, so if it turns out to be the one I'm going to have to do some haggling. I figured I'd have to do that anyway, but I'm wondering if people will come down that much. Jerry (who sits next to me at the hockey games) says they will, and for some reason I think he's had a lot of experience with stuff like that, so I tend to believe him. I mean, the worst they can say is "no."
That's where it sits. I need to get Ben's estimates so I can make a broker decision (and then send polite break-up emails to the brokers I don't choose) and I need to see what these houses look like that Gregory's sent over. Things are moving a lot faster than I had anticipated; it's looking like we could be finished with this process in a couple of months, tops. I guess I anticipated it being like a three-month project getting all this stuff together and finding the right place and everything... if you get it all going in parallel, though, it moves totally fast.