45 Percent of Homebuyers Choose Lender on Agent Recommendation

by Peter Thomas Ricci

The agent/lender relationship is a darned important one, and a new survey highlights just how influential agents are in the creation of that relationship.


The relationship between agent and lender is one of the more integral in real estate, and the latest study from the always interesting folks at Campbell Surveys and Inside Mortgage Finance found that agents wield considerable influence over what lenders their clients ultimately choose to finance their home purchases.

Based on a survey of nearly 2,000 agents, the Campbell Surveys/Inside Mortgage Finance’s found that real estate agents either control or influence 45 percent of homebuyer decisions on lender choice.

Would You Recommend Your Lender?

Though that may seem like a high number, it’s not an entirely surprising one, given A) how closely lenders interact with agents and their clients through the homebuying process, and B) how many factors that relationship encompasses; indeed, respondents told Campbell Surveys/Inside Mortgage Finance that closing times, reliability and costs were the most significant factors that determined whether or not they recommended the lender to their clients.

Tom Plant, a broker associate with Greenwood King Properties in Houston, said that in addition to the typical requirements (competitive rates and terms), he considers a number of characteristics when choosing what lenders to work with in his transactions.

“Lenders who make my list must be highly ethical, provide very personal service and perform on time,” Plant said. “They must personally attend the closing to be available to solve any last minute issues. If a closing were ever to be delayed a day or longer due to underwriting or document preparation, it would be the last loan they made for my clients.”

Campbell Surveys/Inside Mortgage Finance Findings

Of course, the Campbell Surveys/Inside Mortgage Finance study found many other interesting details regarding the lender/agent relationship, including: Nearly two-thirds of the sampled agents want mortgages to close in 30 days or less, but on average, closings take longer than 30 days; as a result, irregular closing timelines, then, were cited by agents as a major problem, along with appraisal issues and changes in underwriting policies.

Thomas Popik, the research director for Campbell Surveys, said the study highlights that underwriting  – not just appraisals – can compromise transactions.

“Lenders like to blame appraisers for delays, but our survey results tell us that underwriters often cause delays, particularly when underwriters do piecemeal and last-minute requests for borrower documentation,” he said.

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