Written By: Theresa Furzland, Op-Ed Writer
I really thought this would be the easiest of these views to write, and as I get down to it I realize that it is actually the hardest. Maybe this is because it is really impossible for me to separate myself from my lifetime in this business. I have been a mortgage professional longer than I’ve been a homeowner.
Maybe it is because I talk to so many home owners and perspective homeowners every day that it is also impossible to separate my own concerns from those of my customers.
But, I’ll see what I can do. From the current or prospective homeowners view, today’s market is scary and full of unknowns. The loan process is much more intense than it was 5 years ago.
The current homeowner is frustrated with many concerns. Declining values are probably one of the biggest issues. To watch the value of your home decrease despite all your hard work is discouraging. And those that purchased with little to no equity in the first place, or refinanced to tap into that equity (as the government encouraged – remember?) are now finding that they are upside down in their value. Add in any employment and/or medical problems and you have disaster to add to the list of concerns. Even those (and maybe especially those) who have kept their mortgages current through every sacrifice, are starting to doubt the value of paying a “big bank” on a loan that the same bank won’t refinance because the collateral doesn’t cover the balance of the loan. Finally we have the issue of loan modification programs, the confusion and revisions that those programs have undergone (and continue to undergo).
And even the customers that are well qualified and have a strong equity position in their homes are feeling that the loan process is a frustration.
As a home seller, I can’t see any good reason to put a house on the market right now unless you have to.
As a buyer things are better, but also scary. Again, the changes and uncertainties of the lending environment are a concern for everyone. Beyond that buyers actually have great opportunities today as long as they educate themselves. It is NOT the easy process it was 5 years ago and shouldn’t be. However the basic rules of home ownership still apply. Educate yourself and buy within your means!! The main concern I see is that rule seemed to disappear during the age of “easy lending” but with the return to tighter lending standards, consumers are re learning quickly.
OK, I know I did a really crappy job of separating the homeowner and mortgage professional part of me. I guess all parts of the equation add up and the bottom line is that no matter what perspective you are looking at this wonderful industry from, there are challenges, frustrations and rewards. There is good news and bad news and the best we can all do is to keep ourselves well informed, aware and accountable for our own part in the process, whether consumer or professional.
About The Author
Theresa Furzland - As an op-ed writer, Theresa Furzland has 25+ years of experience ranging from origination, processing, closing and post closing. She is currently a producing Branch Manager for LendSmart Mortgage, LLC and own and operate Willow Wood Mortgage Services, Inc.