About 2 months ago, I started to receive letters about refinancing my adjustable loan. Apparently, I live in Refi-Hell and every lender in the country is attempting to get my business. In total, I received over 40 solicitations. Some lenders were straight forward, others weren’t. Some were just pathetic. Note, I’m not trying to bash lenders, just some of the bad and deceptive practices that some lenders (as well as real estate agents) use.
Interesting side-note, a size-able portion of the solicitations came from lenders out of the San Diego area. Maybe I should contact Jeff Brown of Bawldguy Talking Blog fame or Kris Berg of San Diego Home Blog fame to get the scoop on why San Diego lenders are soliciting loans in Northern California.
Some solicitations came in standard business envelopes with no return address. Big red flag! These must be junk mail. Remember, I’m a Realtor. Earlier in my real estate career, I got a PHD in junk mail solicitation. I probably threw away a dozen or so of these. Others came in envelopes with over-sized print indicating the contents were “confidential” and were not to be opened by anyone except the addressee. Very important! Still others came in non business sized envelopes and were hand written. Personalized, but misleading. I thought they were Christmas cards from friends and family. I wasn’t too happy when I opened them up and found a solicitation for a loan. Lastly, there were the notices sent in perforated envelopes with large “Personal and Confidential” and/or “Secured Document” and/or “Final Notice” printed on the outside. I guess the larger the print, the more important the contents. On the cover of one, written in bright red letters, was “Warning: $2,000 fine, 5 years imprisonment, or both for any person interfering or obstructing with delivery of this letter U.S. mail…”
Oh by the way, I really hate perforated letters. They take too much time to open because you can’t just tear it open, you must bend each side at the perforation and then tear along the crease. Half the time it doesn’t work and I end up tearing the contents. I digress.
A good portion of these solicitations gave the appearance they were my current mortgage holder and if I just authorize them, they would restructure my loan. Deceptive, straight to the trash. I prefered the straight forward approach like “This is to inform you that your loan will be adjusting as of January 1, 2008” or “This letter is to inform you that your mortgage loan terms are adjusting next month.”
Some lenders appeared nicer than others. “After reviewing your loan information, we are providing you with this courtesy notice…” “We are cordially informing you…” Courtesy and cordial are such nice words. They must want to be my friends!
One letter took a more serious tone. “A recent audit of your loan…” I did not know I was being audited. Note to self, talk to accountant.
Most requested that I call a convenient 800 phone number and ask to speak with an Adjustable Rate Mortgage Specialist or Loan Review Department or Loan Servicing Department, and a few actually included a name of a real live person. FYI, I like speaking to a live people.
When I examined all the solicitations, the one I decided to work with recently wrote me a nice follow up letter. Let me read the first few sentences; Congratulations, your real estate loan has been paid in full. It has been our pleasure to service your financial needs. Please retain this letter for your records. This is one letter I’ll keep!
For future reference. If you want my business, don’t play games. I don’t have time for them. Let me do the analysis I want. Lastly, by giving me information that is relevant and timely, you will earn my business.