Every week, we ask an Atlanta real estate professional for their thoughts on the top trends in Atlanta real estate.
This week, we talked with Brent Blythe, a mortgage banker with BankSouth Mortgage in Atlanta. A 12-year veteran of the residential mortgage industry, Brent is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist and Certified Builder Representative. He is a member of the Atlanta Homebuilders Association’s sales and marketing council, the Mortgage Bankers Association of Georgia and the National Mortgage Bankers Association.
Atlanta Agent (AA): We all know the mortgage process is due for changes in October; what is the biggest change agents should be aware of?
Brent Blythe (BB): The biggest changes that are coming forward involve the timing of the process. Contract disclosures need to be delivered within a certain timeline, and specifically, the new closing disclosure has to be received by the borrower at least three business days before the closing.
In other cases, the lender will be preparing that disclosure, and that is a change. In the past, the attorneys used to prepare the closing disclosure, but the lender now oversees is, and that will create much more pressure on having all other aspects of the transaction completed ahead of time.
But honestly, I am not particularly concerned about the new disclosure requirements, because we’re ready for them. That said, last-minute changes to contracts or the closing costs could now create delays, as any change requires re-disclosing and resetting that three-day waiting period. We’re advising agents to add a little more time to their contract-writing period – that means instead of closing on a 30-day cycle, agents should plan instead on a 45-day cycle.
AA: How would you recommend agents work with their clients, so they are prepared for the mortgage process?
BB: We really want agents to educate their clients, especially first-time homebuyers, about the process. That means that agents must understand the process themselves through continuing education classes and the CFPB website. We recommend that agents familiarize themselves with all those details.
In terms of what share of agents are prepared, it varies. Many agents have been very receptive to our Continuing Education classes and those sponsored by their brokers, and we thank them for their efforts. We recognize that the market is very busy and some may still be struggling to attend a class. For them I recommend that they familiarize themselves with the new regulations and take advantage of the tools we provide on our website specifically for real estate professionals, and those provided by the CFPB on its website. By setting proper expectations with our mutual clients, we can insure a smooth closing for all parties.
AA: Finally, are there any changes you think mortgage brokers can make, so that homebuyers better understand how lending works?
BB: It all goes back to education. If the buyer has an agent who pushes them to get pre-qualified, we give them a list of documents they will need to provide early in the loan process. I send out a formalized checklist that will apply to almost all loans, and if there are any specific requirements for a certain loan, I’ll provide a checklist for those, as well.
We want our borrowers to know what to expect. There is nothing worse than being three-quarters of the way down the road and then learning that you need to provide something that you do not have immediate access to.