Closing time: I’m going home

Last month I discussed being Under Contract: Committing to the Millennial Market. The month before, I explored How I Met My Lender. Based on my experience applying for a mortgage and going under contract, I explored lessons for credit unions in regards to marketing mortgages to millennials. As a millennial myself, I offered perspective on how you can refine your efforts in areas such as advertising, technology, follow-up, and education. This month, I wrap up the series with my closing experience, bringing you the single most important lesson which helped me get through the mortgage process with confidence.

Everything came together leading up to closing. Maintaining a high level of communication throughout the process – especially near the end – is essential to keep the process on schedule and keep your borrower informed. Just as in How I Met My Lender and Under Contract, proactive communication is a recurring theme.And, as I mentioned in the previous two articles, millennial borrowers, in particular, require complete transparency throughout the process. My credit union was in contact via email just about daily in the weeks leading up to the closing; this was crucial to keep me reassured. In my case, there were a couple of documents they needed in order to close the file, over which I had no control — the new roof inspection report, for example. The credit union kept me up-to-date on the latest information, which was essential to keep me calm and keep the process on track. But communications didn’t end there. While my loan officer was unable to make it to closing, he did take the time to walk through the documents page-by-page via phone before I closed. These communications leading to closing kept me reassured despite the stress of making what had been up to this point the single largest purchase of my life.

The closing process was well underway when I arrived at the title company. They did their part and the entire event was quite painless overall. After signing an encyclopedia’s worth of paper, closing was done! The keys were mine, and the house was mine. Finally, all of the efforts of the past weeks came together – all of the documents I sent in, all of the credit pulls and personal information and statements, and all of it was worth it. Ongoing communication by my credit union enabled me to close with confidence – creating a positive experience overall. Clear explanations, transparency, and proactivity meant a great closing transaction.

After closing, the credit union kept in touch. For one thing, they were servicing the loan in the interim before its sale to a private investor. I received a personalized letter from someone in the servicing department. It included a self-addressed, stamped envelope for me to send my payment in, and again thanked me for my business. This was a nice, personal touch. And finally, after the loan sold about a month later, I received a final thank you card from the credit union, which included a gift card to a home improvement store. These seemingly minor gestures cemented my relationship; by demonstrating that they really cared about my experience, they have now gained a new member for life. Although it requires multiple touches throughout the process, paying close attention to these details improves your customer service overall, as well as maximizing opportunity when it comes to serving millennials. Just as advertising is extremely important to initially attract millennial borrowers, your communications after the loan closes require care and attention to keep them coming back.

From application, to processing and underwriting, to closing, the process was a long one. My credit union was a big help. There were times where I wanted to quit because I was so overwhelmed. There were times where I wondered if there had to be an easier way. While I don’t have an answer to that last question, I do know that my credit union is right on track to ease new borrower through this process. Now, I feel confident in having the knowledge I need to buy another home in the future. Most of all, I’m now a homeowner.

Michelle Oliphant

Michelle Oliphant

Michelle Oliphant is a member of the marketing department at Accenture Mortgage Cadence, a position she has held since 2012. She focuses primarily on product marketing, helping to shape the ... Web: Details

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