Don't you love it? The commercial that makes the real estate agent look like a super fast talker who is "clipboard" armed and they are walking quickly in an attempt to close two "unknowing" home buyers.

Would a real estate agent speak with two people that have only just met in this way?

Maybe, but they are either new, arrogant, or on their way out of the real estate industry.

I think the commercial comes off as arrogant, to say the least. I have been watching, when up late at night, and even during the day, a lot of "high pressure" antics to get people to borrow money.

Of course, if you are buying a home and need a mortgage, you are going to have to borrow money. That is not a sin.

However, to temp, prod and try to convince people to use a resource that may harm them, is.

I have also been saddened by the commercials targeting Military Veterans with a VA home loan. The commercials are touting that a Military Veteran can take out 100% of their equity in the form of an additional loan.

They can use this money to pay off debt, car loans etc.  The question is if they should? This is not spoken about on the commercials because they want to get those loans so they can get paid.

It's a dangerous thing tapping into your equity, be careful with that and make sure it's necessary before you take action.

There are several things that I want to talk about the reference to the online real estate lenders and mortgage brokers.

Just like in real estate, some are the lead generation type in nature. The make a business of selling your personal and private information to those willing to pay for it.

Just to wrap your mind around "who is willing to pay for it", here are a few.

  • Banks

  • Mortgage Brokers

  • Warehouse Stores

  • Grocery Stores

  • Local media outlets

  • "non-local" media outlets

  • Real Estate agents

  • and more

Most people think when they enter their personal information online, that information if sold, will only go to a person that can help them with what they inquired about.

That is simply not true. The only case in which that scenario would be true would be if you were on a website that was owned and operated by a local Mortgage professional, a local Realtor, or another local real estate service provider.

And even some of those entities have their email's monitored by their powers that be. is my system and I, Connor T. MacIvor, is the only one that is going to see your personal information when you are online within our SCVnest website. FYI.

Moving on and up in the world. One of the things that I speak to my clients about regarding real estate is the fact that using "local" sources is better.

You may think that shopping online is, but when you are hiring someone that is giving you a service, the online channels are nothing like Amazon.

Amazon has a great return policy if they are the supplier. They do a great job replacing or refinding for damaged or unwanted items.

A service provider, a real estate agent or a mortgage lender is an entirely different entity.

There is a lot of knowledge and experience that one needs to have if they are a top producer in either one of those fields.

Furthermore, a real estate agent or a mortgage broker should have a local Brick and Mortar location, not be "in the cloud". The cloud is great for some, but when you are hiring someone that is going to be dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars, my recommendation is to hire someone who has a real office.

Here is reason number one using a story about a couple of our clients that found my real estate website by searching for Santa Clarita real estate.


If you conduct the same Google Search for Santa Clarita Real Estate you will find that during most days our local SCVnest REMAX site is above the fold. Meaning we are at the top of the organic search results and this is not by accident. Google sees us as a top Real Estate authority within the Santa Clarita Valley. It takes a lot of time to stay on top without paying for ad space, but I digress.

When we met they had hooked up with one of those real estate lenders who they heard about during a commercial while watching CNN. They called and gave up their personal and private information. The "lender" on the other end of the phone was all "rainbows and sunshine". They were approved and the lender on the phone sent them a pre-approval letter.

I gave the pre-approval letter a once over and asked what amount were they pre-approved for. They did not know. They looked at me blankly. I explained that you may think that you are approved for $750,000.00 and I believe you. However, if we see a home that you want to buy, the home seller is going to want to see your approval amount in writing.

I inquired as to what the 'phone' lender asked you and what documents they had sent. More blank looks. I explained that they don't need to feel embarrassed, they had no way of knowing what it takes for an actual pre-approval letter by a reputable real estate mortgage lender.

It was about 2 pm and we were all in my local Santa Clarita real estate office. I picked up the phone and called the number they provided for me so I could speak to the lender in a conference call situation. I wanted them to be present so they could ask questions, etc.

When I called in, it was not the direct number to the lender. While we were working our way through the "press 1 for...  and press 2 for" prompts, I talked a little bit about what is required with a "real approval" from a reputable lender.

They need documents. I explained I believe them, I really do, but the sellers won't take anyone's word for what they are qualified for. Even with a blank, boilerplate type approval letter. Especially when that letter is missing the required information.

Home Sellers of today are savvy, I explained. They want to get more than a piece of paper stating that you are approved. They want some type of glimpse of proof as to what the lender did to get you approved. Maybe a mention of FICO scores, Verification of Employment, or something pertaining to checking of assets, debts, and income. Those are all good items to include with a typical "really verified" pre-approval letter.

As we were still waiting on hold to speak with someone, I observed the husband look at his wife and the excitement seemed to leave his countenance.

I said, all will be okay, this will work out. From what you told me you are good to go. We just need to get additional verification. I commented that is what I'm here for.

Finally, Deborah answered the phone and wanted to get my name and email address. I explained that I wasn't calling for a home loan, I had clients in my office with an approval letter from her company and I had some questions to ask the lender.

She asked for the names of my clients, I gave it and then she told me to hold on. A few minutes later, I was picked up by a voice mail. I called back again and the same issue happened.

Point made. I said, here is the deal. We may need your lender to be available after hours. We may need your lender to be available on weekends. Your lender may need to be held accountable by us and the other side of the real estate transaction if you want your offer to be accepted.

This lender is apparently not available. Even the second time, I explained, when you heard me ask for any live human being to speak with, they still transferred me to a voice mail.

That is not in your best interest.

I don't care which lender you work with, I only care if that lender is going to serve your needs in the best way. Your lender needs to be able to be available. There could be some point, and this happens very often, I show you the right home, there are multiple interested parties and the home is going to require an approval letter matching the offering price. This is important because you don't want the seller seeing how much you "actually" qualify for on the high end. This is real estate 101.

Maybe the FED just met and interest rates increased .25% or a quarter of a point. You will need to talk with your lender to see how that will impact you.

It could be the case that the home is just over what you qualified for. But you have been looking for a long time and you really want it. You have an aunt that is willing to loan you some money, you need to know how that would work and if that is possible. If the lender is not available, another home will be missed.

Here is what I look for in a real estate lender or mortgage broker when I'm referring one to my clients.

Accountability - I want a Santa Clarita real estate lender that picks up the phone. Even if their picking up the phone means they are going to get bad news.

Respect - I want a Santa Clarita mortgage lender who does not belittle, has no ego and explains the process without being arrogant.

Communication - I want a Santa Clarita lender that is going to be the sole point of contact. Or has a team that can access a database so anyone can answer the incoming question.

Local - This piggybacks with accountability. It's nice to have a "real live location" that you can to look and interview the real estate lender eye to eye. Mano e Mano, being in front of someone is much different than telephonically dealing with them.

Number 1 - Treating the client as if they are their only client - that is really special and hard to find. The best Santa Clarita lenders only handle as much business as they are able when they want to score an "A" when being reviewed.

From the Hip - Saying it like it is, that is really important. Don't beat around the bush, don't sugar coat anything. People can handle the truth, just get it out there so it can be dealt with.

False promises - Say what you mean. Don't give hope when none exists. If a mistake is made, own it, apologize and move on.

I was able to contact a local lender, our best Santa Clarita real estate Lender, Mike Meena. Now, mind you this call is taking place on a Saturday at 2 pm. He picked up his cell phone immediately.

Hi, this is Mike, he said. I then verbally wondered why he did not have me programmed in his cell phone, he said it was a new cell phone - good save I thought.

I explained that I had a couple in my office that I had met via an online inquiry related to wanting to buy a Santa Clarita home. I also told him that they were pre-approved without turning over a single document by one of those TV commercial lenders.

He got to the point and started asking questions, my clients came prepared and were able to hand me the financial documents so I scanned them and sent them to Mike.

He was not in his office but was able to review the documents and within 30 minutes, we had a real pre-approval letter and the clients were elated.

That is not only the best in customer service, but that is also a good real estate lender.

Of course, there is some additional number verification that my clients did not have with them. But I have never had Mike say someone was approved and have that change later on. He is a man of his word and I'm glad he's an integral part of our real estate team.

My clients felt at ease. That "glow" that my home buyers first had when I met them at my office returned. They were now chatty again and wanted to know our next step. I said, not to worry. I have selected some homes that we are able to view today and if you see something you love - you are now prepared to take it to the next step and have me submit an offer.

Today, you may not know this, but offers are not just a simple contract. Due to the last fall of the real estate cycle, offers have to include other items.

Proof of Funds - showing that the funds for the deposit and necessary down payment exists in real dollars within some sort of an accessible account in the home buyers name - or person's account gifting the money.

FICO Scores - this is one that the real estate lender will give us to accompany the offer. Most GREAT and reputable mortgage brokers pull this intel and have it included as part of the "pre-approval" letter.

The offer - this one should be clearly written, only the BEST and most knowledgeable Santa Clarita real estate agents can write super clean offers to keep the best interest of their clients as their number one priority.

The Pre-approval letter - as we spoke about - there are different types of pre-approval letters. The strongest and most impressive is an underwriter approval letter. Put simply, this type of approval letter is one where the "money source" said YESSSS to loaning these buyers the money for sure!

Reputation is critical in real estate. Some real estate agent has a better local reputation than others. That just makes simple sense. Some agents want to be worked with by other real estate agents due to their stellar performance during the real estate transaction. They fight for their clients, they fight fairly and they are on top of the timeframes keeping everything on the up and up.

I love buying things. I love it when I'm dealing with a professional who knows their craft. Who has my best interest at heart. One that speaks the truth and talks to me like an equal.

I'm Connor MacIvor and I'm happy to make the introduction to Mike Meena, the Top Santa Clarita real estate lender.

Connor - Introduce me to Mike Meena