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Monday, December 17, 2018

The “Three Weeks,” which begins this Shabbos, is the annual mourning period when Jews lament over the destruction of the Holy Temple and the induction into our still-ongoing exile. Our sages tell us that those who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit seeing it rebuilt with the coming of Moshiach - May that day come soon.

These three weeks is also a time where home sellers and home buyers are faced with added pressure with their timelines to close on their transaction to avoid some of the restrictions that are imposed during this period for new homeowners. For anyone who is faced with delays or issues on their mortgage approval or closing, feel free to reach out to me for some tips and guidance on how to navigate the clock at this time of year. (No obligations or strings-attached to the complimentary insight)

This summer in the real estate world, “Three Weeks” is starting to take on a new meaning of its own as well. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average time that a home has been on the market before receiving an “accepted offer” is three weeks. That’s right, by day twenty-one a seller should know if their house is being marketed properly, presented to qualified buyers and getting the traffic it needs to ensure a sale. If you are one of those fortunate sellers or buyers to be able to get the right house, at the right price, and at the right time – congratulations. If you are not in this category it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with your agent and with yourself about your real “exit strategy.” (PS, I have “insider” thoughts and ideas on this topic as well.)

For many homeowners who are trying to sell, and not getting the price or interest that they anticipated, it might also be a great time to reach out to your local lender to explore what options might be available to you if you retain your home. This week alone, I spoke with several people who recently took their homes off the market, and were now considering renovation financing, debt-consolidation financing, and a shorter loan term to lower their overall interest as they all decided to stay put long-term.

Similarly, it should also be noted for those seeking financing, that it should never take more than three weeks to get a formal mortgage approval. Even that is too long. I received a call from a real estate agent who asked me if it was normal for her clients to be waiting for a mortgage approval for over five weeks. I emphatically said, “absolutely not normal.” She agreed, which is why she reached out and wanted to have her clients call me directly. I wish this was one of those stories where I waived my magic wand and got them a full approval in no-time, but it wasn’t. After spending a few days speaking with them and gathering their documentation, I understood why it was taking their broker so long to get the approval. It wasn’t possible. The approval was not going to come at all in this case.

There is a theory out there that “It takes three weeks to form a habit.” I didn’t have the time to do the comprehensive research on the topic, but there was indeed a lot of supporting evidence in favor of this theory. At the same time, many claimed three weeks was suitable for some habits but not all. Regardless, this does tell me that if someone does do what they are supposed to do – they should be able to see some result within three weeks!

Clearly, for buyers and sellers in the housing market today – three weeks should be all it takes. (…Although let’s wait until after these next three weeks to start any new major campaigns.) On a lighter note, l’havdil, “three weeks” is also about the time that parents realize their early summer “break” might be coming to an end for those leaving camp after the first trip! In that regard, I wish all of the kids going off to camp best wishes, and I congratulate the parents who are able to get some well-deserved rest. Enjoy your summer! Special shout out and happy birthday to Annekee Brahver-Keely and Chanania Silber, and Aliza R.!

By Shmuel Shayowitz


Shmuel Shayowitz (NMLS#19871) is President and Chief Lending Officer at Approved Funding, a privately held local mortgage banker and direct lender. Approved Funding is a mortgage company offering competitive interest rates as well specialty niche programs on all types of Residential and Commercial properties. Shmuel has over 20 years of industry experience including licenses and certifications as certified mortgage underwriter, residential review appraiser, licensed real estate agent, and direct FHA specialized underwriter. He can be reached via email at [email protected]