Sunday, January 19, 2020

This past week, I had the great privilege of being in Israel with my wife and our 12-year-old daughter, to celebrate her bat mitzvah. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude we felt to be able to spend quality time with her in Israel at this momentous stage in her life. We enjoyed everything: from touring, to sightseeing, to visiting friends, to exploring, to shopping, to all of the other spiritual moments in between. Undoubtedly, this will be something that she will remember and cherish forever, and so will we.

When we got to Israel, we gathered our belongings and stepped out of the airport doorways to be barraged by countless cab drivers offering to drive us wherever we needed. There was one young person who stood out from the crowd, as he barely looked of legal driving age, and was doing a terrible job at trying to vie for our attention and fare. In fact, when we turned down his proposal, he came back moments later and said, “To be honest, your best option is to take the new rail that goes directly to Jerusalem. The next train is in 10 minutes. It’s right down the steps to your right. You have plenty of time.” We certainly couldn’t beat the nominal fee, and we were up for a new experience that would begin our amazing trip. I have to say, the train ride was smooth, quick and extremely enjoyable.

That seamless experience set the tone for the rest of the trip, where we often opted to take public transportation when possible. Friends told us about the go-to “apps” to get, and we were on our way, literally. It was a suitable alternative to have to constantly negotiate with unscrupulous drivers on fares, routes and milking the meter to squeeze out a few more dollars. I have to say, the apps, maps and access to information made the entire navigation process very hassle-free. It wasn’t until the last “trip,” when we were leaving to the airport, that the entire experience was spoiled.

All the apps and online info showed that the train heading directly to the airport was available well within the timeline we needed to get to the airport for our departure. We took a cab to the train station, but the cab driver kept insisting that the schedule was unpredictable and would not work for us. We got there, and the station was closed. Reluctantly, we were forced to continue with this driver, and the “meter was running” at his whim until we got to the airport. Needless to say, had the information been accurately represented, we would have chosen alternative methods, so as not to get the raw end of an expensive ride.

Similarly, I can give many real-time examples of how delays and last-minute changes have caused hardship for some home buyers when it comes to mortgage financing. One of my clients recently called me while in Israel, to tell me that in the end, he wants to increase his loan amount by an additional $30,000—after his loan was already approved, locked and ready to close. Another client decided to get a last-minute distribution from a family trust to use towards the balance of the down-payment at closing. Last week, two days before closing, we were alerted that our client had a recent late payment on a mortgage pop up on their credit report. The stories go on and on. Thankfully, we seamlessly adapted to each scenario without issue.

In all these instances, I can say with certainty that it is these last-minute changes or unforeseen circumstances that cause clients to get hit with additional fees and higher rates and have no alternative routes that they can take. An entire pleasant experience can be “derailed” at the last moment with really no one to blame. However, with the guidance of an experienced guide and advisor, and working with a local direct lender, many of these surprise eleventh-hour changes can be avoided or minimized to save time, money and frustration.

A very special shout out and mazal tov to my daughter Devorah on her bat mitzvah!

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 as 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]