Photo by Evelyn Paris on Unsplash

The Hidden Challenge of Millennial Homeownership

After working really hard & trying to get paid, I managed to scrape up enough for a down payment on a condo. There was one that was perfect for me, and in my price range! Honestly, there was ONE in my city of 1.26 million people that hit all but 2 of my “wants/needs”. I made an offer, my offer was accepted, everything went well except the big part where the bank does their thing for the mortgage.

In a world where we younger people are living more & more of our lives online, and less & less of our time is spent going to physical places, we have a lot of options to do our adulting virtually.

I am what they call an older millennial, or Xennial, or on the cusp or something. Having the option to do things online is great to me! I’m old enough to appreciate the novelty, and young enough to love the convenience of getting things done without going anywhere. Prime demographic right here!

The first place I checked for a mortgage was with the bank I use for almost everything. I’ll just call it *online bank* so that they don’t sue me. My pre-approval was fast & easy, and I got a great rate too! When my offer was accepted, they explained to me how this was going to go forward & it was so helpful. They’re experienced in newbies like myself.

But then it happened. Or didn’t happen.

Well, I guess what really happened is that I learned the value of adulting in a building, face to face with the people who are in charge of important things like my mortgage.

The letter below is what I just sent to the Client Care department of my formerly beloved bank…

Hello,

I’ve been a client with *online bank* for nearly 5 years with no complaints. *online bank* is a bank that I have recommended to many people, and I’ve been able to take greater control of my finances because of the invaluable services you offer.

Currently, I’m at the milestone of being able to make a down payment on a home of my own.

I’m sure you know, this is a big deal for me!
I looked forward to “keeping it in the family” so to speak, and didn’t even consider going to another mortgage provider. I felt that *online bank* would be my best bet, considering how enjoyable you’ve made my day to day banking.

My pre-approval came through lightning fast, and I found a condo that I absolutely loved in my price range!

As instructed, I contacted *online bank* to get the ball rolling the same day my offer was accepted.

At first this went smoothly. The representative who took my call gathered my information, including the date that conditions must be met (2 weeks from that day), advised me what I need to have ready for the Mortgage Sales rep, and gave me her phone number and email. He told me I would hear from her soon.

The next day I found out about some previously undisclosed information that would affect the mortgage loan insurance, and emailed to inform her. She called me a few days later to request a form related to that information, which I sent within 10 minutes of request.

That was the last I heard from her for another week. With such a lack of communication, I phoned & emailed her several times trying to find out if we were still on track to have this completed in time. I still have not even been asked to send her the documents that she needs. Many of these documents have very confidential personal information, so I am hesitant to send it until it is requested. At the same time, I was worried that I was holding up the process by NOT sending it.

However, I did ask her via different forms of communication with no response, so I had little choice but to worry about it in the meantime.

One week after I first called with my approved offer, I received an email from a different *online bank* associate asking me to please call them in regards to my mortgage application. After 28 minutes on hold, the representative asked me “So where are you at with your mortgage application? Have you found a place yet?”

This caused me to immediately panic, as I was under the impression that I was at the point where *online bank* was looking after it. The rep on the phone was unable to contact my Mortgage Sales rep to find out what was happening. I emailed her again to confirm whether I needed to do anything to help this move along, with no response.

Eventually it was 4 days before the conditions of sale needed to be met, I was still unable to contact my Mortgage Sales rep, and both my realtor and I were absolutely freaking out. I called the *online bank* mortgage department, and the rep who took my call was able to get in touch with her. She told him that she would call me back.

Later that night I did receive a call, but all she had to tell me is that the underwriters were working on it & that she would update the next day.

She didn’t update the next day.

She did call me back the day before conditions needed to be met, with no news. It was still with the underwriters. I reinforced that we have about 24 hours to finish the entire process, and that was when she seemed to start to realize the urgency. I truly wonder if she had even started the paperwork in the 2 weeks she had to deal with it.

This is EXTREMELY last minute to be pushing this through. I’ve lost sleep for 2 weeks wondering if things were even in process, with little to no communication from *online bank*.

I’ve spent close to $500 on condo document review without knowing if the mortgage would be approved or not, because time was running out. Time has been wasted trying to get some basic communication from my Mortgage Sales rep, and to be honest I felt like she wasn’t taking this seriously the whole time. There was no sense of urgency shown whatsoever. If there was a problem going on, I would have liked to be informed of that, rather than wondering if anything was even happening or if the application was lost or fell between the cracks at some point.

Even if there is no news to report, it does more harm than good to not respond. An email simply saying “I’ll let you know when to send the documents, things are moving along, don’t worry this is still on my radar” would have done a world of good to help me feel confident that *online bank* was the right company to look after my mortgage.

At this point, I have less than 24 hours to get my financing together, I can not get an extension from the seller for the removal of conditions, and I can’t get a hold of my mortgage sales person.

Frankly, I feel that *online bank* has blown the opportunity of owning a home for me at a time when there is so little in my price range. I have worked so hard to get to this point & *online bank* has fucked it up.

I will not recommend *online bank* to anyone again. This has been an awful experience.

The next day (AKA Closing Day) I got the good news that my mortgage rep’s boss had been able to rush through my paperwork, and I feel incredibly lucky to be writing this from the very same condo I thought I was about to lose.
Their excuse? The mortgage rep had been in training all week. As if that makes me feel better…

I guess the moral of this story is….. Millennials, take it from me…. There is value in the face-to-face process. It’s inconvenient to go to someone’s office, that’s never close to your home or work, and involves begging your boss to let you go during working hours… But it’s worth it.

If I could have gone & sat in this person’s waiting room, staring into their office, calling their receptionist looking for answers, this would have been done last week.
Or it wouldn’t but at least I would have someone to yell at in person.

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