When The Burkhardt Group was conceived there were some initial ideas of how we would work and what we would offer. Most of these ideas came directly from my experience with clients or from reading the Streeteasy boards. One prominent and recurring bit of advice was 'never take a referral from your agent/broker'. And for the first year or two I did not offer clients any sort of referral for vendors.
That all changed as clients continued to bring poor performing service providers to the table, especially bankers and attorneys. These happen to be the two most important people in the transaction post contract being signed. Many 'bankers' or mortgage people are nothing more than sales people and application takers. You need a banker that understands the entire process and most importantly understands the underwriting process (that is where the fun starts!)
One of the first tells that a banker may be a mediocre performer is when he/she starts asking me for information about the building straight out of the gate! It's sort of like me asking the banker to to run a comps report. Any banker worth their salt knows that questions on the co-op or condo need to be directed to the managing agent. When the first time I hear from them is to ask me to get information from the managing agent; I know we are in trouble :) One consistently great banker is David Axelrod at BofA. I never hear from this guy until we get an email that they have the commitment letter. Then the next time is to tell me we are clear to close.
I know a lot of you out there thinks brokers stink or don't really work. And although this is not rocket science, I can tell you I am usually working until I go to bed. There are a lot of moving pieces in a co-op/condo deal, especially when you have 15 deals in contract and about 40 active buyers to manage. The last thing I want to do is the bankers job! If you don't know to call the managing agent to ask for the budget or a copy of the master insurance policy, you are either lazy or clueless or both! Lol.
So please make sure that you get a referral for your bankers from someone (you trust) that has used them before and had an excellent experience. Never just call your bank and tell them you are looking for a mortgage banker (even if you have private banking). I have a handful of bankers and we have worked with a few for many years and completed deals with all of them. One added perk using our referrals; they will go the extra mile for you to make sure that I am happy. They want our referrals and of course we accept nothing from any vendor we refer.
I'll write about the importance of lawyers and what to look out for in another post.