Who You Work With Makes All the Difference

Who You Work With Makes All the Difference

Buying a home is a journey of a thousand steps. So it is imperative to step forward with your best foot first.

Before we even show a house, The Caton Team likes to sit down and meet our buyers face to face. You know talk to one another – no email between us. We like to get to know our clients, what they need and want in their home and match them up with lenders they will mesh well with. Which brings me to my blog topic – the lender you work with – makes all the difference.

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials – for online lenders offering low low LOW interest rates and often no closing costs. Word to the wise – you get what your pay for

Unless you’re one of the many cash buyers out there these days – if you’re in the market to buy a home – you will need a lender. Banks are very competitive with interest rates as long as the candidate has good credit, a solid down payment and income/assets. But it’s whom you work with that makes all the difference.

I’ve been forced to work with the “as seen on TV” lenders – and sure it sounds like a good deal – low interest rate and no closing costs – until you actually have to work with them. My experience, there is NO customer service with these types of lenders. And customer service is critical when you’re trying to put a real estate deal together.

Around here, the San Francisco Bay Area – we are seeing very competitive offers – often with NO contingencies becoming the norm. The only way a buyer can perform such amazing feats is having a hard working team (their Realtor and their lender) working behind them.

These TV lenders often are not local – and often cannot move as quickly as a local lender who can. Time is of the essence in Real Estate. In fact, in the California Purchase Contract it is even clause #29. Time is serious business. Buyers have time frames to complete actions – sellers are counting the days to close escrow – it all ties in together. So whom you work with makes all the difference.

Allow me to tie this into my most recent purchase with a friend turned client. Brandon is a Veteran and the VA loan offered an amazing opportunity for him to buy a home with no down payment and NO private mortgage insurance. This saved him big bucks for her first California Home purchase. At first, I was having a hard time finding a lender who did VA loans. They are known to be cumbersome and time consuming and in our current market, time is critical and often sellers will choose a faster moving loan than the VA. (It’s sad really and with Brandon and our experience, we are trying to get legislation passed to improve the VA loan experience.)

I digress. I found my Wells Fargo rep – Bill Griffis – up for the challenge. So we took our first step together and got Brandon approved for his home loan. Then the condo hunt began. Much like the FHA Home Loan, the VA loan only lends to Condo Complexes that fit their criteria for a safe investment. In other words, the complex must be VA approved. It is a wise move on the VA’s part – however not many complexes around here try to get VA/FHA approved. So it falls on the Realtors to find complexes that may fit (we use the FHA approved condos as a guideline) and then find a seller willing to wait.

In Brandon’s experience, the stars aligned and we found a seller who was willing to wait it out. (Brandon wrote one hell of a letter to the seller – you can read more about what it takes to write a good offer on my last blog installment here: http://wp.me/p1GGbd-i0) So with their hearts warmed to the thought of helping a VA, and with a great lender on our team – The Caton Team presented Brandon’s offer and got it accepted. Now the real work begins.

It took the VA several months to approve the complex. We even got the office of Jackie Speier involved to help move this along (thus the plea for legislation to pass to make this easier for Veterans).

To make a long story short, there was a week we had to cancel the deal since no end was in sight and the sellers had waited their allotted loan contingency time frame with no concrete answer. So we had to do what we had to do – we had to cancel the deal. It was a heart-breaking week but thankfully it was only a week. The VA kept plugging along and a week after we had to walk away – we got Condo approval. So back in the offer seat – Brandon wrote a new offer (since by then another offer was in hand) and with some negotiations he got his place back into contract. I’m telling you the buyer letter to the seller really made all the difference here – the sellers were willing to give us another shot.

I could go on and on and the trials and tribulations we all endured trying to get this deal done. Thankfully in the end, hard work, determination and fantastic customer service allowed me to hand the keys to my friend – and that is what makes being a Realtor awesome.

So in closing, who you work with makes all the difference. Working with a lender who picks up the phone nights and weekends and goes the extra mile will make your journey towards homeownership much simpler. Working with a Realtor you can talk too, you can trust makes singing on the dotted line that much easier.

Sure you can save a buck or two working with discount lenders or Realtors – but truthfully you get what you pay for. Not all Realtors and Lenders are created equal.  And in this market – it pays to work with the best.  It makes the difference between chasing your real estate dreams and making them.

When we add a Lender to our team – we want them to be professional, knowledgeable, experienced, kind, patient and hard working. Real Estate is NOT a 9-5 job. And often, when in negotiations we Realtors will need answers for our clients so we can write the best offer with the best terms. Having a lender who takes time for us is critical. Not everyone makes the Team. But those who do – are awesome. If you are in need of a fantastic lender – let us know and we’ll connect you with the best.

Looking for a Realtor – we’d love to interview for the job! Please do not hesitate to call or email us your Real Estate questions, concerns and opinions.

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Got Questions? – The Caton Team is here to help.  

Email Sabrina & Susan at: Info@TheCatonTeam.com

Call us at: 650-568-5522

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Please enjoy my personal journey through homeownership at:


Thanks for reading – Sabrina

The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina – A Family of Realtors

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – Drysdale Properties

Sabrina BRE# 01413526 / Susan BRE #01238225 / Team BRE# 70000218/ Office BRE #01499008


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Sabrina Caton - The Caton Team - Realtors

Sabrina & Susan are native Californians - born and raised in the Silicon Valley with a passion for Residential Real Estate. A mother and daughter-in-law duo called - The Caton Team. With over 35 years of combined, local Real Estate experience and knowledge – would’t you like The Caton Team to represent you? Let us know how we can be of service. Contact us any time. Call | Text at: 650-799-4333 | Email Info@TheCatonTeam.com The Caton Team believes, in order to be successful in the San Fransisco | Peninsula | Bay Area | Silicon Valley Real Estate Market we have to think and act differently. We do this by positioning our clients in the strongest light, representing them with the utmost integrity, while strategically maneuvering through negotiations and contracts. Together we make dreams come true. The Peninsula is our backyard - let us help make it yours. We represent Buyer’s and Seller’s throughout the Bay Area. The Caton Team – Susan & Sabrina A Family of Realtors Effective. Efficient. Responsive. What can we do for you?

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