After an appraisal gone-wrong, Morty’s knowledgeable mortgage expertise helped a first-time homebuyer get back on track to homeownership.

Imagine you finally find the one. After scrupulous saving and tedious house hunting, you finally find the home you plan to build your life in. You do everything right: you get pre-approved for your mortgage, you schedule the home appraisal, you’re on your way to becoming a homeowner, and suddenly you experience upending, devastating news that completely derails your plans. 

Not every homebuyer’s experience is a smooth one, so we were happy that Morty was able to rise to the occasion and help this first-time homebuyer get back on track. 

Here, she opens up about how Morty’s digital mortgage process offered the best of both worlds: an efficient, online experience paired with in-depth, knowledgeable expertise. Both were equally essential in helping her redirect her home buying process.

Could you tell us a bit about your home buying journey? Why did you decide to own and how did you find the home you ended up in?

We’d been looking for about 6 months before we landed on the home we ended up buying. We had moved back into the area where we grew up in to be close to family and had had a child, so that’s all pretty common and typical. My husband and I both work remotely and had a lot of flexibility in terms of location. Initially, we had been looking a little bit more outside the Philadelphia area and were actually under contract for a house there. We had used [an online lender] for that particular process, but the deal fell through after the inspection had found really significant termite damage in the home. 

What a nightmare….

[Laughs] Yeah, it was pretty crazy! It seemed fine–the [appraisal] service—and then it turned out that termites had eaten through the main support beam in the basement of the house, so…..not a good choice for first-time homeowners for sure. 

What do you do at that point? How did you improvise or adjust your expectations in order to move forward? 

We kind of went back to the drawing board. We honed in on the fact that what I really wanted was to live in a location that would be really walkable. The location that we’re at right now, it’s like a ten-minute walk to the train station. It’s about a 40-minute commute into Manhattan, there’s a small downtown area, we’re literally like a 5-minute walk from a Whole Foods, and there’s like a whole bunch of, independent restaurants, coffee shops, things like that. At this price point, we traded a little more traditional space in order to have more of that density that we wanted. That was definitely something that we were looking for. 

So some things worked out for the best. You had mentioned that things had fallen through with the original mortgage site you used. Tell us more about that process.

In a very “millennial service” situation, a lot of other brokers were very much, insistent in trying to get me on the phone to try to sell me on their products and services, and I was like, “I travel, I’m busy with meetings during the day. Can we just do email? Or can we just do it all online, and I’ll get to it whenever I have a few moments to spare?”

So we started with [the other lender] and I was just not super impressed with their customer service throughout the process. When we ran into the issue with the termites and I was trying to go back and forth with them on that, it was difficult to get to someone who would speak knowledgeably on how that might affect things—they had already done the appraisal and the appraisal came back fine. 

You were pretty far into the process, having the appraisal completed. 

Everything just sort of fell through at that point. 

That can be pretty devastating to have found the house only to have to start over from square one. How did you cope with that? 

It was sort of a similar situation in terms of finding the house. I was going to stick with [the other lender] through that process again, but they have a blanket policy against issuing mortgages for homes that are bank-owned. I felt like their customer service isn’t really well built up yet. I called them up and was like, “look, yes, it was a foreclosure, but I’m pretty sure this will appraise for the price that we’re talking about. Even though it’s officially bank-owned, it’s in good condition, it’s livable. And they just had no flexibility around that. 

And it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to lose another house. How did you come to use Morty? 

The most important thing to me was to just be able to do all the documents–securely uploading–all online. You know, not to have to like, fax documents to anyone—because, I was just not going to put up with that. So, in one of these slack channels within the tech community, someone had said, “Hey, if you’re a first-time homebuyer, I just heard about Morty—maybe you should check it out.” So, that’s when I went through the process and that’s when I was evaluating your rates compared against a few other brokers that at least had online file systems that I could do that for. 

What was it like being a first-time homebuyer for you and experiencing this struggle?

This might be a little more of a subtle point, but in the past couple years with me being a first-time homebuyer as well as being a first-time parent—there’s just been a lot of areas where I feel like people would condescend to us in various ways—they sort of dismissed questions or concerns that we had. 

Being in tech, I know that there’s a lot of information available, and I think I’m generally pretty good at sifting out what’s reliable versus what’s not in terms of getting baseline information of how things are supposed to work. So while having the overview of the basics is good, the distinguishing factor is when I have a follow-up question or a detailed question. A lot of people will just give an off the cuff answer without really thinking about it. It’s a huge frustration when it feels like people aren’t listening to us, because I’m like, “Look, I’m prepared! I did my homework.” 

Did Morty seem to alleviate that for you? 

The [responsiveness] and the depth of the types of responses that I got from my Morty rep] were ones where I was like, “Ok, I feel confident that there are people that will be really knowledgeable. There’s just been like so many parts like, through this whole process where I’m like, buying a house is a HUGE deal. This is a huge component of our financial assets now and I don’t understand why it feels that some agents—that I know as much as they know basically [based on] the [type of] answers [they were] giving me. I want to work with really competent people, and that’s definitely the highlight of this whole business with Morty. 

What’s one word to describe your experience working with us? 

Maybe, relief? Or relieving? I didn’t really have to worry about what was going on, your team would kind of let me know if there was something I needed to take action on—like upload the files. [My Morty rep] explained anything I was unsure about—he’s just really on top of things. He did a really good job at making sure to check in with us.

Something that I thought was uniquely good was that he would proactively follow up with us on updates and how things were going even if it was just to say, “Hey, we’re continuing the process with things on our side.” There are definitely a lot of other people throughout the home buying process that weren’t as on top of things. I just really appreciated that level of personal touch there. 

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