Proactive mortgage reps pay off for members

Closing dates are pivotal for homebuyers excited to move into a new home, but even more so this past June when the first-time homebuyer tax credit deadline loomed. USAA stepped up and with the members’ permission, moved up the closing date.

First-time homebuyers under contract by April 30 this year were eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $8,000, while long-time homeowners could qualify for up to $6,500. The catch was they had to close on their new home by June 30.

Knowing this, managers in USAA Bank’s mortgage processing department noticed an unusually high number of home loans scheduled to close July 1-6 – right after the June 30 tax credit deadline expired.

Despite an already very busy closing month for mortgages, USAA representatives manually reviewed the loan contracts to see if any of these members were eligible for a tax credit if they could close before June 30. They identified and contacted 71 members who qualified and offered to move up their scheduled closing dates.

One of those calls was made by Christie Buggs to a member who was an EMT/firefighter in Fort Bragg.

“We knew that the tax credit deadline was right around the corner,” Buggs said. “He was extremely appreciative of everyone pulling together to make the closing happen for him so quickly.”

The member not only needed to move the closing date to qualify for the tax credit, but also wanted to do so to make his moving dates coincide with those of the old property he was going to lease to his move into his newly built home. Buggs was able to effectively do both, moving his closing date to June 24, resulting in a satisfied member with an extra $6,500 in his pocket.

Although the tax credit escalated the need to help members close early, Buggs explained that in her three years at USAA, the need to change closing dates to accommodate members’ individual needs happens often.

“When it comes to members closing early in general, I try to put myself in their shoes,” she said. “They don’t know what happens behind the scenes, so I just listen to the members and am cognizant of their needs. I try to get a feel for each individual, listen closely to their needs and take notes so members feel comfortable knowing that you’re really listening to them and they don’t have to repeat themselves.”

Because of the attentiveness of Buggs and her team, 28 of the 71 members contacted by USAA chose to move up their closing dates. One was a first-time homebuyer eligible for an $8,000 tax credit, while the other 27 were eligible for a $6,500 tax credit. In total, moving the closing dates for these members saved them approximately $183,500.