Are you watching the news these days? Worried about the Corona virus, declining stock markets, or various other calamities happening right now? While understanding the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak and doing your part in terms of social distancing, disinfecting and not disrupting the supply chain by hoarding food and supplies, it is also ok to give yourself a mental break from all of that for a few days. Today can be the day you decide to temporarily hit pause on all of that, give the emotional part of your brain a well deserved break and…focus on numbers.
On 02/20/2020 (what a fun looking date!) I decided to try this and it worked out very well for me and my family. That morning, after hearing about a slew of happenings that were a sure testament of our country “going to hell in a handbasket,” I simply chose to work out the logical instead of the emotional part of my brain by focusing on numbers.
Numbers don’t lie. They are a “it is what it is” kind of thing, and to me, this logic is very calming. Instead of daily looking into the increasing number of COVID-19 cases globally, I chose to seek out the opportunities that arise during the uncertain times and see how to maximize on them. Specifically, falling interest rates made it a perfect time to refinance our mortgage. Here is how I did it, should you choose to embark on the same numbers adventure:
I started by doing some research and reading a few trusted blogs that recommended the First Internet Bank as a good place for lending needs. At first, looking at the name, I thought it was a hoax bank that didn’t really exist, but it does. Also known as the First Internet Bank of Indiana, it has A+ rating on BBB.com – always a good thing to check.
I contacted them and also went through bankrate.com knowing that competing offers, although requiring a bit more time and effort on my part, would yield the best outcome. Three offers are just right to assess what’s going on in the lending market.
And so the hunt for the best refi offer began.
With each lender, I was clear on my goal. I wanted the lowest rate with the lowest closing costs. I was not interested in a “no cost” loan as that usually meant either higher interest rate or higher loan value. I also did not want to pay for reduction in points.
Working on competitive proposals for 20+ years of my life, I learned that in order to get to the “win win” (the best kind of competitive outcome), paying attention to small details is a must. In my case, I chose to pay attention to people who attentively listened to my needs, came up with a solid starting offer, and took 5 seconds to learn how to properly pronounce and spell my name. These behaviors build mutual trust, and trust is a must.
I gave myself a finite timeline by which the lending decision would be made, and clearly communicated that to each of the contenders. After all, everyone’s time is valuable. I imposed the timeline of 5 business days by temporarily lifting our credit protection for the same amount of days. That meant, the lenders could do credit pulls for a limited time only, and I had to make a decision by that time as well.
I share some surprising and helpful findings in my next post. I hope this motivates you to skip the news today and focus on your own numbers!