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The two words mortgage brokers dread most of all ..’free legals’ – Lea Karasavvas

by: Lea Karasavvas, MD, Prolific Mortgage Finance
  • 06/07/2017
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There are some phrases in life that simply make you cringe. The mere mention of them send a shiver down your spine and they generate facial expressions you didn't know you could muster.

Personal hates of my own are things such as “reaching out”, an Americanism that has spread like wild fire and taken over LinkedIn. So many people are reaching out, I fear an episode of The Walking Dead will soon be upon us. People all walking around “reaching out” with their hands in front of them!

“I’m on point” is another one that riles many.

However, over the last six months, a phrase that breaks me every time I hear it and surpasses everything…

…”Free legals”.

OH GOD NO! Please no, not free legals!! Don’t put me through that!!

The mere mention of free legals, and I know what is about to follow. Photos of how long your admin have been on hold for, the infamous “phone dump” where after half an hour of calling, someone answers and then cuts you off. Even worse, when calls are “suspended” and they are no longing taking them. Why dear Lord WHY?! Administrators’ blood is boiling at the thought. Case managers wake up in the middle of the night consumed by the emotion. Brokers are broken. I have never known anything break people more than the level of service given by some free legal firms. “What do you mean, you’ve not received the paperwork?!” Aaaaaarrrrgh!!!!!

The number of GIFs you can post characterising their emotion is endless. In fact, it could be time to develop a new GIF entitled “Free Legal Experience.” Many suitors for the GIF spring to mind and please feel free to share one yourself, but my personal favourite is Bruce Lee when he has just been cut off after 54 minutes being on hold.

Scared GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

It seems free legals are no longer becoming an incentive to chose a lender, more a rationale not to. We applaud those lenders that allow cashback alternatives, that allow clients to take matters into their own hands and use a firm that will actually answer the phone.

Hats off to the likes of Econ and SortRefer who have given back an element of control to the broker. They must be inundated with enquiries themselves right now. What we hope to see now, is more alternative cashback deals for the remortgage products. What was supposed to be an added incentive to generate business, has now resulted in the complete opposite.

I very rarely use an article to rant, but enough is enough. From every broker, every administrator and most important of all, every client that has experienced the atrocities of free legals, can we not do something to improve the service?

Let’s get this back to what it was supposed to be. An added nicety to a product to reward the client for their business – not an experience that could scar them for life.

There…I’ve said it. And breeeeeeathe.

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