Homebuyers in Houston seem to have an easier experience with mortgage lending companies than the national average: according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s March 2016 report, mortage lenders accounted for 16% of complaints to the CFPB, compared to 26% nationally.

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That means that a potential buyer of your house might have smoother sailing if you live in Houston. And, you, in turn, might have an easier time at closing and getting your next mortgage if you live in Houston.

When you are selling your house, you can use every scrap of data you can get your hands on to understand what potential buyers are facing. Local lending and credit trends can help you understand how the typical selling and closing process might play out, especially if your area is plagued with problems.

The CFPB issues a monthly report that outlines the current state of Americans’ financial headaches. And, each month the CFPB pulls in for a closer look at a local market.

Here are three ways to use the CFPB data to size up the state of lending in your area.

  • Mortgage complaints: Are problems driving people to the CFPB website to lodge formal complaints against lenders and servicers? If so, your buyer might have difficulties getting paperwork done on time for various closing deadlines. And you might have trouble assembling the papers necessary to pay off the loan and transfer the deed at closing. If local data indicates problems, get in touch with the closing company your buyer plans to use, well in advance of the closing. Ask about complications, delays and glitches so you can monitor the progression of your paperwork to minimize delays. And be sure to document everything and to keep copies of all communications and forms so you can quickly re-submit missing papers.
  • Credit reports: A buyer is only a buyer if he or she can actually afford your house. (Get details on how to qualify a buyer at the USRealty.com Resource Center on Contracts and Closing. ) If credit reporting is problematic in your area, or if complaints are rising nationally, potential buyers might have to scramble to clean up problems in their credit reports, including mistakes made by credit reporting agencies.
  • Problematic companies: The CFPB lists the companies with the most complaints. Not surprisingly, most are large financial services companies, banks, and credit reporting agencies. If problems with a particular company are escalating, consider a regional alternative. And, ask your lender and the title company that handles the closing for recommendations to alternatives to the problem-plagued big players.