In the whirl wind that surrounds the home buying and mortgage process, how can a consumer be sure that they are working with the right lender? I mean there are so many choices…here’s some things to consider:
What type of company is it?
There are mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and banks/credit unions. Mortgage brokers have been hamstrung by many of the recent regulatory changes and typically lack the actual ability to approve and/or lock a loan. Banks are usually limited in program choices and hamstrung by tighter underwriting. Mortgage bankers have the financial stability and direct lending capability of the bank coupled with the wide product menu and expertise of the mortgage broker. From a global perspective, I see mortgage bankers as a clear winner.
How does the company operate?
Many people are dismayed when they find out where their loan is processed or underwritten….or where the appraiser is from. It is important to work with a company (and their affiliates) who understand the nuances of your local market. Asking the questions up front can save you headaches down the road.
What about the individual loan officer?
Your relationship with your LO (and their processor) becomes the most important ingredient to a successful transaction. How well do they educate you about the process, the requirements…the factors that determine your approval or the interest rate you will get? Many LOs are “order takers”. Others are weak in follow up or communication. This is difficult to determine on your own which is why the referral from another person who used them or your real estate agent has far more value than most people know (until it’s too late).
Too many people stay focused on quoted rates and fees and neglect to see the whole picture of what is needed from a lender. Look for great communication, superior information and education, understanding of the local market and someone who looks at your application as something more than a number. Be prepared to pay a little more to get a better experience (even though it might not cost you any more)….in the long run, lowering stress can be more important.