When you are about to make the largest purchase of your life, you need someone who will not only find you a competitive rate, but who understands your needs. You want someone who will help you succeed in the most affordable way possible. After all, the terms of your mortgage will impact your household finances for years to come.
The right Loan Officer will provide a preapproval letter and help you determine which home loan options are right for you before you begin your home-searching journey.
Here are some tips for spotting Loan Officers who will look out for your best interests:
1. Trust but verify. Whether you receive a referral from a friend, relative, or your Real Estate Agent, do your own research. Verify your Loan Officer’s license and registration here. Then, check their online reviews.
2. Don’t stop with just one. Different lenders offer different programs. Some mortgage companies may seek new business more aggressively than others by offering more attractive pricing. Little savings can add up over the lifespan of a mortgage, which is why comparison shopping is advisable. So even if someone comes highly recommended by a person you trust, as you may benefit from exploring other options.
3. Never rely on an interest rate quote alone. Make sure you understand all the costs associated with your potential financing. Online calculators can help you determine how the closing costs and any fees might impact your monthly payments and enable you to see your total cost over time.
4. Understand what will be expected of you. In addition to receiving a full breakdown of anticipated fees, determine what kind of down payment you will need and when money will be required from you. Also, find out what documents will be needed and when you need to provide them to ensure a smooth loan process.
5. Explore communications options. Before you commit, ask the Loan Officer how they communicate and what hours they work. You need to be able to contact your lender at a time and using a method that is most convenient for you. For instance, if you work full time, you may want a lender who is available before or after regular business hours, as well as online. If you prefer texts as opposed to email or phone calls, make sure they understand that. Most people have one preferred method of communication and tend to ignore the others or check them less frequently.
6. Understand the process. Your Loan Officer and Real Estate Agent should work well together because they will have to coordinate on certain things. The Real Estate Agent is the main liaison with the sellers and selling agent. If either party fails to provide certain information on time, it can delay your loan and jeopardize your purchase. Having a Loan Officer who has a good working rapport with the agent is a great way to get a strong team. If you have chosen your Loan Officer first, ask for a recommendation for a Real Estate Agent.
Don’t underestimate your own power when it comes to mortgages. Choose a Loan Officer based on how collaborative the relationship will be. Their focus should be on you and helping you make the best decisions for your financial situation and your long-term homeowning goals. Remember, you are in control.