The Top 6 Things to Look for in a Loan Officer & What That has to do With a Rich, Distant Cousin’s Wedding 

Picture yourself at a wedding… one for a rich distant cousin. There are people from every walk of life and it seems like every time you turn around there is a new person telling you a story about how they know the bride and groom. Your head is spinning looking for your seat. You’re slightly confused, maybe even questioning why you came. Then, you find out there’s been a mix-up with the seating and you’ve been seated at the kid’s table.  You’re almost fuming with annoyance when your distant cousin comes up and tells you he has a seat and it just so happens to be next to someone special.

Obtaining funding for your dream home can be challenging. It can contain multiple detours, have more people involved than a distant cousin’s wedding, but can be downright fantastic all at the same time.  Now, if you take the example from above, the wedding is horrible without the save from your distant cousin.  Obtaining funding for your dream home can be downright horrible unless you have your X factor: your distant cousin if you will and that person is none other than your loan officer.

They are a lot of players involved!

Realtors, insurance agents, escrow officers, title agents, flood certificates, appraisers—these are just a few of the folks and services needed to successfully close your loan.  Your interaction with each might be limited, but you will want to seek advice regarding each relationship and service and, just as your distant cousin helped navigate the sea of new people, your loan officer can provide you with clarity and reassurance.

A good loan officer will counsel you through the mortgage process and help qualify you for an appropriate loan amount. Your loan officer will provide various loan options based upon your personal preferences, short term goals, and current financial situation. Your loan officer will calculate monthly payments and provide a list of closing costs you can expect to pay when you finally reach the settlement table. The right loan officer can make the process a smooth one and a bad loan officer can be an absolute nightmare.

And finally, don’t get hung up on the brand your loan officer represents.  Although a big bank’s millions can make a penny look shiny and new, it’s still a penny. In other words, it’s not the lender you’re working with, it’s the loan officer. That said, look for these top 6 things in your loan officer to ensure you end up smiling at the closing table.

Experience

Becoming a licensed loan officer is daunting. One must complete 20+ hours of training, a very long grueling licensing test and, after all that, still get hired by a lending institution. But, there is no experience requirement that a loan officer needs in order to lend you money. And, while there are plenty of phenomenal loan officers with little to no experience, experience offers that little bit extra, the ketchup to your French Fries if you will. Keep in mind, the loan process is not cookie cut. Often times circumstances arise that require the foresight only experience can offer.  Little to no experience is not a deal breaker, but it’s something you should be aware of.

Loan Choices

It’s every mortgage company’s goal to offer as many diverse loan products as they possibly can in an effort to reach the largest set of consumers possible. But, from that wide array of mortgage loan choices, does the loan officer understand the intricacies of each option, and how each loan can be used in your specific/individual situation? Multiple loan options provide you with an array of different choices and you need a loan officer that not only has access to a diverse range of mortgage loan options in the marketplace but one who can easily explain them and put them to use for you.

Communication

How does the loan officer primarily communicate with borrowers? Email? Phone? Prompt replies and frequent communication, especially early on in the mortgage process, is very important and a great sign of how the loan officer will communicate moving forward. Getting questions and concerns answered at the onset of the loan application process will help ensure the overall loan process is smooth from beginning to end.

Personality Fit

This is more of a gut response than anything, but you will want to work with someone you feel comfortable with and not someone who will intimidate you. Remember our tip about the vast array of mortgage products? You want someone who has patience and is willing to spend the extra time to ensure you understand all of your options. Mortgage lending has its own language and it’s easy for a loan officer to speak “lender-ese” to their clients. Some borrowers are very data-driven and appreciate making a decision based upon numbers while some will make a decision based upon the relationship and trust they feel with their loan officer. If you’ve identified two qualified loan officers, we suggest choosing the one that’s a better fit for your personality type—go with your gut instinct.

Support Team

A good loan officer has an experienced and reliable support staff. Loan officers rely primarily on their loan processor, but can have multiple assistants helping them at any given time. You’ll speak to your loan processor frequently once you submit your loan, so it’s important you feel confident in their ability and professional style as well.

Referrals

If your prospective loan officer is experienced, responsive, a good fit, has a talented team, and has multiple loan options; then they should have plenty of referrals. Be sure to ask for the names of recent clients, so you can truly understand the person you are going to be working with on your loan application. Good loan officers will have more referrals than you can handle. Lastly, perform a Google search on your loan officer. What do their Yelp or Google reviews say about their services? Be sure to take them with a grain of salt, most online reviews forums can center on the negative, but if you see a trend make sure to address those concerns with your loan officer.

Remember, you’re not working with the mortgage bank’s name, you’re working hand-in-hand with your loan officer. The bank can market their products and services, but it’s the loan officer that puts all that marketing and advertising into play. You need an experienced loan officer that can tailor a mortgage around your specific needs, promptly return communication, and has a solid support staff. Once you find a loan officer with all these traits, hang on to them as you’ve just found your distant cousin of loan officers!

*Please note all pricing, percentages and fees are subject to change and are based on personal circumstances. The use of hypothetical statements are meant to illustrate possible outcomes and are not intended to be assurance of qualifying for a loan nor a statement of facts.

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