Take the TIME to do your own INTERVIEW….
What is an interview? Wikipedia defines interview as a conversation between two or more people (the interviewer and the interviewee) where questions are asked by the interviewer to obtain information from the interviewee.
When you are shopping for a mortgage or for a realtor to help you sell your house or to help you buy a house, those that you talk to, should be interviewing you. Why should they be interviewing you? To get a feel for you, to understand your needs, and to get a feel for what your goals are now and in the near future. I have written about this several times, what a loan officer should be asking their potential client. Jeff Belonger's Interview process as a loan officer.
So as a consumer, when shopping for someones services to help you with your mortgage or home buying/selling process from a realtor, what things should you consider?
First off, take this process seriously and just don't go with someone that typically uses the words : I guarantee you, I promise you, I am the best, etc, etc -
Secondly, take the time to interview these individuals. There are several ways at your fingertips. What you should be looking for is transparency in the individual and their services. I talked about this in : What is transparency all about? -
So what are the ways that you can conduct your own interview? It can be simple and not take much time at all. Here are some options (keeping in mind that more of these options are when researching your loan officer) :
- You can do a search online by using Google.com and Bing.com. Just type in the person's name and also do a search on their company. You might be surprised at what you find out.
- BBB - Better Business Bureau - Find out about the company that individual works for. Keep in mind that not everyone is always happy and likes to complain, so some complaints might be fluff per se.
- The National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) will be a great place to not only find out if that loan officer is licensed, but their credentials, and some history about that person. Here is the website : The National Mortgage Licensing System & Registry - This site is currently being used by 38 states and will be mandatory for everyone by the end of January.There will be a separate link just for this new site and for these searches. Keep in mind that this is a good form of transparency, but not 100%. It should be a solid tool though.
- State and local agencies - Each state has their own web site for loan officers, mortgage companies, and realtors. There are different ways to search through these sites, but not every state has the same requirements.
- FHA Approved Lenders - HUD Lender Locator - This tool allows you to see what lenders are actually FHA approved.
Summary : The bottom line is that you should become pro-active in your searches, when searching for that true professional. Even if someone gives you a referral, just don't take their word for you. I have seen referrals backfire for several reasons. And don't just take in account someones years of experience. I approved a loan 2 years ago with 15 years of experience at the time, after a loan officer had denied the loan 30 days later, who had 30 years of experience. Questions do matter, and not just name, rank, and serial number. Get to know who you are dealing with.
PS...I know I didn't hit upon every type of method. If you have some other means of searching for people, please feel free to include them in the comments below and I will include these with your name. Thanks
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For more information on FHA loans, please go to this link. The FHA Expert
For more information about the 2009 Tax Credit for First Time Homebuyers : 2009 Tax Credit
For important mortgage insight to watch for, please read : Consumers need to be aware of these Red Flags!
Copyright © 2010 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc