Stephanie gives great advice to consumers and Realtors alike. I recently found myself in a conversation with a buyer about the mortgage lender and program they were using. During the course of the conversation it became very clear that the loan officer had given them incorrect information about the NJ Smart Start program for first time home buyers. Thankfully I knew enough about the program to know the information was incorrect. Had I not known, this deal would have been a disaster in the end.
Aren't All Lenders The Same?
A lot goes into your process when buying a home. It is a big event. Finding the right neighborhood, a great floor plan, the right number of bedrooms and of course, the right price! The purchase of a home will be one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime.
One of the primary details in any home buying process is how you plan to pay for the home. If you have all cash, great! No worries! The process will be a smooth one! However, most of us are not fortunate to have that kind of cash lying around the house. That is why it is so important to work with a lender that understands the process.
Many people think what's the difference? Who ever can get me the best interest rate wins! Think again. There are many factors you should consider in choosing a lender. This one company and one loan officer could make or break the deal with one simple mis-step!
When chosing a lender, here are a few tips to consider in making a decision, not all lenders are the same:
1) Is the company you are considering a Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Banker, Bank or Credit Union? How long have they been in Business? Understanding the difference between types of lenders will help you make a more informed decision in choosing the best fit for your needs. A Mortgage Broker can shop your loan with many larger lenders but do not lend their own funds. A Mortgage Banker does lend their own funds, but may be limited in the programs available. The Mortgage Banker will probably not collect the payments on the loan. They will sell the loan to a larger company. A Bank also lends their own funds and will probably collect the payments on the loan. They may have more strict lending guidelines than a Mortgage Bank. A Credit Union will also lend their own funds, may collect the payments but may also be limited in the programs available.
2) How long has the Loan Officer been doing Mortgage Loans? Experience in understanding the loan programs and the best loan for your situation can save you thousands of dollars up front as well as over 30 years.
3) Does the Loan Officer listen and understand your current financial position? It is important you are working with someone that can offer solutions to problems you may be facing. Anything from credit issues, money for a down payment, time on your job. A good Loan Officer will be able to provide advice on the best approach in handling every situation. There are programs available for with people with credit scores as low as 620, they will be able to advise you on how to improve your credit score. They will know the programs available for 100% financing in your area as well as which programs may allow gift funds. BE AWARE. If any loan officer says it is necessary for you to "fake" any documents or misrepresent anything on your loan application, this is considered LOAN FRAUD and is punishable by law. A good Loan Officer is able to help you through situations without needing to "fudge" on anything.
4) Interest Rates and Fees. Most Lenders are competitive in rates. Compare rates with different lenders and the costs associated with obtaining the loan. The thing that may vary greatly is fees. It is a good idea when shopping for a mortgage loan to ask for a Good Faith Estimate of Costs to compare what charges the lender may be charging. Settlement fees, title fees and recording fees should remain consistent but may vary by a small percentage. Once you are in escrow, these fees will be determined and should not increase.
5) Time periods. Understand how long it will take your lender to process, underwrite and close your loan. Many of the larger lenders and banks may take longer than you have on your contract. Make sure they are able to comply with contract dates or make your offer according to the time frame it will take your lender to complete the process. You do not want to face penalties from the seller for not closing on time. The Loan Officer should be able to tell you from beginning to end what to expect. Do not be left in the dark.This is YOUR loan. You should not have questions about where in the process you are.
These are just a few points to consider when looking for a lender. Any one of these items if not handled by a professional could be costly in your transaction or cause the loan to go south at the last minute. Working with a qualified Loan Officer at a reputable company will ensure less stress on your part. In addition, you should feel comfortable with this person. You are entrusting them with every aspect of your income and assets and you want to know the information will be kept confidential and handled with care. You wouldn't buy a car without driving it; you shouldn't get a loan without interviewing some lenders!
Not all lenders are the same. If you need assistance in finding a lender, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss!
Making the Home of Your Dreams A Reality. As your Agent of Possibibility it is my intent to make your home buying or selling process a smooth one!
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