It’s often hard to know if the person you are about to work with is credible and knows what they are doing says Richard Hartian. Without question, a good loan officer is the most important person who will work on your loan, and on your behalf. A good loan officer knows what the underwriting (the person that approves or denies your loan) knows, which means right from the beginning they can guide you in the right direction.
As an 18 year veteran of writing loans, I’ve had the opportunity to see and work with many different types of loan officers; by far the good ones stand out and, for the most part, do the same things…Here is what to look for:
- A full time loan officer with no other job – Part timers are just that; they know only parts of the process, are not able to stay on top of the changing loan guidelines and generally have less “pull” in the office. In all cases stay away.
- A loan officer that has stability of employment – Someone who bounces around from company to company is generally someone who can’t get along with others, is not able to follow company policies, doesn’t know what they are doing or makes really bad choices…in all cases this is not someone you want to work with.
- A loan officer who does his own work – Is your loan officer someone who just collects things from you and turns it over to someone else? This person is an order taker, not a real loan officer…stay away. Unfortunately, most of your larger banks are going this route.
- A loan officer who spends time with you on your first call – In your first call there is a lot you need to find out. If someone won’t spend 20-30 minutes with you answering questions, move on to someone else.
- A loan officer that insists on getting loan documents from you – A good loan officer wants to see your tax returns, W2’s paystubs, bank statements, etc. If a loan officer is going to suggest loan programs that you qualify for, the only way for them to be accurate is to see what the underwriter will see. It takes time to do it right, and doing it right should be your only desire.
- A good loan officer will always want to order a full credit report – Not surprisingly, bad loan officers will make recommendations with no credit report. A good loan officer will order, at a minimum, a tri-merged credit report…it may be more expensive, but that is what is needed to get your loan approved.
- A loan officer that suggests you lock your rate – Not locking your rate is a bit like gambling. A good loan officer knows that and will recommend that you lock your interest rate, or at the very least, will make the option available to you.
- They’re willing to disagree with you or tell you something you might not like – At the end it’s about truth. You want to know the truth and you will want someone who is not afraid to speak the truth, even if it is uncomfortable….let’s face it, there are a lot of loan officers who will tell you what you want to hear, and in the end, will cause you and your Realtor a lot of work that does not produce a happy closing.
- A good loan officer may not always be the lowest rate – The truth is, their rate should be fair and competitive with other loan officers. The loan officer that has the lowest quote is probably not seeing something, which likely means you will pay more later or not get the loan at all. You’ve heard the saying, if you go with the lowest quote, you will end up with the biggest liar.