Choosing the Right Lender My 22 questions

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors

If you are a Real Estate Agent like I am we often times will pick up a buyer through a sign call or an open house. Many times that Buyer will already have started a pre-qualification for a loan with a lender of their choice.

For those times when they are not or if we feel that it might be beneficial to the Buyer we may be asked or volunteer to provide a recommendation for a Lender.

These are the questions I use when interviewing a Lender in Portland Oregon for my clients.

  1. Are you a Mortgage Banker, Broker or both?
  2. What are your current rates including a break down of your costs?
  3. Do you have any in-house lending programs and or portfolio loans?
  4. What loan products do you specialize in?
  5. Do you have or know of a loan product for Fixers?
  6. What is your policy towards Flips?
  7. Have you made any loans to Fixer, Flips, or Rehab Buyers?
  8. Do you have any restrictions on the number of loans that an individual may have?
  9. Do you have a product for Multifamily or commercial loans?
  10. Do you have a product for Condo's? Are there any conditions?
  11. Do you have loan products for Builders?
  12. Do you provide a weekly loan update for all parties by email?
  13. How long have you been in business?
  14. How many transactions do you do monthly?
  15. Do you have an assistant that is familiar with your files?
  16. When you are not in the office will you have your cell phone on?
  17. How quickly can you generate a prequal letter?
  18. Do you have an in-house appraiser? Whats your policy?
  19. Do you have an in-house underwriter? Whats your policy ?
  20. What is your typical application to close time ( how soon can you close a loan )
  21. Will you refer unrepresented buyer clients to me as I will for you?
  22. What was the toughest loan that you were involved with and how did you solve it.

I am sure that there are many other questions that will fit your needs. These are the normal ones that I ask.

What are your questions? Maybe you are a Lender, what additional ideas would you throw out?

Herb Hamilton is a Real Estate Broker with RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors working in Portland Oregon

                               " A Real Estate Expeirience with Herb is one YOU will Profit from "   A Web Site full of local Portland Oregon information and real estate searches for homes.  A Web Site for the home buyer. Recieve updated real estate listings daily or hourly 24/7. Sent by email on a street map with a Photo a Description and an Address. An Investors Web Site. Spend your time analyzing the results that will be sped your way within minutes of becoming active in the local RMLS.




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Randal Keberlein
Weichert Realtors, Precision - Kenosha, WI

Here a few for you Herb:

  1. What percentage of the loan application that you take close?
  2. Do you offer a true pre-aproval?
  3. Give me three examples of how you will positively affect my business.

I would be very interested to learn how an answer on each question effects your decision to refer business.  Perhaps an idea for a post?

Apr 06, 2007 05:26 PM #1
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland
Perhaps, I already have two more posts started for this subject. Now I believe its possible there may be a third. Thanks for reading Randal
Apr 06, 2007 05:29 PM #2
Ki Gray
Austin, TX
Austin Real Estate
I would ask if they have ever forgotten to lock an interest rate.   I have heard more stories of shady loan brokers "forgetting" to lock an interest rate.  In every case where this happened the interest rate had gone up since the date when the interest rate should have been locked.
Apr 06, 2007 06:05 PM #3
Jacob Morales - Arizona Mortgage Planner
US Bank - Scottsdale, AZ
These are important points that will help you close your clients more accurately. Nicely said. Thanks for the post.
Apr 06, 2007 06:57 PM #4
Danny Smith
All very good and valid points and issues Herb! Very usable info. But in addition I tend to lean more towards the person's personality. I can usually size someone up pretty quick whether they are someone I would do business with or not. If I would then I tend to refer those people to others. May not sound very professional but it has worked for me. I don't take to people that are all talk nor those that are to anxious to get my business. If you fit my need and are the type I can communicate with honestly and professionally. A handshake is good for me!
Apr 06, 2007 10:13 PM #5
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Hello Herb, this is a nice post and it is great that you provide this service to your clients in making sure the other side of the equation is represented competently.  I wrote a blog way back when on what I would look are some of my thoughts:

-Trust>>>  Always earned, rarely given.  I'll let them interview me as part of the application process but I would also be sure to interview them as well for the position of My Mortgage Consultant.

-The Know>>>  How are you paid?  Is it a reasonable fee?  How does the loan process work?

-Options>>>  I want them.  Not too many but enough to make an informed decision on what best fits my ideal situation...both now and down the road.

-Accessability>>>  Don't treat me like an unwanted ex, return my calls & emails in a timely manner.  I shouldn't have to beat down your door to close my loan so you can make money.

-Communication>>> Oh, this is a biggie!  I don't like surprises but I know stuff happens.  When you find out the good, bad, or indifferent, let me know right away. 

-Lip Service>>>  I'm not a big fan.  Don't tell me what I want to hear, tell me what is as you know it.  I don't need a politician here, I need a Trusted Adviser working to get a mortgage that makes sense for me.

-The Human Element>>>  I want to know you care and have the heart of Rocky Balboa & the soul of the Dhalai Llama, or at least you won't be a stranger after the deal is done.

-What Makes You Different>>>  Oh, you're local?  That's wonderful.  You've helped customers move into their house?!?  Excellent!  You will be at the closing?  Great!

Apr 07, 2007 12:28 AM #6
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Ki : There are a myriad of details that are involved with a loan. Locking a loan rate is just one of them. I work with a loan officer here in Portland that does fabulous work. For over 15 years she has been on the top of her game closing and average of 65 transaction each and every month. Yet I know if I ask her has she ever forgotten to lock a rate, I know that in all those years and all those transactions the answer would have to be yes. We are all human, I would hope.

Jacob : Thanks for stopping by I am glad you enjoyed.

Danny : Some years back I had a new client from out of town. I sent him to 3 top Lenders in town that I had done business with. All I knew were truly great loan officers. None of them fit my new clients personality. We went shopping. He went through 5 loan officers in a row . I had met all of them and had taken a liking to 3 out of the 5. Yet when it came down to it none of the 5 could perform. Now my was an investor and bought over 20 homes in 2 years so it takes a special talent to be able to place that kind of loan. I trust my gut , but my questions give me additional insight. Thanks for stopping by as always Danny I always appreciate your comments.

Apr 07, 2007 12:39 AM #7
Bob Force (REALTOR®)
Weichert - McKenna & Vane - Mount Airy, MD
The FORCE in Maryland Real Estate


I like your list.  I guess I never satdown and came up with a list.  Initailly I just took the recommendations of fellow agents and slowly developed a relationship with several for that list.  I have also just excepted those broght forward by a client, a guess lucky that all went to closing with no real problem.

Again thank you and the others for their suggestions. 


Apr 07, 2007 01:13 AM #8
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Jason : Thanks for reading and your comments. Finding the right fit is a balance of personality and performance.

Robert : We often times take things at face value. And to often we find out things aren't working until we are confronted with a problem face to face.

Apr 07, 2007 03:31 AM #9
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor


It should be good if our friend George S, add more or wants to comment here, great blog

happy easter

Apr 07, 2007 06:10 PM #10
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Ray , Have a happy easter my friend.

Apr 08, 2007 01:37 AM #11
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Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland
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