Answers to the Questions , The Lenders List of 22

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors

Over the past few days I have written about Choosing_A_Title_Company_&_A_Lender . I have also written about the 21_Questions_To_Ask_When_Interviewing_A_Title_Company_&_Escrow_Officer . I have also written about the 22_Questions_To_Ask_A_Lender . But what are the answers to those questions? What am I really looking for?

Well Here they are :

First the Lender Questions.

  • Are you a Mortgage Banker ,Broker or both?

I am really looking for the Both. Definitely a Mortgage Banker. Someone with more to risk than just a typewriter in a rented office. Someone that if they do not have an in house mortgage product, will go the extra mile for my client and Broker the loan from another Lender.

  • What are Your current Rates including a break down of your costs?

I want to know not just what is the Rate that is available today. I want to know what garbage fees will be attached to the loan. All of them. Together they all make up the actual cost of the loan, not just the teaser rate.

  • Do you have any in-house or portfolio loans?

For my clients who often purchase Fixers, having a lender that will do an in-house loan or a portfolio loan may mean the difference of getting a great project to work on or not.

  • What loan products do you specialize in?

Often times a loan officer becomes so complacent they tend to work with blinders on. This is somewhat of a trick question. What I am looking for is a loan officer who will tell me that they Tailor fit the loan to each of their clients.

  • Do you have or know of a loan product for Fixers?

A no answer here is a deal killer for most of my long term clients.

  • What is your policy towards Flips?

Many Lenders today will take a very negative view of the Buyer who flips homes for a living. Some will have time limits and many others will not want to be involved at all. For the Lender who does not want to be involved it is a deal killer for me.

  • Have you made any loans to Fixer, Flips, or Rehab Buyers?

Direct questions like such are hard to defend as most people are inherently honest will tell you yes or no from the get go. Your expertise or lack of in this area will be immediately noticeable by my follow up questions. I am not looking for a person who is enthusiastic with no experience under their belt.

  • Do you have any restrictions on the number of loans that an individual may have?

When working with professional Investors who intend to purchase 100 homes the last thing we need to hear is that a Lender wants to limit them to only 12 properties.

  • Do you have a product for Multifamily or commercial Loans?

This is not a Deal Killer it is nice to have but I would be just as happy with a recommendation.

  • Do you have a product for Condo's ? Are there any conditions?

More and more lender's today are shying away from Condo loans and there troubled HOA's. They also typically must have the site approved, some to an FHA standard. Some will not lend on under 5 units.

  • Do you have a Loan product for Builders?

Most of the Builder's that I work with already have arrangements with a lender. I always want to be able to offer them alternatives.

  • Do you provide a weekly loan update for all parties by email?

It is nice to hear from the loan officer but is not necessary. I do however insist that they send me a weekly update on the progress. Most loans are only 3 to 4 weeks so that is not to much work and Keeps us all on track.

  • How long have you been in business?

Kind of a trick question again. Am really looking for how defensive the person becomes. Also not looking for someone Brand New who does not know the ropes. Don't practice on me or my clients.

  • How many transactions do you do monthly?

My current lender averages 65 transactions a month, year in and year out. That is a person with a goal. I also ask at this time what other Realtors are they working with. Long term Heavy hitters as there clients is validation of there worth.

  • Do you have an assistant that is familiar with your files?

Delegation is understanding your limits and allowing someone else to pick up the slack when you are not available.

  • When you are not in the office will you have your cell phone on?

One never knows when you may need to reach your loan officer. It is another reason why they must have an assistant.

  • How quickly can you generate a prequal letter.

This can often be the difference between making a sale or not. Having an emailed prequal letter within the Hour for someone that they are currently working with is a must.

  • Do you have an in-house appraiser? What's your policy?

Having either an in-house appraiser or an appraisal staff that is close by is the key to consistency. How often have we heard after receiving a very conservative appraisal an I'm sorry its not our usual appraiser?

  • Do you have an in-house underwriter? Whats your policy?

Same as the appraiser. Looking for consistency.

  • What is your typical application to close time? ( how soon can you close a loan )

Twenty one days or less should be the norm.

  • Will you refer unrepresented buyer clients to me as I will for you?

Self explanatory.

  • What was the toughest loan that you were involved with and how did you solve it.

After this long question and answer session it allows the loan officer a chance to toot there own horn a little.

Tomorrow I will deal with the Title and Escrow questions.

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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Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

This is a very good list.  I especially appreciate the explanations and reasons you have given for each of the questions.  I developed a list similar to this for clients interviewing builders.  I am bookmarking this for future reference. 

Apr 09, 2007 05:08 PM #1
Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
this is a great list and also a great series - nicely done
Apr 09, 2007 05:10 PM #2
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor


Very informative !!!!!

Apr 09, 2007 09:15 PM #3
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Lola: Lists like this and yours cause us to actually think about the process and the goals of the task at hand.

Thesa , Ray : Thanks so much for stopping by I'm glad you enjoyed.

Apr 10, 2007 02:37 AM #4
Michael Hutchins - Consumer Advocate, Chicago
Michael Hutchins Ent. - Chicago, IL
Great Post Herb.  I'd like to add that a borrower should always get a Good Faith Estimate and a Truth-in-Lending statement once they choose a lender.  This will help the borrower evaluate the fees and the price they are paying for the interest rate they've been quoted. 
Apr 10, 2007 05:15 AM #5
Herb Hamilton
RE/MAX Preferred Inc. Realtors - Portland, OR
Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland

Absolutely Michael,

The downside to the good faith estimate and a truth-in-lending statement is that it is given by the Loan officer. If you are using only a mortage broker, then end use lender does not have to honor it and will often times have a new statement at closing catching many consumers off guard.

Apr 10, 2007 06:02 AM #6
Ray Saenz
Exit Realty Laredo - Laredo, TX
Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor


it is always good to read and comment on your blogs :)


Apr 10, 2007 06:53 AM #7
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Herb Hamilton

Real Estate Broker ,CDPE, Downtown Portland
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