Deciding who you want to work with for your loan is an extremely important part of the process. The loan process in general can be complex and confusing. People have different and unique financial situations with some needing more hand holding than others. Starting with the initial application, to the uploading of supporting documents, things that you may do or say during the application process could make all the difference in whether or not you get approved or just make the approval process much harder than it has to be.
A good loan officer is going to ask a lot of questions upfront as it is our responsibility to know and foresee issues that may arise so that these things can be prevented (if possible) in advance. The big difference between a good loan officer and a bad one is the ability to avoid problems. An example: I always make sure I know where people are getting the money to buy the home. If somebody fills out their application online and they put that they have $100,000 I the bank I will ask – you have $100,000 and it’s been in your bank account for the past 60 days? “No” – they tell me. “That money was deposited last week or will be deposited in the future coming from a good friend”. Well now we have a potential problem – for most loans you cannot simply get money from a friend. Some loan officers will not ask these questions upfront but rather wait until the underwriter has reviewed the file and is getting ready to issue a denial. The same applies to income – when a borrower tells you their income you need to be a detective and ask for a break down – namely how much of that income is salary or hourly pay and how much is “variable” income. Variable income needs to be averaged out most times we can’t just take your most recent bonus, or commission check and assume that is likely to continue. We might not be able use variable income at all if we cannot document a 2 year history.
I also like to look at the property that is being purchased, even look through the pictures. Often times I will recognize something that I notice might be an issue – like if a property is a fixer-upper and doesn’t have a stove. Or if there are things the appraiser will catch based on photos online like a tarp on the roof - OR - in the property description something is mentioned that might require a repair from the seller before you can close. If we know about these things in advance we can plan the easiest and most efficient way to handle them prior to a closing delay. Weeding out potential issues such as these upfront is a key attribute that really separates a good loan officer from a bad one.
Communication and access are also important to think about. Are you working with a loan officer who works at the bank only from 9 AM to 5 PM? Do you have their cell phone and can you text them? I tell my clients I am available 7 days a week from 7 AM until 9 PM. Many of my clients prefer to talk after work so that they don’t have to discuss their personal finances in an open cubicle. Everyone is different and some clients may not want to talk at all during the process but quite a few clients want to talk, text and email several times per day. Maybe more importantly – before you have an accepted offer when looking at properties in a hot market on a Saturday or a Sunday and the property already has multiple offers – can you get ahold of your loan officer to get an updated pre-approval letter and run the figures on what the monthly payment will be and how much money will be needed at closing?
These are all things to consider that you want to weigh when making this important decision.
Chris Butts is a Loan Originator and Sales Manager at Leader Bank. He has been in the mortgage industry for over 15 years and is committed to providing his customers with the highest quality service. His extensive experience and knowledge allow him to effectively and consistently help his customers during the loan process, whether it’s a first time home buyer, a refinance or purchasing a dream home.Learn More About Chris
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