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How To Pick Your Lender

In the whirl wind that surrounds the home buying and mortgage process, how can a consumer be sure that they are working with the right lender? I mean there are so many choices…here’s some things to consider:

What type of company is it?

There are mortgage brokers, mortgage bankers and banks/credit unions. Mortgage brokers have been hamstrung by many of the recent regulatory changes and typically lack the actual ability to approve and/or lock a loan. Banks are usually limited in program choices and hamstrung by tighter underwriting. Mortgage bankers have the financial stability and direct lending capability of the bank coupled with the wide product menu and expertise of the mortgage broker. From a global perspective, I see mortgage bankers as a clear winner.

How does the company operate?

Many people are dismayed when they find out where their loan is processed or underwritten….or where the appraiser is from. It is important to work with a company (and their affiliates) who understand the nuances of your local market. Asking the questions up front can save you headaches down the road.

What about the individual loan officer?

Your relationship with your LO (and their processor) becomes the most important ingredient to a successful transaction. How well do they educate you about the process, the requirements…the factors that determine your approval or the interest rate you will get? Many LOs are “order takers”. Others are weak in follow up or communication. This is difficult to determine on your own which is why the referral from another person who used them or your real estate agent has far more value than most people know (until it’s too late).

Too many people stay focused on quoted rates and fees and neglect to see the whole picture of what is needed from a lender. Look for great communication, superior information and education, understanding of the local market and someone who looks at your application as something more than a number. Be prepared to pay a little more to get a better experience (even though it might not cost you any more)….in the long run, lowering stress can be more important.

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10 replies
  1. Mark Klein
    Mark Klein says:

    I read and pass along your blog daily.
    I’m a broker and find the blog written on 9/15/2011 completely incorrect.
    I have over 7 lenders that I can lock a loan with, on the same day I take the application.
    I have also closed a loan within 7 days of application.
    If I take an application and none of my lenders can do it, do to overlays I will find a lender who can do it.
    If you look at the MNLS 1st and 2nd qtr report on what size of companies are doing the most business its shops with 1-3 LO’s.
    I assume Benchmark Lending is not a broker shop.
    I would hope you would check your facts before posting.
    I will now question all your blogs and I will stop sending it to all my realtors.

  2. Mike Wendricks
    Mike Wendricks says:

    Mark I simply love what you mentioned

    “I have over 7 lenders that I can lock a loan with, on the same day I take the application.”

    Does it hurt your ranking with the lenders when you drop the other 6? I currently have a mortgage broker working on a personal deal of mine and he said he cannot do what you just mentioned, I recommended this last week after waiting nearly 4 weeks for a response that should have taken 3-5 days.

    I feel whoever is eager and hungry for a deal that acts promptly should get the business instead of the hurry up and wait game!

  3. Ken Montville
    Ken Montville says:

    Good observations about individual loan officers. Unfortunately, many consumers go strictly after “the rate”.

    In an way, all these years of educating the prospective home buyer about getting “pre-approved” before looking for a home has backfired. As a Realtor, I now get lots of prospective buyer clients that tell me “I have a pre-approval letter from XYZ Mortgage.” No matter if I tell them my recommendations for a loan officer will come with personalized service including unmatched accessibility for questions or challenges that arise during the process.

    They just want the rate.

  4. Brian
    Brian says:

    I can understand Mark’s frustration. I used to be an HMC at Wells Fargo. Talk about a tough nut crack with Realtors and their despise to work with me, not because of me but my employer. I’m very happy to be a banker now and find that I get stuff done that would never have crossed my mind at the bank. I don’t understand the broker world at all and this have no opinion on that side. I’m just annoyed that the government has been on a witchhunt for all of us. Mark, the only question I have on your comment is that RESPA guidelines will not allow for a loan to close any sooner than 10 days from application. Good luck to all of you out there making it through this difficult period. :-)

  5. Kristina
    Kristina says:

    Totally agree with you. Most homebuyers are too focused on fees rather than the quality of service they are getting. In truth, a lot of them do not know how to secure a loan for their needs. Great post as usual!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] of picking the the right real estate professionals to work with, we thought we’d share some hints to help you pick your lender, courtesy of the KCM blogging […]

  2. […] can.   Today’s “script” is based around an article that KCM Blog posted on the 15th called How to Pick Your Lender. The main idea behind this week’s script is to highlight the main points and then answer the […]

  3. […] a lot more in the end, or the deal falls apart days before the closing for a variety of reasons. In the KCM Blog they write…” Too many people stay focused on quoted rates and fees and neglect to see […]

  4. […] I continue to touch on this topic I wanted to post what KCMBlog.com had to say about “How To Pick Your Lender” because it can be perceived that I am […]

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