Choosing a lender is often one of the first steps a buyer takes when beginning the home process.  Sometimes it can be an often-overlooked part of the process too.  Buyers can sometimes overlook the lender with rationales such as, “I’ve always used this bank, why not use them for this?” “I see these lender commercials all the time” or “they just need to write the check; how hard can this part be?”

What some buyers don’t realize at first, is choosing the wrong lender can lead to issues during the escrow process, sometimes serious enough to crash the deal.  In our experience working with many different lenders, we have found that the most consistent and successful lenders we worked with had these 5 traits:

 

   1.   Responsiveness and Communication! Sounds like common sense, right? Sometimes unavoidable issues occur in a transaction, and with uncertainty, emotions on buyer and seller side can flare in a hurry.  A lender who responds in a timely manner to agents and buyers goes a long way towards throwing water on these ‘escrow fires.’ 

   2.    A loan officer that is dedicated to you as the buyer We’ve seen many unfortunate instances where new buyers sign up with a mortgage company, talk to the initial loan officer, feel good about everything at first, and then boom! Things go awry, and the buyer/buyer agent need answers, and they are passed around from department to department, and nobody seems to know what is going on.  Having a loan officer dedicated to you means you have someone ready to fight for you if things get sticky. 

   3.    Knowledge of the mortgage industry and your income Your loan officer should have extensive knowledge about the type of loan that works best for you.  How your income qualifies for a loan is also super important! We’ve seen deals crash because the loan officer qualified a buyer based on short-term contract work, but then later right before final close, an underwriter says the income doesn’t qualify.  Be up front with your lender where your income comes from and make sure they understand how it works.  A crashed deal late in the process will usually mean you’re out the fees you paid up to that point. 

   4.    Knowledge of your local market No matter what part of the country you’re buying a home in, the local markets have their own unique features and challenges.  You may see increased competition in larger cities which requires you have to a preapproval letter faster than normal, or perhaps you live in a smaller rural market which can sometimes mean appraisals take longer to complete due to lack of available appraisers.  A lender who understands your market and works there often will be ready for these challenges. 

   5.    A strong reputation with previous clients and the Realtor community alike There are few better ways to find out what kind of lender you’ll be working with than talking to the very people that have worked with them in the past.  Don’t be afraid to ask your Realtor what their opinion is.  Many Realtors will want their client to have the best lender possible because their livelihood and reputation can depend on how the transaction goes as well.   

So there you have it! 5 things to look for you when picking a lender for your new home purchase. Good luck on your home search! If you have any further questions about home lenders or would like suggestions, reach out to us at any time!