Forget shopping for the best rate. Loan Officers are not commissioned based on rate and, more importantly, you need a lender you can trust, who will be upfront, and who will be your advocate.
The average homeowner refinances within nine years (if they don’t move before then) and does not refinance with the same lender they previously used. Why? Dissatisfaction. People are guided to shop for a mortgage based on rate and costs but that’s only a fraction of how to choose a lender. We’ve broken down the steps for you.
- Iron out your credit score. The higher the score the less risky you are seen by lenders and the better rate you’ll be eligible for.
- Reach out for a really great referral, here’s a few places to start:
- Your friend’s referral—not your friend, unless you know they will make you a priority.
- Your realtor’s referral. A realtor will have a network of a few lenders they have a history and work well with.
- Your own finding. Check out Zillow or Facebook for lender reviews and ratings. Facebook is a great source as it will tell you if any of your friends have liked the page or been there, allowing you to then reach out to a friend: “Hey I saw you liked Home Loans on Facebook, did you get a mortgage through them and if so, how was your experience with them?”
- Call some lenders. Ask the questions and don’t stop with just “what are your rates and costs?” Those rates and costs are dependent on credit score and a good lender will want to give you the best details. These are the questions you should have in the forefront of your mind.
- What does the preapproval look like and how much weight does it hold? For a homebuyer, getting properly pre-approved is very important. In today’s tight and heavily competitive market, a lot of buyers are making offers on homes without being properly pre-approved and to the seller, they are seen as a joke. It holds no ground. You want a lender who will dig into your credit score, income, and assets.
- What is required for a downpayment? There are a lot of options that require little down and often times, in today’s market, it’s better for homebuyers to put only 3-5 percent down.
- What is the average turnaround times for preapproval and closing?
- What fees will you be responsible for in addition to downpayment?
- What form of communication is preferred and how quickly are messages returned?
- How long have they been in the industry? What is their history? Do they have a testimonials page where you can read client reviews?
- Compare lenders. You’ve made the calls, you’ve spoken with a few bankers and loan officers, who did you feel was genuine? Who did you trust to be your advocate? Who treated you like a transaction? What were the turnaround times? What were the costs involved?
Be more concerned with a lender who will get the job done for you and you trust, and you won’t be unsatisfied; you’ll want to refinance with them again in 5 years.
[Paul NMLS #27543] [Hall Financial Group NMLS #1467435]