“One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention.”
~ Jim Rohn
Recently, a client and I found ourselves frustrated with the service provided by a large mortgage broker. Thankfully, not all mortgage brokers or lenders are created equal. There are decent brokers and lenders out there, and I’d like to show you some things to look for. With a little diligence, you may be able to avoid disheartening situations like the one I will share below.
* I do not work for or receive payment from any lender or mortgage broker, nor do I send all my clients to a specific broker, as these acts would be a conflict of interest.
Why I Believe Not All Mortgage Brokers or Lenders are Created Equal
OK, here is the story. A client found their dream home, and they were in a rush to lock down their financing so the home would not slip away. They had just finished negotiating with their soon-to-be-lender, a large online lender that will remain nameless. This lender had very little knowledge of the area, which a common problem with non-local brokers/lenders.
Anyway, we needed a few documents to continue the sale of the home, and neither I nor the client could reach the loan officer by phone. Apparently, he was on vacation. Not a big deal. A large company should have a plan for this right? Think again.
Supposedly, this loan officer’s team could help out. But when we tried calling and emailing, those team members were nowhere to be found. Basically, my client was stuck with nowhere to go. Bummer! Now they may not get the home they were hoping for.
This brings me to some tips and suggestions for picking out your own mortgage broker or lender.
Tips To Help Pick a Mortgage Broker or Lender
Before you select your broker or lender, make sure you know the answer to these questions.
Are you working with a mortgage broker or a lender?
Mortgage brokers work with lenders. They can work with many different types of loans and programs. Understand that not every broker works to get the best loan for the client. Sometimes they work to get the best loan to make themselves money. Always ask a broker about their fees and the lenders they work with.
Lenders have their own specific programs and specials that only direct clients have access to. The problem lies in the fact that it is hard to shop many lenders in any reasonable amount of time. This can make a mortgage broker more desirable.
Have you gone to your personal bank or credit union?
Your current bank knows you and often knows the area, so this is a great place to start your shopping.
How long does the broker/lender you are researching take to handle pre-approval, appraisal and closing?
Make sure your broker/lender can abide by your timeline. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your dream home over a couple of days, would you?
How fast does the company respond to messages? How do they prefer to communicate?
Make sure they respond in a manner that works for you. Many companies still prefer phone but will also use email and text messaging. The easiest way to communicate is still face-to-face, which is wonderful if your broker/lender is local.
What are all the fees if you use this company?
Make sure you understand the fees, from down payment to closing to fees rolled into the mortgage. The lender or broker should explain every penny. Oh, and remember to always read the fine print!
Have you asked family and friends for recommendations?
Family members or friends that have recently gone through the process can provide insight into a company’s customer service.
Have you asked your Realtor for multiple recommendations about brokers or lenders based upon their experiences?
As a Realtor, I cannot recommend a specific company. But I do know several in the area that have made my life easier, and I would share all of them with you so you can make your own decision.
Did you know that not all lenders or brokers deal with the same type of loans?
If, for instance, you want to apply for a VA loan, certain brokers and lenders don’t deal with VA loans. Make sure you ask perspective companies what kind of loans they deal with.
How did you feel when you contacted the company?
Did you feel like they were too busy to answer questions? Did you find them short, or did you find them pleasant and helpful. Sometimes a gut feeling is all you need.
Anyway, that’s all for my tips on selecting a broker/lender. I have found that the whole real estate transaction goes more smoothly if your broker/lender….
- can communicate quickly and efficiently,
- has been recommended by others,
- is familiar with the local area or market, and
- makes customer service a priority from the start.
Hopefully, you can now see why not all mortgage brokers or lenders are created equal. Go out and find the best one for you. Oh, and happy house hunting!
What experiences, good or bad, have you had with a mortgage broker or lender? Let me know in the comments.