Are all mortgage lenders created equal? What else besides the interest rate and fees should you be looking for?
Mortgage lenders play a very important part in the real estate transaction, they make it happen! So what are some of the important things to keep in mind when choosing a mortgage lender to work with?
It is not all just about the fees and interest rate, there is much more than that. Too often many buyers only criteria is best rate and fees, unfortunately they end up falling for the bait and switch techniques too often. So what else should you consider?
Availability: Your loan officer should be available to you 24/7, because real estate doesn't take time off. Imagine this, it is Saturday afternoon and you just finished viewing a home you want to make an offer on but you have some questions for your lender. Do you wait until Monday for the bank to open or are they available then and there? The reality is real estate transactions are usually getting done in the evenings and on weekends, which means your lender should be available then as well.
Are they local? Will you be able to meet with them in person if you need to? Or will you be calling a 1(800) number and getting a different person every time to discuss your transaction with them? Too often big bank and online mortgage companies do this to handle the large volumes, unfortunately the experience to you suffers due to being able to visit their office directly or deal with the same person. Have documents to deliver or want to discuss an issue with them, paying them a visit directly to their desk is the best and easy way to handle it. Make sure your lender is local, it will make a big difference through the process.
Do they know the local market? In a very competitive market do they know the ins and outs to make your offer stand out? Loan officers I work with know they are as much of the offer as the written offer itself. They call the listing agent to introduce themselves, reinforce that you are qualified and remind the agent they are a local lender... all of these matter to a listing agent.
Will they close on time? This is often forgotten with big lenders and online lenders, yes they promise good fees and rates but don't always close on time. This happens so often many times listing agents won't prefer an offer with a big out of town lender simply because of the bad reputation of not closing on time. Remember the listing agent has to turn around and help the seller buy a home and they are risking that transaction if the lender doesn't close on time. Think of it as a domino effect, one must fall in order for the rest to fall in place. If on piece is out of sync then the rest don't fall in to place. Don't risk your transaction to a bad out of town or online lender.
I will end by saying that all lenders can be competitive with their fees and rates. The reality is the local lenders I recommend can do the same while offering much better service, availability, local market knowledge and knowing what needs to happen to get your deal to the closing table.
If you have any questions or would like a recommendation of local lenders I recommend please do not hesitate to contact me.
Luis Cuevas, Realtor
RE/MAX Cross Country