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How to Find an Awesome Loan Officer

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Buying a home is an exciting affair, especially so for first-timers. Those who apply for financing soon jump into a world with somewhat odd terminology and no shortage of players. That’s certainly true. Buying any other asset that takes a bit of financial evaluation typically means making sure you can handle the monthly payments or maybe even make the purchase outright with cash or credit card. Buying a new car, for example, fits this scenario.

You do some shopping on your own for a while, comparing prices and options and even do some online calculations about what your car payment might be. You narrow your choices down to the type of vehicle, year and how much you’re willing to pay and then contact a few dealers or sellers. You find your car, make an offer, haggle a little bit and come to a deal. Next, you come up with the money, transfer it to the seller and the car is yours. Fairly straightforward. It also helps to know the process is simple enough that you really don’t need much outside advice. Mortgages though are a bit more complex. That’s why you need to find an awesome loan officer.

Your loan officer will provide ideal financing options that meet your wants and needs. You’ll be provided with a list of closing costs you can expect to pay at the settlement table. Your loan officer will issue a preapproval letter to take with you as you begin looking at homes. You’ll know what interest rates are. If you have a question about financing, even on the weekends or evenings, your loan officer will be available. But how do you find this awesome loan officer?

Banks and mortgage companies can spend a ton on fancy marketing and promotions but it really all boils down to the expertise of the loan officer you end up with. A bank can put together a great advertising campaign but if you end up with a loan officer that really doesn’t live up to the hype, all those advertising dollars go down the drain.

To find an awesome loan officer, ask around. For certain, ask your real estate agent for some financing referrals. You can bet your agent has a few favorite loan officers for a referral. Note here, real estate agents don’t get referral fees from loan officers but what they do get is something much more valuable- peace of mind. A real estate agent knows that when a buyer is preapproved by a trusted loan officer, the agent can spend more time buying and selling homes and less time tracking down a marginal loan officer for loan status.

From your list of loan officers, pay less attention to who they work for. Instead, ask for a few referrals of clients they’ve arranged financing for. Quality loan officers will be able to rattle off several recent satisfied clients and it only takes a few quick phone calls for a reference check. Second, ask how long the loan officer has been in the mortgage business. A loan officer with years of experience is valuable. How many years? I don’t know exactly, 10 maybe?

But certainly not someone right out of the gate. It might seem a bit unfair to those new to the industry to say that, but you need experience. You need someone who has the tenacity to stay in business for an extended period of time. Some say that loan officers get good at spinning plates because there is so much going on behind the scenes. Top loan officers who have been in business for several years have proven their performance. For loan officers who can’t develop a market and extensive client base won’t be around for very long. Loan officers, like real estate agents, get paid on performance.

Written by David Reed for Copyright © 2019 Realty Times All Rights Reserved. Reed is from Austin, Texas and is the author of The Real Estate Investor’s Guide to Financing, Your Guide to VA Loans and Decoding the New Mortgage Market. A Senior Loan Officer and Mortgage Executive for more than 20 years, he has also appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Fox and Friends and the Today In New York show.