It is often said that buying a home is the most significant purchase you will make in your lifetime. It’s a major financial commitment and an important milestone, so you want to get it right. This means doing some homework and seeking professional guidance. A real estate agent can assist with your home search, but what about securing a loan? How do you find a mortgage professional you can trust to consider your best interests, help you select the right product, and guide you through each step of the home financing process? The following tips will help you conduct a thorough and efficient search for a lender you can rely on to help make your dreams of homeownership a reality!
Consult your Realtor
Tap into your Realtor’s professional network. Real estate professionals work closely with mortgage lenders on a regular basis, and will have a good sense of products and services available from different providers. Based on past work experience, familiarity with your financial background and goals, your Realtor is uniquely suited to recommend a mortgage professional who is qualified to serve your needs and preferences.
NMLS stands for the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. It is a web-based legal system of record for non-depository financial services licensing or registration. All mortgage loan advisors and brokers must be registered and have an NMLS#, as required by the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (SAFE Act). Once you obtain a mortgage professionals NMLS#, you can utilize the NMLS Consumer Access Website to verify some basic information. You can confirm if their registration and licensing are current and verify contact information, office location and the name of the company they are authorized to represent.
Go beyond your network and check the online reputation of the professionals on your short list. Check customer review sites, like Yelp, Google+ and Facebook, to hear what other clients have to say about their experience. Honest feedback from real customers can give you an insider’s perspective on working with that loan advisor, and help guide your decision in choosing the professional that best fits your needs.
You don’t have to actually submit a complete loan application to just ask questions. Reach out to a mortgage professional you are interested in working with. Attempt to contact them in the manner in which you prefer to communicate, whether it’s phone, email or even text. If the loan advisor is hard to reach, you have a pretty clear indication of what your service experience could be like.
What to Ask
Think about what you really need from a loan advisor, both in terms of product and services, and ask questions based on those hot buttons. What type of special expertise matters to you? Are you a first time homebuyer or a more sophisticated real estate investor? Are you self-employed with a complicated income stream? Are you looking for low down payment options? Do you qualify for a government-backed loan, such as VA, FHA, or USDA? Do you need a jumbo loan that exceeds conforming loan limits?
Ask what you can expect from the process. What tools and resources are available to help you along the way? How will you communicate with each other? If you like to meet in person, make sure that option is available. If you prefer the convenience of online, digital paperwork submission, ask about access to technology throughout the process. Essentially, you should ask about any detail that is important to you.
Search for a loan advisor near you and ask how we can help make that dream house…your home!