When you start your journey to homeownership, it’s important to have someone who can easily guide you through the process and help you over the hurdles. With a trusted mortgage professional by your side, the home financing process can be smooth and efficient. Without the guidance of a good mortgage professional however, the process can be frustrating, time-consuming and perhaps even costly. In this post, we’ll offer a few tried-and-true tips for finding the right mortgage professional.

Ask for references

Before you sign on with a particular lender, broker or mortgage company, ask to see some references from your potential loan officer. They ought to be able to provide you with at least a handful of satisfied borrowers they’ve worked with in the past. If they can’t, or if they seem to continually “forget” to get you that information, take it as a red flag.

Get referrals from friends/family

Chances are you have at least one or two friends or relatives who have had a good experience with their mortgage lender. If you know of anyone who recently bought a home, refinanced or invested in rental property, ask them about their experience with their mortgage professional. Was working with him/her a good experience? Were they professional, prompt, courteous, and good at communicating? If the answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ ask your friend or relative for the loan professional’s contact information.

Look up licensing information

Mortgage lenders are required to follow strict rules and regulations when it comes to how they conduct business. That’s why lenders must have certain licensure credentials in order to do business in specific states. For example, if an out-of-state relative refers you to a lender they had a great experience with, make sure that lender is licensed to do business in your state. Even if you are doing all your business electronically (over the phone, through email, etc.), they are still doing business in the state which you are purchasing/refinancing the home.

Consider pricing/mortgage rates

Of course, we all want to save some money when and where we can; however, don’t let rock bottom rates be the only reason for choosing a mortgage professional. Oftentimes these super low “teaser rates” are misleading and are designed that way by lenders on purpose. The idea is to entice borrowers to contact them and once they make the connection, the sales pitch begins. Instead, look for a lender offering reasonable yet competitive rates, but who also has a proven history of customer satisfaction.

Consider time

In real estate and mortgage financing, the term “time being of the essence” is used quite a bit. When looking for a mortgage professional, consider whether or not they will be able to handle your loan processing/underwriting in the time allowed for your situation. It may be difficult for you to know how your mortgage professional manages their time until you’re already working with them, but there are a few warning signs to look for in your initial meetings. Did the mortgage professional take several days to return your first phone call/email? Did he or she show up late to your first in-person meeting? If the answer to any of these is yes, it may be a sign that this mortgage “professional” is not one you want to work with if you’re in a hurry – which most home buyers are.

A true mortgage professional will clearly but politely let you know right off the bat if he or she has a full workload. Then, he or she can refer you to a colleague, or offer to meet with you at a later time when their schedule allows.

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