Click. You take a deep breath and smile as you turn the key in the lock and swing open the front door. After years of dreaming about and working toward this day, it has finally arrived: you are now a homeowner.
It does take effort to accomplish this goal, but you won’t be taking on the task alone. You may work with a Realtor, and you will work closely with your mortgage lender. So, how do you know if you are choosing the mortgage loan partner that is right for you? Here are some tips to keep in mind.
The mortgage loan officer
While you will be shopping mortgage products and rates, you should also take into consideration the person who will be responsible for helping you make your dream of home ownership come true. It never hurts to talk to several mortgage lenders and look for these qualities in the mortgage loan officer:
- Knowledgeable. Does the person show a high level of knowledge about all things mortgage-related? You are undoubtedly going to have questions, so you want someone who will be able to answer them.
- Honest. Does the person seem to be “beating around the bush” or is he or she straightforward? A good mortgage loan officer is going to be upfront and let you know whether it is likely that you will qualify. And, if you don’t qualify, they are going to be willing to help you develop a plan to eventually achieve your goal.
- Responsive. You don’t want someone who takes forever to respond to your inquiries. You can usually get a good idea of a person’s responsiveness with the initial contact you make with them. You also want someone who will take the initiative, without being pushy.
- Communication skills. Does the person have the ability to explain the mortgage process and product types in language that is easy to understand? You will want a mortgage loan officer who doesn’t rush and takes the time to ensure you are clear about the process each step of the way.
- Organized. Obtaining a mortgage loan will require A LOT of paperwork, so you want someone who is organized. When you turn over the pay stubs, bank statements, etc. that you have gathered, you don’t want those documents to be misplaced on someone’s desk.
- Comfort level. Basically, does the person make you feel comfortable and as if your homebuying experience is their top priority.
The mortgage loan
When it’s time to start loan shopping, you will definitely want to compare loans to find the one that’s right for you. Having the right mortgage loan officer can be a major benefit in helping you choose the best loan for your needs. Expect the lender to talk with you about the amount of debt you already have and how much of a monthly payment you can afford. That will enable him or her to then discuss:
The types of mortgage loans available and the benefits of each for your particular situation
- Specific underwriting characteristics that may help you to qualify for a particular loan
- The fees and closing costs associated with each loan
- Loan rates (although keep in mind that mortgage rates often change from day-to-day)
- Any grant programs that might assist you with a down payment
At first, it may seem there are an overwhelming number of loan options, and you may not be sure where to begin. If so, that’s when you will be grateful for a mortgage loan officer who can walk you through your options, assist you in determining the right fit and help you make your dream of homeownership a reality.
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