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Ask a Principal Broker: How to Choose a Lender

Mortgage Lending By Catherine Fisher, Managing Principal Broker/Owner

If you are planning to refinance your current home, or finance a new home purchase, it is essential that you work with a lending professional that will get the results you desire. But how do you pick a mortgage lender? Here’s what to look for:

Local – The single most important thing to do is choose a lender that is local to you. You may not need to physically meet with the lender, but you should be able to drive to their office within 30 minutes, if necessary. Local lenders work hard to maintain their reputation with local real estate brokers, so they will likely work harder than their out of area colleagues. Local real estate brokers, in return, trust these pre-approvals more. Your offer will be seen as firmer than an offer with an out of area lender. Additionally, if there is a problem near or at closing, the lender is available to you. There is nothing more frustrating in the real estate sale process than having a lender that is unavailable after 1:30pm or 2pm because they are located on the East Coast.

Easily accessible underwriting team – Just like you want to be able to reach your lender easily, you want the lender to be able to contact their underwriting team easily and quickly. Ask the lender where their underwriters are located. If they are not on the West Coast, keep looking. Ideally, the underwriting team will be located in Oregon.

Offers a variety of programs – There are dozens of different lending programs put out by dozens of different banks. While many are very similar, they are not all alike. Your personal financial situation may be similar to other peoples’, but you are likely not exactly alike. Choose a lender that offers numerous programs and looks to find the best one for you individually. By not trying to force a loan program to fit you, you will save money!

Excellent track record – Choose a lender that local real estate brokers not only recommend but use personally. Brokers are not allowed any kickbacks of any kind; if a broker uses a specific lender, it is because the broker knows the lender is the best.

Rates and fees – Last but not least, do not only look at the rate to determine who is cheapest. If you look only at the rate, you might miss high closing costs that make the total costs higher. Ask all lenders you are considering to provide you with the Good Faith Estimate. Compare the closing costs and monthly payments. Ask the lenders to explain why their fees are cheaper. If they can’t, or won’t, keep looking.

The best lender will determine which of their loan programs is the best for you, explain why, review all fees and costs and be available to you. Call your favorite Town & Country Realty broker in Albany at 541-924-5616 or in Corvallis at 541-7571781 today for suggestions of great local lenders to help you with your refinance or purchase. You will be glad you did!