I googled “how to find a good Loan Officer” and doing that was not at all helpful.
The closest I got to helpful information was three different websites that tried to tell me how to find a good Loan Officer.
The problem was that all three of those websites started using Mortgageze (the arcane language of the mortgage business).
These websites used mortgage terms like “GFE” “Yield Spread Premium” and “float down” and “in house underwriting and in house docs”
If you are not in the mortgage business, odds are you have NO idea what those terms mean. Furthermore I will bet that you have no interest in becoming well versed in Mortgageze.
It can be helpful to become familiar with Mortgage terms and what they mean, however in my professional opinion all you really need is good Loan Officer who cares about thier client, to guide and shepherd you through the process of getting a mortgage who will charge a fair price for their time and service.
The good news is that you do not have to learn Mortgageze to find a good Loan Officer.
A long time ago, a friend and mentor of mine – Al, told me to “Keep It Simple Stupid” (KISS).
So here is a simple yet effective approach to finding a good Loan Officer.
#I Ask around – look for at least 2 potential Loan Officers.
Talk to your co-workers, your friends, your Realtor – and ask those people if they know of any good Loan Officers. In my experience recommendations from people you know and/or trust tend to work out well.
#II Set up a brief (10 minute) face to face interview with each of the 2 prospective Loan Officers– Once you have the names and phone numbers of at least two different prospective Loan Officers call them up. Tell them that you are needing a good Loan Officer to help you with getting a mortgage and tell that you would like to meet them for 10 minutes sometime soon to ask them a few questions.
Politely let them know that you will be meeting with 2 different Loan Officers (them and one other) and then choosing a Loan Officer to work with.
#III Meet with each of the 2 prospective Loan Officers for 10 minutes and ask them the following 4 questions.
Make sure to take a pad of yellow paper (to make notes on) to the interview and if you are a married man take your wife. (in my experience women tend to pick up on important things that are not said – I do not care if you call it women’s intuition or what, generally men who do not listen to their wife’s perspective on matters like this are missing out on an important resource).
Important point to remember – At this step in the process you do not need a mortgage you need to find a good Loan Officer who will help you with getting a mortgage.
The four questions to ask the two poesective Loan Officers are
Question #1 Why should I (we) do business with you?
Takes notes when they answer.
Question #2 Can you please tell me about your processor?
In my experience the most important person to work on your potential loan is the loan processor. A good processor will make a poor Loan Officer shine and a mediocre loan processor will make your experience getting a mortgage a nightmare!
Processors handle the nitty gritty of your loan, they handle and review most of the extensive paperwork and they gather needed the documents and documentation that lenders want to see before they approve your loan.
In my experience – most of the time, good Loan Officers make horrible loan processors. However I know a great Loan Officer in Salt Lake City, Utah, and another great Loan Officer in Salem, Oregon, who both process their own loans. However those two individuals are the rare exception not the norm.
Question #3 – Can you please tell me what it looks like when Loan Officer does not care about his or her clients?
Even today there are Loan Officers who do not seem to care about their clients. You want a Loan Officer who does care.
When the prospective Loan Officer answers question #3 listen for “heart”. If you are a married man who does not understand the importance of the previous sentence make sure that you take your wife to interview the 2 prospective Loan Officers you are considering doing business with.
Question #4 Do you have any reference letters from previous clients we can look at?
I know that it is “old school”, however I have found that usually, when a client is willing to actually sit down and write a reference letter for a Loan Officer, the Loan Officer is a pretty good one.
Once you have met with both of the prospective Loan Officers review the notes you wrote down on the yellow pad and see if you actually want to do business with one of those two. If so, call them up and make an appointment to meet with them, if not, find two more Loan Officers to brefily interview.
While the above advice is simple, it will work and it is basic enough that most people will be able to follow it.
I have spent about 8 years in the mortgage business as a mortgage professional both as a Loan Officer and as an Account Executive (AE) working for a wholesale mortgage lender.
If you are a looking for a Loan Officer let my years of mortgage experience work for you. Take my advice and make sure that the Loan Officer you work with is a good one.
If you are a Loan Officer meeting witha prospective client, show the prospective client this post and tell them your answers to the 4 questions above.
My other mortgage post is stevenshomler.com Great Advice for First Time Home Buyers
And don’t we know all too well how a processor can make/ break a mortgage loan. LOL.