You'd want to start off interviewing a few loan officers which just means talking to them and asking as many questions as you can think of that you want to know about mortgage financing when buying a home - easy questions, difficult questions, scenario questions.
You'll want to ask what the pre-approval process entails and how long it takes. Will the underwriter who will be allowing your loan to close be the person reviewing your file as part of that process? Will it just be the loan officer reviewing your information? Will they even ask you for documentation?
You'll also want to ask what types of programs they offer, and once your documentation has been thoroughly examined you'd want to get what options would then apply to you, as well as ask what your loan officer thinks would be the best loan program for your situation.
You'll want to ask what type of fees & costs you could expect to incur along the way (credit report, earnest money deposit, home inspection, appraisal fee, closing costs, etc.), how much those costs are estimated to be, and when they are expected to be paid (at the time the service is performed, at closing, etc).
You'll also want to ask what type of loan terms can they offer you if you were to lock in your interest rate today. On the same day (preferably within minutes), ask all loan officers you are interviewing to send you their rates in writing for the same lock period (ex. 30 days) so you can see how many points (if any) or lender credit (if any) you will be getting for a range of interest rates (not just 4.500%, but ask for 4.000%, 4.125%, 4.250%, 4.375%, 4.500%, 4.625%, etc. so you can see how paying points affects your interest rate). You should also ask when your interest rate can be locked in (once an address is known, at submission to underwriting, once your loan is approved, etc).
You should also ask when & how they will be available - are you someone who likes to discuss things after the normal work hours on the phone? In person on a Saturday? Through email? If you like to have everything in writing to reference, but your loan officer can't put together explanations in writing to save their lives, then that may pose an issue. If you like to be able to drive to your loan officer's office quickly with an meat cleaver in hand looking for blood when things go wrong - then someone who lives far away will have a bigger head start than someone around the corner.
There are more variables to think of, some will be important to you and others will not, however I truly believe that you will have a feeling inside of you of pure comfort when you have found the loan officer who will be the perfect fit. You will leave the conversation having a full understanding of the road ahead and what is expected of you, as well as you'll feel the loan officer has left no stone unturned when going over your situation.
Picking a loan officer is a prudent decision, make sure the loan officer you pick is prudent about you.
Gabino Barrera Jr.
23705 Crenshaw BLVD. Suit 101
Torrance, CA 90505
License by the State of California Department of Corporations under the California Residential Mortgage Act
1. Individual recommendations/testimonials.
2. Company BBB rating.
As someone else mentioned, you may also be eligible for other programs too or may even some down payment assistance or a first time buyer program. Once again, choose your lender and MLO very carefully because that is a decision that can literally make or break your whole transaction that will ultimately get you to the closing table. I'm including a link to my blog where I wrote a series of posts about this exact scenario - choosing your lender and MLO. I highly recommend it.
Dare to Dream.
Shel-lee Davis, QSCÂ®
Certified Distressed Property Expert â€“ CDPEÂ®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource â€“ SFRÂ®
Certified HAFA Specialist â€“ CHSÂ®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
Best of luck