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I'm a little later to reply to this thread, but I think that it is critically important for buyers to get the mortgage lending part of their home search correct. It is the glue that holds your ability to purchase a property with a mortgage loan together.
I've been a real estate broker for 8+ years in the Chicago market, and I've got less than 5 mortgage loan originators to whom I'd ever refer you with confidence. One of them has been mentioned in this thread multiple times and his name is Sam Sharp with Guaranteed Rate.
I've seen Sam's work up close and personal, and I am a colleague of Wayne Beals (and have been for the last 8 years as we started at the same real estate brokerage within about 1 month of each other).
As real estate brokers were are encouraged when asked questions like these to provide consumers with at least 3 names of referrals (which I will do below). I'll give you my top 3, but the first 2 are my interchangeable 1 and 2 lenders. They are the best at programs, rates, and service (not necessarily in that order). They are not exactly the same, but your experience with them will be uniformly good. I have NEVER had a dissatisfied client that I've referred to them in the last 8 years.
Sam Sharp, Vice President of Mortgage Lending Retail Division
(312) 217-4030 (C)
(773) 290-0455 (ph)
(773) 516-6056 (f)
Daniel F Larkin
Divisional VP National Sales
Main Street Financial, Inc
1111 W. 22nd St
Oakbrook, IL 60523
1555 Naperville-Wheaton Rd.
Naperville, IL 60563
630-388-1300 x 253 (ph)
They're all excellent, but Sam and Dan are truly a cut above all others. Good luck to you.
Broker Associate, Keller Williams Realty Chicago Consulting Group
716 E. 47th St. Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 770-5947 (cell) (312) 577-0985 (fax)
You have a two part question here.
As far as rates go:
You'll find that rates are competitive between most mortgage banks. They are all shopping each other all the time, and because the prevailing rates are such a media magnet these days with record lows, over charging on rates is a recipe for no business. This doesn't mean you shouldn't shop the products from various lenders though. There's lots of diferences out there. Programs like homepath, homepath renovation, FHA 203K, FHA 203B, conventional conforming, portfolio lending, FHA, FHA Jumbo....the list goes on and on. The most important thing a lender can do in my opinion, is to offer a very broad spectrum pf products and understand them well. This will help the buyer by allowing them to use one lender for FHA,conventional and renovation lending products. Not every property qualifies for all mortgage products. For example, you're shopping for the perfect move in condition home. After 10 showings, you run across the perfect home, in the perfect location at a ridiculous price. There's just one problem. The prior owner absconded with the kitchen, furnace and plumbing. It's a multiple offer situation, Saturday, and your lender doesn't offer a rehab loan product...as you scramble to get pre-approved with a lender who has what you need, the seller accepts another offer.
Furthermore, you'll want to ask questions like:
"Is your underwriting in house?"
"Does your company fund the loan, or are you a broker?"
"When can I expect a good faith estimate?"
"Do you charge points?"
"When is best to lock my rate?"
"What happens when I need a rate lock extension?"
"Who services my loan after closing?"
If it's a construction loan: "Who inspects work for payment of my contractor?"
As you can see, there are a lot of potential questions for a loan officer, and you want to makes sure the individual you are choosing to work with has a good grasp of what they do.
This leads us into service:
I will say that I agree completely with the previous comments. It's the loan officer, not the company. I can attest to this with wildly varied experiences with different LO's at the same bank. In terms of service, you want an LO (loan officer) that thoughtfully analyzes your needs and carefully assembles your mortgage file, communicates well with you, your agent, attorney and everyone in the transaction. You want an LO that is committed to a fast response (like when you really need that pre-approval adjusted to get you offer in when there are multiple offers). You want an LO that has a great reputation. Reputation is everything in the business and when my sellers see an LO they don't trust on a pre-approval, they don't trust the offer. You LO must have good relationships in the real estate community. Unknown LO's and LO's with a rep for over-promising and not being able to deliver make it harder for a buyer to get there offer taken seriously.
There's a lot to consider here, and I don't think there are 10 lenders left in the business that are worth doing business with, so I will give you my number 1:
Sam Sharp, Guaranteed Rate. We've had 20+ transactions together over three years. Sam's pre-approvals are highly regarded and Guaranteed Rate has a great product spectrum and in house underwriting. Sam is responsive, courteous, informative and meets my standards for customer service and professionalism. His number is 312-217-4030. There are other great lenders out there, but I can tell you with certainty that Sam goes the extra mile.
Best of luck!
Bill (below) is correct. It comes down to the individual loan officer. Rates change frequently and in any organization there can be loan officers who are more or less experienced. Use this thread and seek recommendations of quality loan professionals and you'll end up doing great.
And I have no bias in Illinois --- I can't originate in that state. :-)
First Centennial Mortgage is an excellent company that can get things done for you.
If you need any help, I'd be glad to assist.
Bill J Deligiannis
First Centennial Mortgage
Beyond that, it is important to interview and choose the loan officer who the most knowledgeable and gives you the best advise on loan programs that fit your short-term and long-term goals regarding the property. Additionally, it is important to work with the loan officer who has a strong grasp on what is going on in the mortgage market from day-to-day.
Feel free to view my Trulia profile for some of the feedback/comments of clients I have met and helped with a mortgage on Trulia Q&A.
Guaranteed Rate, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Fifth Third Bank are a few companies that my buyers have been very satisfied with. They are creative in matching a mortgage product that best fits the individual buyer's needs with the lowest possible rates and their customer service has received excellent ratings. Please call me at 312-399-0147 or e mail me email@example.com and we can further discuss specifics of your condo search needs and I can also supply you with contact information for some of the mortgage brokers that my past clients have been satisfied with.
Koenig & Strey
900 North Michigan Avenue Suite 1700
Chicago, Illinois 60611
However you should shop around to find someone you are comfortable with.
A nd N Mortgage
Chicago Financail Services
These are not listed in any specific order - just as a general resources for reputable companies. I would be happy to be 1 of your choices should you decide to give us a shot. Feel free to look my information up on various sights such as Yelp
Senior VP of Mortgage Lending
773 290 0455