Iâ€™m amazed at how often people shop for a loan based on rate and fees to save a few hundred dollars on a transaction worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. To be honest, itâ€™s ludicrous. Here is what I look for in a lender (and notice my answer does not address rates or feesâ€¦):
1. Can I contact them by phone, email and text not only during business hours, but evenings and weekends?
You would think this is a no brainer â€“ I need to be able to reach the lender when my clients are in my car â€¦ when I need answers. This pretty much wipes out all Internet lenders.
2. Will I get a timely response to any and all questions? I want to hear back within an hour â€“ max.
The current market is moving SO fast, I need answers right away. And once we get into escrow, to stay on target with all deadlines, I need immediate access so we can get any issues resolved now. Just try that with a lender in Florida â€¦ or Kansas â€¦
3. Do they have the ability to track the loan all the way through underwriting?
Once a loan leaves the desk of the loan agent at an institution like Bank of America, it goes into a cosmic black hole we refer to as â€œthe abyss.â€ And like a black hole, everything goes in, but nothing comes out. I want a lender who has instant access to â€œin-houseâ€ underwriting.
4. Do they use a pool of local appraisers who have a track record of bringing appraisals in at value, or do they use appraisers who travel in from outside-the-area and do not have a clue about local values?
This is critical â€“ weâ€™ve been burned SO many times by out-of-area appraisers.
Ironically, I have a lender whom I totally trust and who has consistently delivered for years â€“ in fact, Iâ€™ve grown to appreciate him so much that I wrote the following post:
I WISH You Would Use My Lender - 6 Critical Reasons Why You Should
Stay away from online lenders like QuickenLoans. Nothing worse than dealing with an online lender who has someone to take the application, another to look for loans, another to actually deal with the underwriter, etc. So if you call/email, you get a totally different person each time. Furthermore, some of these online "specialists" may not have the finesse nor the manners (there's a certain level of "anonymity" on the phone).
Invariably, the problems we have have been due to lenders who were difficult to get hold of, unreliable and unresponsive and don't have the sense of urgency.
Your realtor will have recommendations --- lenders they trust to be resourceful, reliable and responsive.
If your lender can not perform per the contract you could loose your appraisal & home inspection fees, the house you are trying to purchase, and worst yet your deposit you put into escrow.
Many buyers think only rate and fees are important and overlook performance.
Good Luck to you.
We all get our money from the same place and, basically, money should cost you the same where ever you go. So for me, it is about this:
1. Knowledge of product
2. Communication (do they answer emails and calls in a timely matter)
3. Organization can they put your package together with ease; asking you for the correct documentation up front.
4. Trust. Do you feel comfortable with that person
5.All boils down to professionalism.