William, it is funny to me! I respectfully disagree with almost everything you're saying. Your statement indicates that only a Realtor knows best as to closing costs and financial qualifications over a lender? I'm not sure what lenders you've worked with, but there is no way that a Realtor should know best when it comes to these sort of things over a lender, and if they do it only speaks to how poor of quality that particular lender is. In my opinion every good Realtor should know some about mortgages, every good Loan Officer should know some about the Realtor's end as well. But I would never consider myself more fit to answer Realtor questions over an actual Realtor.
As far as how a buyer can decide which Realtor or lender to work with, I'm not sure what website exists that a buyer can search through ALL the licensed Realtors and view their "experience records". Other than the actual MLS Realtors use, were one can search and see the actual trasactions Realtors worked on, which isn't available to the public by the way, there is nothing available out there. If you mean the actual websites to SOME of the major brokerage firms, that simply is not accurate. That would leave out every other firm that wouldn't fit your description of a "major brokerage". Good Realtors can work for smaller firms too!
I would also like to address this, you claim that Realtors know which mortgage professionals to refer buyers to, simply because their the ones at your office sales meetings, presentations and industry events? These are just Loan Officers that so happen to have a relationship with your broker and were invited or allowed to do presentations or Loan Officers you meet or run into at industry events, this does not make them exclusive to quality lenders, but rather exclusive to the lenders YOU know, 2 separate different things. How does a Loan Officer know which agents to refer their buyers to? The same way you do, I would refer buyers to those agents I've worked with and feel confident will service my clients the way I do, but it certainly doesn't make those agents I know the only good agents out there, buyers are always free to go with other agents who they may have been referred by friends or family. You're also incorrect by saying there is no website were you can view a Loan Officer's experience. Unlike Realtors, lenders have a universal website through the NMLS which has EVERY LOAN OFFICER's experience and licensing information available to the public.
With all this being said, nothing changes the fact that a buyers #1 step is to be pre-approved, so that means a buyer must meet with a Loan Officer first. How they meet that Loan Officer, that's obviously going to depend on who they run into or are referred to by their friends and family.