Not long ago, I shared how hard it’s been trying to buy a house in Charlotte. It’s been over a month and progress has been made, but I’m still couch-surfing and braving extended stay hotels as problem after problem arises around closing. Not trying to point fingers here (except I totally am), but most of my headaches are a direct result of the mortgage company I chose.
I never want to go through this again and I definitely don’t want anyone else to have to go through this, so I sat down with my friend Paul Carini of Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. to get his insider advice on avoiding headaches by choosing the right lender from the start. The first step? Choosing a loan originator.
What is a loan originator?
A loan originator is your main point of contact throughout the mortgage process. They’re the person who gets you pre-approved (something most real estate agents will make you do before showing you houses), lines up rate quotes and generally manages your loan process.
How do I choose a loan originator to work with?
Shop around for mortgage rates the old school way – calling direct. Online rates from sites like LendingTree often won’t be specific to your situation. Calling is also a great way to make sure the loan originator is someone you want to work with. Pay attention to how quickly they get back to you and if they take the time to call, as well as email. This person is responsible for one of the largest purchases you’ll make – if they don’t have time for you during the sale process of the loan, things will only get worse as the underwriting process commences.
What questions should I ask?
Make sure to ask the loan originator how long it will take to complete your loan and get the appraisal back. You want someone who can get the appraisal back in under two weeks so your loan closes within 30 days. Ask what products they recommend for you and why. Finally, make sure to ask for payment comparisons with other programs.
What should I prepare before shopping for quotes?
To make the process quick and easy, have two years worth of tax returns and W2’s or 1099’s, a month’s worth of pay stubs and two months of bank statements.
Anything else I should know?
Get a loan originator recommendation from your friends, family and/or co-workers. At the end of the day, a loan originator is in sales and will say whatever it takes to close the deal. It’s always good to talk to a loan originator recommended by a non-compensated, non-affiliated person.