“Did you just say you’re thinking about buying a house?”
With that one simple acknowledgment that you are ready to start looking, mortgage lenders seem to pop up everywhere. And while it is nice to have choices, making a good choice is hard, especially if some of those choices are family or friends. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t choose someone just because they are in your circle. Here are 5 things to look for in a Tampa Bay lender.
Small or Large Lender?
Large lenders tend to have more resources and might be able to offer the best interest rates. With that said, they aren’t all warm and fuzzy like a small lender is who delivers more customize service to your loan. For someone new to borrowing, the process is overwhelming and you may want that extra handholding through the closing process.
Additionally, smaller lenders tend to have more flexibility in lending programs and approval where large institutions must adhere to strict standards. It may be more difficult if you have any issues with credit or debt-to-income ratios to find a large lender who will work with you while smaller lenders offer more flexibility.
Ask About Closing Times
Closing on time is a big deal. There are a lot of things at stake to make sure lenders have a good reputation when it comes to funding loans. Large institutions can sometimes get so big that files get stuck in underwriting departments who are overloaded, slowing down the process of closing. Sellers can get antsy and move on.
Ask around and check online reviews to see if your lender has any potential problems with closing loans in Tampa Bay. Note that good lenders want to pre-approve borrowers to expedite the process once an offer is made and accepted on a home. Do your part but also make sure the lender has the reputation to do his.
There is a lot going on with a mortgage loan and financial records are constantly being updated and verified once the loan goes to the underwriter. Look for a loan officer who responds to emails and phone calls quickly. While they don’t need to be available 24/7, you do want someone who will get back to you within business hours if you have questions or need to confirm that documentation is received.
Note that you don’t have to stay with a lender just because you started the process with them. If you feel that you just got the attention until you submitted the application and now are just another number, shop for another lender. You can have two loan applications going through the process at the same time. Just know that each lender will pull your credit and need all the documentation for their own file.
What Types of Loans Are Offered?
Good lenders are able to find the right loan for each client. New homeowners might benefit from the flexible lending standards and low down payment options of federally insured loans such as the FHA, VA or USDA loans. But these are not the only options. Ask your lender about the variety of conventional loan options they offer as well.
Don’t ignore some other creative methods of using second mortgages or seller’s credits to help finalize the loan. If your lender isn’t talking to you about options, he might be limited to what he can offer which means you might not be getting the perfect loan for you.
Fees are important when buying a home. They can be thousands of dollars. Yet many online lenders are offering loan origination fees or no point options. Saving money on fees might be the budget for buying new furniture or appliances once you move in. Ask your lender about their fees and compare them with other lenders. Don’t be afraid to negotiate fees with a lender that meets all your other needs but is just a bit too expensive. They are sales representatives and when possible will try to work with you to earn your business.