How Can I Find a Good Loan Officer?
Finding a good loan officer can be as simple as getting referrals from friends or real estate agents. However, it really is important to do your research because even a good loan officer may not have access to the loan program that may be best for you.
It is important to understand that there are many good loan officers out there. The lending industry has been demonized since the housing bubble in 2008. Lenders and loan officers were the scape goats of the decisions made by a few individuals at the top in both the financial world, as well as in politics. It is for that reason why many people do not trust loan officers at times and there is a hesitation or reluctance to even have a conversation with a loan officer.
Finding a good loan officer is not that hard. However, finding a good loan officer who also has access to the unique program that fits you best is a little more difficult. That is why we are here.
The Key Things to Look for In a Loan Officer
- Responsiveness and Communication
- Access to All of The Programs
- Offers Options
- Confidence in Your Loan Scenario
- Positive Feedback from Others
Loan Officer is Responsive and Communicates Well
Your real estate agent may tell you this is the most important thing about a loan officer because they always want to know what is happening with their loan. They have seen deals get crushed too often because the lender was unable to come through when initially that lender may have assured everyone that there was no risk.
If a loan officer is communicating with you extensively and is responding to your questions in a timely manner, then you can assume that this high level of communication will continue throughout the entire process. However, if you are struggling to get answers in the initial states of your discussions, then that should be a bit of a red flag.
Loan Officer Has Access to All of The Loan Programs
This may be one of the most important aspects in looking for a good loan officer. Not every loan officer works for a lender who has access to all the programs that are available. Not everyone needs a conventional 30 year fixed loan with 20% down. In fact, I rarely see those loan opportunities now. I have friends who work for the big banks like Chase or Bank of America. They are extremely limited in what they can offer you.
Have you ever been shopping for something and the salesman tries to fit you into something that is not right for you simply because he or she does not actually have what you need? This is exactly what happens with mortgages too. So, you may have found a great loan officer and he or she may be wonderful to work with and comes highly recommended. However, if you are self employed for example and cannot document your income, only a fraction of the loan officers out there have a program for you.
Loan Officer Offers Options
You want the loan officer to offer you various options with not only the loan programs that I referenced above, but also your down payment options. You may have options to eliminate the need for PMI. Possibly various down payment options. I recently wrote an article on how to get an FHA loan without using any of your own money. These are the things that a good loan officer will also discuss with you.
Loan Officer Has Confidence in Your Loan Scenario
Have you ever spoken to someone and they did not sound very confident in what he or she was saying? Listen for the confidence in whether your loan scenario has a shot at getting approved. If this loan officer is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, then speak to another lender. You want to hear “yes, this is not a problem. I help people with your situation to get a loan like this every week”. What you don’t want to hear is “well, we will have to see what the underwriters say. It is in God’s hands”. If your realtor heard that, he or she would have a heart attack.
Positive Feedback from Others
Receiving positive feedback about a loan officer is great and can help to make your decision. However, this should actually be the last deciding factor which is why I listed it last here. A friend or your realtor may suggest that you use someone but like I mentioned above, that loan officer or the loan programs may not be right for you.
There are thousands of loan officers out there and you don’t have to just go with the person that someone has recommended to you without doing your own homework. You use that recommendation as just one of your options.
Here is an analogy that you may be able to relate to. You tell a friend that you are thinking about buying a new car. Your friend tells you that she bought a Honda Accord from this great sales person, loves it and thinks you should work with that sales person too. Do you go out and buy a Honda from that salesman without checking any of the other vehicles in the market? You may be a contractor who actually needs a pickup truck and Honda does not even offer those.
So, positive feedback is great but let that be just one component of your decision making process.
How do you find a good loan officer if you are not going to rely solely on recommendations?
My answer to that is to lean on others within the lending industry. We know who the good loan officers are and whether they are able to help with your loan scenario. It is a relationship building process that has been developed for a long time. Your realtor knows a handful of lenders within a few miles of his or her office. We (and other companies like us) have been connected to individuals all over the US who can help with your loan in your state. Some of these good loan officers are licensed in many states. It is simply a larger pool of loan officers and lenders to choose from.
Can You Find a Good Loan Officer by Reading Online Reviews?
It really is not an effective way to find a good loan officer. First, reviews are typically done on the big lenders and not necessarily their individual loan officers. Only the larger lenders will have reviews. In this business, bigger is not better. In fact, some would argue that bigger is worse when it comes to lenders. Wells Fargo for example now has a reputation of being so big that they don’t care about their customers. We are about to pull all of our accounts from them and I would never think to get a mortgage from that company. They are big though and probably have a lot of positive reviews that you can find. Good luck getting a mortgage with bad credit from them.
Should I Use the Loan Officer that My Realtor Recommends? You should interview that loan officer along with others that you find on your own. Never just rely on the one your realtor is suggesting.
Can I Rely on Reviews to Find a Loan Officer? You should read them but don’t rely on them. Reviews should be used to eliminated candidates and not used as a reason to select a loan officer. There are thousands of good loan officers who do not have a spot online where you can even write a review for them.
Please share your experiences below. What have you done to find a good