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VIDEO: 7 signs you picked the right lender

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If at all possible, we recommend choosing a mortgage lender before you ever choose a realtor and start looking at houses. A mortgage lender can get most of the red tape out of the way in advance. Once you get prequalified for a loan, you’ll have financial backing as a buyer, and you’ll know how much you can afford to spend.

In the time it takes to order your coffee, you can get prequalified online.

But even if you’ve already chosen your realtor, as so many homebuyers do when they first think about buying a house, you can still maintain your forward motion. According to a 2016 Freddie Mac survey, 84 percent of real estate agents make it a practice to refer their clients to a lender they’ve successfully worked with in the past whenever any financing questions arise.

This study highlights how realtors and loan officers continue to work to maintain such a great partnership in the homebuying process: We’ll take care of the money matters, and your realtor will take care of the house hunt. This give‐and‐take benefits you as the buyer.

You can also use our free LoanFly app to help bridge this gap — by searching for and saving homes to show your realtor while simultaneously tracking your loan status.

For extra credit: 14 questions every good lender should be able to answer

Maybe your realtor referred you to a mortgage lender, or maybe you’ve been searching for one on your own. Community reputation and customer reviews count — in a national Stratmor Group survey, our customers rated their Cornerstone experience at 96 out of 100 — but you also want to ensure that your loan officer knows what they’re talking about.

Ask these 14 deal‐breaker questions to the lenders you meet with, and compare how they respond:

  1. Can you help me achieve my short and long‐term financing goals?
  2. How long have you been in business?
  3. What are you known for in your industry?
  4. Who does your processing, underwriting, and funding?
  5. Can I prequalify online?
  6. What kind of customer service reviews do you have?
  7. Can you explain and estimate your fees?
  8. Which loan program do you recommend for me?
  9. What’s my estimated interest rate?
  10. How much money will I need to put down?
  11. How long will it take to process my loan application?
  12. What can I expect to pay at closing?
  13. How long will my closing take?
  14. How can I know this is the most competitive loan rate?

It sounds kind of funny to talk about your mortgage lender like you would a good friend, but that’s exactly what we hope to be by closing day.

Click here to get in touch with a loan officer who will treat you like family.

Working with a lender isn’t just a strategic partnership. It’s a mutual relationship with a skilled mortgage professional. With that in mind, we recommend screening any potential loan officers you meet with based on the criteria above. Their answers, and how welcome they make you feel, should make it easy to pick an experienced lender you like and that you can trust.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.