If you’re ready to hold your nose, close your eyes, and leap into the home mortgage process, you have a lot of decisions to make on the way down. One of the big ones involves the mortgage lender with which you’ll ultimately partner. Here in Reno, there are national banks and local banks and credit unions who will compete fiercely for your business. And then there’s the seemingly limitless options you’ll find online. Programs and interest rates will vary only somewhat from one company to the next, so does it matter which lender manages your loan? It does, actually. Here’s what really sets mortgage lenders apart.
The Most Important Trait of a Mortgage Lender
These days, it’s not really about the lender’ s brick-and-mortar location. It’s not even about specifics like loan points and interest rates, because every lender is doing their best to be competitive. The most important trait of a mortgage lender is their level of customer service. Above all, you should find a lender and a loan officer that put you first. This means you enjoy the benefit of working directly with someone who takes personal responsibility for your loan, and who has extensive, demonstrable experience of doing exactly that. This level of customer service is recognizable in a few ways:
- Your lender is an ace communicator, responding to you in a timely manner and proactively reaching out as needed.
- Your lender ensures all necessary documents are delivered promptly.
- Your lender has the experience to foresee and avoid potential complications.
- Your lender oversees the entire loan application process completely and thoroughly, meeting all deadlines along the way.
When you really think about it, mortgage lending is still a highly personalized business. Automation and streamlining aside, this is an industry that’s all about good customer service. Unfortunately, that’s not always delivered. A quick online search quickly reveals the scores of unhappy people who put up with way too much in pursuit of that mortgage. And in the hopes of sparing you the same fate, here’s what the Cushing Team in Reno suggests.
It’s not a deal-breaker to work with a lender outside of your area, but consider the benefits of someone local. First, you have the advantage of working in the same time zone, which can be critical when you’re navigating deadlines and tight turnaround times. Working with someone local is also an advantage in the event the home you’re after receives multiple offers. A pre-approval letter from someone the agent likely knows here in the community puts you in a good spot.
And then there’s the matter of appraisals. Again, choosing a lender who lives and works in the same community means they’re better positioned to pick an appraiser with the right experience. The alternative – someone chosen off the web from your lender across the country – could have dire consequences.
A Personal Choice
In the end, finding a good lender is one of those instinctual decisions. Ask around – your agent will have a recommendation, and family or friends who have recently purchased a home may have one as well. Once you have a few names, spend some time looking online for third-party reviews (and keep in mind that they may not all be authentic). And then, reach out directly to get a feel for a lender’s understanding of the biggest part of the mortgage loan process – exceptional customer service.