Today’s market climate has opened great opportunities for buying property. Rates are competitive, and buyers can obtain many different financing options. Depending on your credit score, you might have to go through the FHA, but that’s one way you can purchase property with as little as 3.5 percent down payment.
Unless you can buy a home outright with cash, you’ll need to work with a lender. A lender facilitates your goal of obtaining that American Dream. Dealing with a lender is a big commitment, which makes finding a great one all the more important. I spoke to a few lender friends of mine, and here are the traits that separate the great ones from the mediocre.
1. Strong Communication
I knew of a buyer that was once told by their lender, “You can’t communicate with me too much.” A good lender needs to stay on top of the buyer’s communication needs. Some buyers, for example, would want regular updates and correspondence.
The lender should familiarize himself with your financial standing. Any decisions you both agree on should be based on a realistic and big-picture plans, all the way to retirement. But remember, communication is a give-and-take deal. You need to be clear about your needs as well.
You need to pick a lender that’s going to be honest with you. Honesty and transparency are some of the traits people look for in a business now. The public has become jaded with recent issues surrounding big banks and other financial institutions. I see this as an opportunity for lenders to show their clients a clearer picture of their opportunities and financial standings.
It takes a great lender to tell you when that dream house you’ve been eyeing isn’t within your means. Lenders need to be up front about what they think you can or cannot afford, and set you on the right path.
A buyer told me recently that they asked the lender to qualify them for a crazy amount that they probably shouldn’t have even considered. The lender asked them, “Do you own any jewelry?” They were going to use that to qualify for the loan. These are the types of things that get people into trouble.
Being upfront doesn’t have to mean closing the door on you. A smart lender will be able to find appropriate financing options for you.
Avoid lenders with a reputation of leaving calls or messages unanswered for over a day. You want someone you can easily reach, and someone who will get back to you in a timely manner.
I want to reiterate that communication is really important, especially now that people want instant gratification. Ask the lender what lines of communication they have, and tell them what you prefer. Most professionals nowadays use a variety of channels including texts, emails, IMs and old-fashioned calls.
Finding the lender for you
I posted on my Facebook timeline recently:
“Realtors are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
That also applies to lenders. There are a few bad ones mixed with the good. People sometimes put too much blind faith in their lenders right away. You have to do your due diligence. Online review sites such as Yelp and Zillow are a good place to start. Ask the potential lender for references and call them. Interview at least three prospects.
Finally, you can also use me as a referral resource. Give me a call or email, and I’ll be glad to refer you to someone. I have a list of lenders I have worked with in the past and fully trust.