What to keep in mind when picking a lender to buy your next home

When deciding to purchase a home, the second most important question one can ask after, “Is Jason and The Ford Group available to help me buy my home?” is  “Who is going to be my Lender?” After all, getting a great rate and payment are almost as important as where you are going to live. When considering lenders, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Knowledge of programs and the community is key

The name of the bank is not as important as what programs they offer and how knowledgeable they are in your market.  A bank that only has branches in Idaho and does not typically do transactions in the state of Ohio is going to have a hard time getting your lone done on time.  They may not be familiar with bond money that is available in Ohio and the requirements for it.  That is not to say a large national bank can’t do the loan, and do it well, just make sure the person you are working with knows about the market in Columbus, Ohio.

Make sure you like them

You will spend the most time talking with me, your agent, followed closely by your lender. You had better find out whether or not you like to work with them.  Whomever that person is, they should be genuinely interested in you and your situation. They should ask questions to determine what your goals are in owning a home and where you want to be down the road. A really good lender is going to be the one that tells you not to buy a home if you are not financially ready and shows you how to take the steps to get ready. One that cares more about you and not how much money they will make is what to look for. In addition, they should be excited to hear from you and willing to help you make the best choice for your home purchase. Sometimes that will involve pointing out other types of loans that may work for your situation. They should become a partner in this process, not just the finance person.

Communication is a top priority

After location, location, location the number one question in finding a home should be do they follow up, follow up, follow up?  As the loan process becomes more and more complicated. Knowing how the lender is going to handle follow up becomes more and more important. Are they willing to work with me, your Realtor?  Do they send out weekly updates as to the status of the loan and where it is in the process? Do they have a process in place that is going to allow them to close your loan on time? I have found that the very best of the lenders have great follow up and essentially help to keep the transaction on pace.

What are the rates?

The last piece to the puzzle when considering a lender is what kind of rates do they have. Most people think that this is the most important, but I disagree. Most lenders are going to be close in rates, but there is nothing wrong with checking a few different lenders. Just make sure that they meet all the criteria we have already discussed. Try to find a couple that are willing to work for you and see if you can get them to compete. Trust me when I say that if they have the best rate, but they can’t get the house closed on time and you lose out on your favorite home, you will not be happy!