Real Estate tips

Select the right loan officer
to make home buying easier

By Toni Pierce
Special to RoundAbout

Mortgages. Just saying the word makes most people have nightmares about the process they went through. Or sometimes the process seems like a big mystery. Buying, building or refinancing a home has never been easier than now. In addition, mortgage rates are still very low. But where does a potential borrower start when trying to decide who to use and what loan is right for them?

Toni Pierce

Toni Pierce

There are several ways to know if a bank or mortgage company is right for you. The starting point is finding a loan officer.This person should be able to:be friendly, honest and open to your situation; provide you a Good Faith Estimate based on the information you provided; offer several loan options to suit your needs or explain why you did not get approved and help you understand what you can do to get approved at a later date; answer all of your questions regarding financing a home.
If the loan officer you call cannot complete these items at a minimum, keep looking for someone who can. Just because you call a company does not mean you are required to have them pull your credit. Although when you do apply for a mortgage loan, you have a 14-day window to apply and have your credit pulled. During this period, each mortgage inquiry will only count as one inquiry and will not affect your credit score.
Keep in mind that if you do not allow the mortgage company to pull your credit report, the information they provide to you may not be accurate. The only way for a loan officer to give you a completely accurate quote is by pulling your credit report.
When a loan officer gives the borrower a quote, he should provide several scenarios. Most borrowers qualify for more than one type of loan. There are many options available to most borrowers, and it is important to explore the different options.
The loans that are available to this generation of home buyers are different from the loans offered to past generations. The loans available today are much better and benefit the customer more. Mortgage lending is constantly evolving and increasing the options available to the borrowers. Ten to 15 years ago, it was impossible to get a 100 percent loan on a mortgage loan. Since then, mortgage lending has seen PMI, or private mortgage insurance, come about to allow 100 percent financing.
Now in this decade we are seeing the 100 percent loans evolve into many different variations. Such variations include interest only options, 80/20 combos (where the 100 percent loan is split into two parts, and 8 percent first and a 20 percent second to avoid PMI).
The options for mortgage loans, whether buying, selling or building, are many. A good loan officer will guide you from beginning to end in the loan process, during which the borrower by the end of the loan, will be more educated about his mortgage and the loan process.
Any mortgage company can tell you what you want to hear, but try getting information in writing, ask a lot of questions and feel comfortable with the answers you get. Then you can feel confident with your choice of loan officers.
As a borrower, do not be afraid to explore the different choices in loans that are available to you. There might be a scenario that will fit better than the standard 30-year fixed rate mortgage. And even if there are no better options, you will know without a doubt that you are getting the best loan for your situation.
Ultimately, the choices are the borrower’s. It is up to the loan officer to provide the answers for the borrower to make good, educated decisions. The borrower should be in control of the loan he chooses. With the right information, home buying and refinancing can be easy.

• Toni Pierce and her husband, Wayne, own and operate Classic Mortgage in La Grange, Ky. Call them at (502) 222-8896 or visit: www.classicmortgageky.com.

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