Why should I contact a lender before I shop for a home?

The first step is to contact a lender to see if you qualify for a mortgage. Interview your lender first! YOU need to ask questions BEFORE you hand over your private financial information to just anyone.

Ask the bank representative if they are a licensed loan officer. How many years of experience in mortgage lending? How long have they been employed at the current lender? Will they be your only contact during the process?

Why should you ask questions? Some of the banks and lenders may only employ entry level mortgage personnel. Their experience level could only include basic loan programs and filling out the loan application. And then they turn it over to an 800 number with rotating personnel. Also, some are not required to be licensed by the individual states.

Prequalification will include the lender pulling your credit report. Be prepared to send the documentation they request. THIS IS NOT AN UNDERWRITTEN APPROVAL. Therefore, a knowledgeable loan officer is imperative to insure a successful purchase transaction.

Prequalification will prevent disappointment. Before you jump in the car with your real estate agent, you should have a lengthy discussion with your loan officer. Tell your loan officer upfront if you have any issues that may affect your approval. Before you begin looking for a home, you should have exact information on the lending process and a clear understanding on your total monthly payment, purchase price, loan program, down payment and closing costs.

Purchasing a home is the single most important to a CPA or accountant you do not trust? Take the same care with your loan officer!

Eric McAllister